Consumer Christianity

I have been humbled in many different ways in my life especially in the last couple of years. Jesus uses the humbling times to change you, and He continues to change me in great ways to which I am thankful. These processes have caused a change in my viewpoint, or maybe just opened my eyes a little wider to consumer Christianity. I have always seen it, but I didn’t always see it in myself, and I didn’t see to the extent that I do now.

Consumerism is always needing or wanting more. Here is a dictionary definition-Consumerism is a social and economic order and ideology that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts.

When tied to Christianity it is the same definition except we say it’s for His ever-increasing government. The trouble with that is His Kingdom is not of this world, and Jesus said we wouldn’t be able to point at it and say it is here or there, and life is not in the abundance of possessions. Yet we use churches as a way to acquire, and we use verses to confirm our consumerism. We go to church for what we can get rather than to worship God, and serve people. Etc. I aim to keep this short.

The kingdom is within. The kingdom is realizing that if you have Jesus you already have it all. The Kingdom is following Jesus even if you were to lose some of your riches. The kingdom is an expression of the King.

The wealthiest kingdom people are those who need/want the least, and are overwhelmed with gratitude for what the Lord has blessed them with whether it be a little, or a lot. The wealthiest kingdom people are those who have no need to compare and become envious.

DISCLAIMER: I AM IN NO WAY THE ONE WHO DETERMINES WHAT YOU SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT HAVE. THAT IS BETWEEN YOU AND HOLY SPIRIT.

Important thoughts for where you are going….

Here are a few thoughts that have been formed over the last couple years of my journey….I think they will apply to you as well.

  1. There is no easy way, nor is there a shortcut to the full expression of who God has called you to be.
  2. Your capacity to endure determines if you will make it there or not.
  3.  Your character determines if you will stay there or not.

 

As a man thinks!

Proverbs 23:7-As a man thinks within himself, so he is.

That’s a very loaded statement, and one that we should take seriously. We should also recognize the level of personal responsibility within it. Before I get into this I would first like to mention a few scriptures that tell us what God thinks of us.

In Jesus we are his masterpiece created for good works-Ephesians 2:10. We can do what He says we can do, which are even greater things-John 14:12. We can have what He says we can have, which is a more abundant life-John 10:10.

Our spirit has no issue with these three things, but many times our minds do. There are some things that happen immediately upon salvation; however, there are some things we have to work out along our journey. Paul says be transformed by the renewing of your mind daily. Transformed means to become something different, and so we can see that if we are able to change our mindsets we can become something completely different.I am something different today than I was ten years ago, and I plan to be even better in ten more years.

Instead of focusing on scriptures like the three I referenced above, many times we focus on perceived limitations. For example, we may think things like I am who my family is, I really am what my negatives thoughts tell me I am, I am who the people around me say I am, and so on. I can only do what my education level says I can do, I can only be what my boss says I can be, and I can only do what the area I live in offers. I can only have small, insignificant amounts of success, and I can only have what my earthly resources allow me to have. None of these things line up with God’s best for you.

So we have seen a few of God’s thoughts for us, and a few negative thoughts that we may have for ourselves. So back to Proverbs 23:7. A man’s thoughts are who he is, or becomes. You are what you think. Through our thoughts we can be limited, or we can be liberated. We can create a prison for ourselves, or we can create freedom for opportunities. Most people let their circumstances in life control them. (I know because I’ve been there plenty of times, and have had to overcome those things) However, in living the kingdom first life you have been empowered to control your circumstances. It’s a small shift in words, but a huge shift in thoughts. Instead of our circumstances controlling us, we control how we see the circumstances. A shift in thoughts, and attitudes will lead to a shift in your life. If you take control of your mind, and radically improve your thoughts you will be astonished at the changes in the material conditions of your life.

I would like to take us to a principle in Genesis. Everything that was created produced fruit, and seed after its own kind. This is a powerful principle, and one that is very important to this topic. See every thought seed sown in the soil of the mind takes root, and reproduces it’s own kind. These thoughts will eventually blossom, and show themselves in our actions as well as have external effects on our lives. Good/Godly thoughts will bear good fruit in our lives. Bad thoughts will bear bad fruit in our lives. The circumstances are not the problem, our thoughts and attitudes toward them are the problem.

Thoughts are so powerful that if you are simply around someone who is consistently negative, you begin to take up negative thoughts which start to have a negative impact on your life. I think most people could think about their work culture, and find this principle to be true. There is a law of attraction at work here, and keep in mind you don’t attract what you want to be, you attract the state of your current thoughts.

Any train of thought that you persist in good, or bad will not fail to reproduce its own kind based on the principles of creation. These persistent thoughts will affect your character, which will affect your circumstances based on the law of attraction.

Your thoughts are the guards of your destiny. Persisting in bad thoughts will imprison you, but persisting in Godly thoughts will liberate you. People always want their circumstances in life to change, but they are unwilling to change themselves. They are unwilling to change and improve their own thoughts, and so they remain in their own prison. (think of the story of the man at the pool of Bethesda, and if you don’t know it ask me about it in the comments sections, or email) We have to stop blaming other people, places, and things for the circumstances in our lives. I have lived long enough to know that I can not control all of the circumstances that happen to me in this life; however, I do believe in spiritual principles, I do believe the Lord has given me power over my own mind, and I do believe that with a healthy mind you can find opportunities in everything. Just reading apostle Paul’s life story can show you that you can be happy and content in any scenario.

Good thoughts showing themselves in good actions will not reproduce bad results. Happiness reproduces happiness. Courage reproduces courage. Peace reproduces peace, love reproduces love, and so on. Bad thoughts work the exact same way.

I will Illustrate further the physical manifestation of our hidden thoughts. The body is a slave to the mind. The body can only do what the mind tells it to, and so it always and only does so both in the deliberate and the subconscious. continuously thinking bad thoughts will cause the body to sink into disease and decay. Good thoughts will cause the body to become vibrant, and more beautiful even healing diseases. Your thoughts will express themselves through, and on your body. For example, anxiety produces external results such as sweating, shaking, tension, and temperature changes. If you remain tense long enough your body will fatigue even becoming chronically fatigued. This is just one of an endless number of examples. On the other hand, if you take a walk and focus on how great God is, and how He has delivered you from every challenge in your life you can have peace in Him, and not have fear of future challenges. I’ll take peace over fear.

So how do we change our mind in order to create and reproduce good thoughts, in order to change our attitudes, and produce good opportunities in our lives? Just like exercising to make our bodies healthier, we must exercise to make our minds healthier.

To make a quick and simple summary, this is what the bible tells us to do. We have to continuously rejoice in Him, renew our thoughts daily (don’t get stuck when you struggle, move on), speak truth, control negative emotions, pray and talk to God, speak encouragement, give generously, be kind and forgiving, be wise, and think about things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise. I will also add one that I think is huge, and that is to know what protects our minds which is the peace of God-Philippians 4:7.

So exercise your mind in right thinking.  At the end of every day, week, month, and year you either grow, regress, or stay the same. You are the culmination of your thoughts for that day, week, month, year, decade, and so on. A person that persists in good thoughts gains access through Jesus to the more abundant life.

Here are some additional scriptures to help you in this topic-Ephesians 4:17-24, and 5:15-20. Philippians 4:4-9, 2 Timothy 1:5-7, James 1:14-15, and 4:1-3. Of course there are so many more, but these are a good start.

I know the Lord has great things in store for you all, think on all those great promises.

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi