The 7 Sins of Materialism
There is no sin in having nice things; and having nice things and having a nice life are extremely dissimilar though, often interpreted as one. But the true test of character is revealed during the battle of possession between the owner and the things.
Only a mind capable of perceiving the needed level of clarity when interpreting the metaphoric meaning of a "thin line" can understand the difference between materialism and modesty. There is no sin in having nice things; and having nice things and having a nice life are extremely dissimilar though, often interpreted as one. But the true test of character is revealed during the battle of possession between the owner and the things. Does a person own their things or do the things own the person?
Material things are actually only a figment of our imagination; tangible substances in a world long passed away. We are merely spirits subconsciously living our lives through lust of the flesh. Once we awake, we will see nothing of substance but only an image of ourselves after we have lived; and that image will tell our life story. Whether bits and pieces of our heart and soul were torn from within our person in a desperate struggle of control, or whether we are in full possession of our being; our love, dignity, and most important, our loved ones.
Despite the beautiful glisten of a diamond or the allure of stylish fashion, we live in an ugly world. Seductive, illusive, deceptive: seductive because we are a wanting creature; always wanting more or something different. Illusive because many times we only think we are happy or satisfied with what we have; and deceptive because we have to fight daily to maintain a sense of humanity through a barrage of vanity. To emerge victorious from such a hell, we must learn to overcome the most powerful weapons of the force that seek to leave us beaten. The 7 sins of materialism:
1. Lust - can be modishly translated as desire, which most people view as harmless. And this is the first form of deception when recognizing the "thin line," because desire is nothing more than an acceptable form of lust. The paradox comes in understanding what things are acceptable to desire. Tangible things satisfy only temporarily and as long as they are in a person's possession. So, the belief that anything tangible will complete life is wrong; it may make life better but can never complete or fulfill it. If a person's life consists of gathering or doing things as a means to fulfill life, or make it better, they are deceived because the fulfillment of one person's life always means the neglect of another. Therefore, lust can only be beaten by desiring the best for others.
2. Idolatry - the admiration of or worship of something material or an obsessive adoration for another person. To own and use is one thing but to have for show is another. If a person feels the need to prove their worth by having the best, then their dignity is worth little because they would be easy to hurt when they have little. In comparison, to live and die for is one thing but to place one above all others to serve with a motive is another. True love is not easily impressed by the possession of, or association with mere nouns, and if a person is required to possess nouns before gracing the presence of another, that other will always be easy to disappoint and never satisfied. Therefore, idolatry is overcome by pretending to not be impressed, and really not be.
3. Hatred - crosses lines, penetrates walls and cuts deep. In the context of materialism, hatred is a fusion of jealousy and fear. Unlike envy, however, (jealousy's unruffled cousin) jealousy is more aggressive and when mixed with fear usually brings forth action. Whenever a person lacks something someone else has, whether materially or characteristically, that person experiences a series of emotions leading them to question their worth in the eyes of others. And if that person has not met expected goals, they become defensive, delusional, and succumb to deep self-evaluation. Unconsciously, they irrationally compare themselves to others in terms of possessions and accomplishments, which lead to diminishing the achievements of another. Once these actions have manifest, they have officially become a hater. Therefore, the way to resist becoming a hater or dispensing hate is to appreciate your accomplishments and respect the accomplishments of others.
4. Variance - a difference between conflicting facts or claims or opinions; "a growing divergence of opinion." On an individual bases, people tend to seek individualism and stray from the norm regardless if the consequences cause disruption. Many church organizations have experienced high levels of variance, which is why there are so many different church denominations. Men have learned to disagree more than agree on certain things. This is sinful because it ruptures any real truth, places too much emphasis on individuals and their ideologies and distracts from community similitude. When people seek differentiation, they often bring dissension and controversy within their particular group setting, whether family, work related, or community, all efforts of variance away from traditional norm, especially tradition that has always worked for the best, usually brings division. So, to minimize the spirit of variance, one has to simply acknowledge and agree to follow truth and tradition; because there is actually only one truth.
5. Emulation - effort or desire to equal or excel others. Compelled by the force of arrogance, emulation reveals a hatred of self and an extreme adoration of someone else. Copying is a low-level form of emulation by which one performs the characteristics and mannerisms of another, whether individual or group; trying to be something or someone one is not. A wolf in sheep's clothing is a perfect example because though the wolf looks and acts like his prey, the true inward traits of his victim is not really there and those who personally know his victim can recognize the fraud. Other examples span across culture and gender. The true nature of a person is eventually exposed during certain situations. The only way to defeat the spirit of emulation is to know one's self and acknowledge and respect others for who they are. Also, most people who are emulated want to be and encourage it, which is also sinful because everyone should want others to be who they are and not like them.
6. Envy - discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, or possessions. Envy causes a person to react in negative ways toward others. Their perception of right and wrong is distorted and instead of rewarding the person they envy, they punish them in a series of pessimistic ways. This reaction tears a relationship down when, instead, this is a time to use another's success as a positive and for self-improvement. Many potential relationships, business ventures, and even nations have fallen by the rod of envy. And as emulation, on the opposite side of the coin, people enjoy being envied and often entice others with their successes. Throwing it in their faces initiates envy and is just as sinful as the act of envy itself. To avoid envy, one has to count the successes of others as social constructiveness and to always be content with their own lives and possessions.
7. Revel - to take great pleasure or delight and or to indulge without restraint. Not many people realize that regular or continuous celebration is considered sinful because it leads to too many other actual acts of sin such as drunkenness, fornication, and sometimes violence. Moderation is the key to enjoying life, not over indulgence. The over consumption of luxuries, attention to sport, and constant festivity eventually weakens the mind placing the person in an almost permanent state of indifference to anything meaningful or important. Many people have lost motivation, drive, and or desire to move forward, try new things, or even complete a goal because of the spirit of revelry instilled into their actions. To overcome and remain on solid ground, one has to have a clear understanding of reality and know that there is a time for everything under the sun.
Many people remain balanced in their lives and have not succumb to the temptations that lead to the seven sins of materialism, but as times change and social standards gain strength over traditional integrity, many have fallen victim to one or more of the sins, and some deeper than others. The more a person allows themselves to become enslaved by the grip of either of these sins, the worse their life becomes because they are now living more of an illusion having become detached from reality and truth. One does not have to live these sins because they always have the option of defeating each of them.
Sometimes, however, the temptation is overwhelming and one cannot help but feel possessed by one or more of the sins, especially when there is an antagonist purposely initiating the act. It then becomes a matter of how well one has mastered the art of defeating the sin. Using each of the counteractive methods above, defeating each sin is possible in every situation. So, deciding to use the method is essential, however, many people have been so inundated with the negative reaction, they can no longer take hold of reality and therefore fall victim to the aggressive spirit.
To simplify a surefire way to defeat each of the seven sins without fighting each individually, there is only one power that can defeat all while responding to each in every situation. Love is the key. If a person lives from the root of love in their hearts, love covers a multitude of sins at all times. Love, defeats all the seven sins of materialism and their many ugly cousins. No science, medicines, herbs, or counseling can protect against sin nor cure it, but just as sure as these seven sins exist that drive people to react; only love is the cure. And you cannot get a prescription for love from anywhere but God.