Okay, if you thought the title of this column meant that you were about to read an interesting column on demon possession, you’re going to be disappointed. This is an editorial about combating addiction to material things.
Now this may hit a little too close to home for some teenagers, but there is definitely a priority problem in many of today’s households. More and more teens are refusing to live within budget constraints when purchasing clothing, jewelry, and even automobiles, often causing their parents to spend more than they can actually afford.
How do I know this to be true? I have two teenage daughters, and we spend a lot of time in malls. I hear the discussions that take place between teens and their parents, not to mention the negotiating within my own clan. Tempers can flare. Emotions can be tested. Material possessions that go beyond necessities (e.g., designer clothes, expensive jewelry, and even pedicures!) are often a parent’s worst nightmare. No parent likes to deny a child things due to budget constraints.
What causes teens to become obsessed with “top-of-the-line”, expensive items? Why other teens, of course. Today’s teenager doesn’t like to wear clothes purchased at Wal-Mart, at least not in public. Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Aeropostale are the outfitters where America’s teens must purchase their threads. It’s an unwritten law.
Affordability is of little concern to a lot of the teens that I have heard verbally jousting with their parents on retail floors. Image is everything, and material possessions are often used to spice up a teen’s image and demeanor. What’s on the inside only matters when the outside is up to par.
But this kind of behavior goes against what God has commanded of us. 1 John 2:15-17 (NIV) clearly warns us against this type of behavior, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”
Does the caveat in 1 John forbid us from wanting to have nice things? Not at all. Didn’t Abraham have nice things? In fact, weren’t many of God’s favorite people we read about in the Bible blessed with possessions – cattle, land, and precious metals and jewels? John 2:15-17 is simply a warning for us not to put the temporary world in front of the eternal world.
Yes, humans want to enjoy life to the fullest. We love a good movie. We love to attend sporting events. And please don’t even get me going on how nice a new car smells. That’s why we are so excited about our eternal reward in Heaven, a place where we will learn the mysteries of the universe from the God who created it, a place where our stored up treasures (see Matthew 6:19-20) will be handed to us by the Prince of Peace (see John 14:27). But we should not become obsessed with the possessions themselves. And we should definitely never neglect to realize where every good thing in our lives comes from – God! Our affection should not be directed at objects or activities but at the One who makes all such things possible.
In 2002, U.S. families spent 100 billion dollars on consumer products for teens! (1) That’s a huge sum of money, and it is no wonder that many U.S. companies continue to aim their marketing toward teens.
Just like adults try to “keep up with the Joneses”, teens are tempted to match the purchasing habits of other teens. The flashiest and latest fashions become more important than personal savings accounts. The brand new Mustang looks so nice in the high school parking lot. But this possessions obsession leads down a destructive path that God has warned us about. Blessings should come from God, not from an overextended credit card.
They say, “Good things come to those who wait.” They always leave of the ending. It should be, “Good things come to those who wait upon the Lord and His timing.”
Source 1 : Packaged Facts, a division of New York City-based Marke-Research.com
Look Smart – Find Articles Forecast 2002 http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0GDE/is_10_22/ai_93369188
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