The first excerpt that follows is from the Limitless life book by Derwin L Gray. This is week four in my Bible study and this excerpt got my attention and motivated me to write this post.
Consumerism is an enemy that acts like acid. It eats away at everything it touches. Consumerism is fueled by an epidemic in America called “the Empty Self,” a term coined by psychologist Philip Cushman, PhD, of the California School of Professional Psychology.1 Our tendency for excessive consumption is fed by a void we feel, a hole that we are trying desperately to fill with stuff. Let me share with you four characteristics of “the Empty Self” from J. P. Moreland’s Kingdom Triangle.2
Empty Self : Is Infantile
Seeks to be made happy by food, entertainment and consumer goods.
Introspection time. I thought I no longer was a consumer. Why? Well I gave up my excessive shopping habits a long time ago. The pictures above are a little insight as to where my money goes. That is where my heart is, for the rural orphaned children in my hometown (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa).
I willing give money to this project and where ever else it is needed. Friends need only tell me that they are in financial difficulties and I will help. I support my brother by paying for his studies and living expenses. As well as support my mum who is unemployed so I cover her living expenses. If I see someone on the street begging… I will open up my wallet and give. Tithing at church is never an issue, offerings and love gifts as well. My mum has to just call and tell me about someone struggling and I ask for their bank details to make a transfer. I never say no to any service that needs to be rendered at church. I stepped up and became a leader for the children’s ministry at church, delved into other areas of ministry in service to the Lord’s kingdom. All is needed is someone to approach me and ask…
I do and say all of this without pride for I believe I am a steward of The Lord, everything I have belongs to Him, the money and my abilities to serve. I used to give before but I admit it was with resentment, not anymore with Christ at the forefront of my every action in giving.
Then I consider the other empty self characteristics and I know I still carry the LABEL : CONSUMER
Empty Self : Is Narcissistic
Esteem admiration from others…
It’s so easy to get caught up in a Social Media Networking world. Mine is Facebook. No I don’t take selfies, no I don’t post status updates often but I regularly check this application. When I do happen to post something, I enjoy the responses from my family and friends over my pictures…like of my daughter. I’m a proud mummy or when I lost 30 kilos after my pregnancy, I kept giving updates about my successes. I never thought about it now until I read this chapter from Limitless Life that this is consumer behavior and pride was rearing it’s ugly head in this form of interaction. I realize I need to stay in check about my behavior. Why? Because it’s easy to let the devil get a stronghold in this area of my life.
Empty Self: Is individualistic
An example of individualistic behavior is people going to a church that meets their needs. Like listening to a sermon or enjoying the worship music. Nothing wrong with that but it’s only those sermons and music things that allow them to feel better. If needs are not met, they go in search of one that fulfills their needs.
I have to admit that our church is small and dynamic as it’s an English speaking church for an international crowd who desire a place to worship…and at one point our worship team became non-existent simply because people moved back home to their countries. When a new team was formed, the music was horrific, out of tune and they kept making mistakes. Instead of being thankful for the people stepping up to volunteer to get something going, here I was being critical and cringed at every mistake made. Instead of encouraging I was belittling. Thankfully I realized this and started changing my attitude for it’s all about The Lord. Once you start becoming grateful and thanking the team for their efforts, they invest more time and effort in practicing.
Empty Selves : Are Passive
An excerpt from Limitless Life :
People with the empty self are fixed on living their lives through the risks, challenges, and adventures of others. Perhaps this is why reality shows have taken off in popularity in recent years. The empty self is passive in the sense that he or she would rather do nothing and let life zip right by than to actually participate in life in a meaningful way.
I am not into television, I watch just one program, a cooking show every evening at 7pm. But I fallen short here too, on certain occasions where I get so involved in a show or tv series, that I follow it and get caught up in it all. Like the talent shows. Never thought about it till I read this, I hero worship people and make them idols. Ironic that one of the shows actually are labelled with the word idol. I’m referring to the “American Idol” Real eye opener for me.
To end this post, this final excerpt is appropriate.
When you signed up to follow Jesus, He branded your soul with a new label: “Contributor.” This is who you are in Christ. This is your new identity. It’s now time to walk in your divine birthright.
Praying that all in Christ will walk in this divine birthright.