Christian Idolatry: Black Friday

Colossians 3:5 (NET) So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry.

1st Corinthians 6:9-11 (NET) [9] Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, IDOLATERS, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, [10] thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. [11] Some of you once lived this way. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

My wife and I have spent the majority of our adult life on the mission field: I began preaching in America at age 22 in 2009, entered the mission field at age 23 in 2010, spent a brief period of time back in the states from 2013-16, and then went back into the mission field from 2016 to present at age 33.  And all this time spent abroad has given me a somewhat unique perspective on Christianity in America: as an American on the outside looking in, I look at certain commonplace practices in the American Church, like the materialistic mindset that so many Christian churches openly embrace in America, and, it makes me want to vomit (much like I suspect it does to Christ – Revelation 3:16).

To gorge oneself on fine food (read carefully from Luke 16:19) on Thanksgiving and then follow up with Black-Friday and Cyber-Monday is so far outside of the Christian worldview that it should make every single Christian in America tear their clothes and weep in ashes!  Yet this has become so normalized in American Christianity that we look cross-eyed at anyone who says otherwise.

My beloved brothers and sisters, this is not normal Christian behavior!  It is extremely abnormal for Christians to be greedy; it is extremely abnormal for Christians to indulge their every worldly whim and appetite; and it is extremely abnormal for Christians to spend more on luxuries for themselves than they do on helping the needs of others! This kind of behavior is only normal to the lukewarm apostate Church!

Every year households spend $1,000’s more than they can afford during the holiday season, being driven mad by their greed; every year we hear of people being trampled to death on Black Friday; every year we hear about record new sales on Cyber Monday, as Americans who already have their every desire satisfied invent new things to satiate their greed on!

Put to death your greedy-cravings by fixing your eyes upon Christ, who is seated above at the right hand of God, and submit yourself to God by following Christ. Use the blessings God has given to you to take care of your family’s needs (not luxurious lusts), look after the needs of your Christian brothers and sisters, assist the needs of the poor, and look for how you can take care of those who are your so-called enemies. In so doing you will put to death the greedy cravings of your idolatrous heart and be renewed in the image of Christ!  These are the truly Christian attitudes that Jesus our God and Savior commanded of the Church; these are the practices that constitute true Christian discipleship.

For Christians, we are to be satisfied, not by indulging the appetites of this world, but by enjoying the love and fellowship of Christ in the Body, by fellowship, by the communion of the Holy Spirit, by worship, and by fulfilling the desires of the Holy Spirit.  Yet I suspect that for many Western Christians, we have become so used to satisfying ourselves with worldly things that much of what I’m saying – which has historically characterized the Church – is utterly foreign and incomprehensible!

I pray earnestly for those churches who have not become idolaters, and who are not defiling themselves with the mindset of the world that is so pervasive!  May you stand strong, may you uphold the gospel, and may you offer the pure and undefiled worship of your life to God alone!

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