The What and Why of Materialism
"Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."1
Many years ago Sadhu Sundar Singh (1889-1929) said: "While sitting on the bank of a river one day, I picked up a solid round stone from the water and broke it open. It was perfectly dry in spite of the fact that it had been immersed in water for centuries. The same is true of many people in the Western world. For centuries they have been surrounded by Christianity; they live immersed in the waters of its benefits. And yet it has not penetrated their hearts; they do not love it. The fault is not in Christianity, but in men's hearts, which have been hardened by materialism and intellectualism."
Intellectualism (this does not mean being intellectual) can be and often is a defense against facing one's reality, and used as a means to rationalize the belief system we want and choose to believe. If we intellectualize or rationalize away God, then we can deceive ourselves into believing that we are ultimately only responsible to ourselves. In so doing we harden our hearts against truth and reality.
Materialism is often a symptom of buried emotions, especially the emotion of wonder. Instead of finding fulfillment in the wonder and beauty of creation and nature, we get wrapped up in "things". As the saying goes, instead of loving people and using things, we end up unhappily loving things and using people. This is another way to harden our hearts and a very unhealthy and self-defeating way to live.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be totally honest with myself and with You, and learn how to enjoy the beauty of Your creation and the simple things of life, and therein protect my heart from becoming hardened. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesusís name, amen."
1. Jesus (Luke 12:15, NIV).