Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
I’m writing this day before at one of the largest malls in my city. The mall is like a mass contact point for the market. Here retailers wage marketing wars over the consumers to be the one to initiate the “I want it” spark in their mind and heart for their products. There seems to be little restraint over what is allowable and what isn’t. From store front pictures of good looking people dressed up in jewelry and the latest fashion to underwear ads that are are two stories tall to the Apple store about to break the fire code on the number of people inside, it all is very confrontational to our soul’s desires. The North Face store makes me want to get ready for a winter adventure that I’ll never go one until my kids are older, Apple makes me want to upgrade my laptop for no good reason, and a lot of other stores either make me feel like I’m lacking something in life or perturbs me as a man to the point that I really just have to avert my eyes (eg Victoria’s Secret)
It’s all very provocative. Playing upon deep seeded desires of adventure, luxury, success, power, sex, beauty…things that when lived in holy boundaries with God are massively enjoyable. And that’s the point. They’re copycats, playing to snag your attention. Scarily, our walk with God can get snagged up in it. That’s how the seed died that fell on soil covered with thorns (Matthew 13:22).
How do we deal with this when any measure of life in America will undoubtedly have to encounter this type of warfare for your mind, and still stay focused on God as our top priority throughout all day? How do we protect our hearts?
First, recognize the desires inside for adventure, beauty, love, ecstasy are good and absolutely should be pursued. They should be a top priority in our lives. But we must be wise in how we pursue them. God is really the only one safe enough to fully come through on satisfying our hearts.The market won’t do it, spouses or family can’t do it, life is not setup that way. We are designed for ultimate fulfillment through God’s Spirit alone. And so I like to find a place where I can go internally with Jesus, a safe place, so that when I am bombarded visually with these messages, I can take shelter in his presence.
Second, break any chains of bondage the world and marketplace has on you. Satan has strongholds in this arena and we need to fight back for ourselces. We are inheriting the Kingdom of God…literally anything offered by the mall, our favorite store, our favorite whatever cannot begin to touch the awe and luxurious nature of the life you will have one day in our God’s house. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs, don’t throw your heart out to get stuff, or to look better in the eyes of others because of what you have. You’re treasured way too much by Jesus to feel that way.
Third, fight back with others. I feel this is an area where we can really build each other up. I think when we walk away from a popular item or store for whatever reason, we can immediately feel left out. We feel isolated. That’s intentional, marketers want you to feed the beast and get in on what they say everyone has and is getting and doing, but it’s just not true. It’s a marketing tactic. And when we walk out on stuff together as friends and family, we don’t feel so left out.
I work in ecommerce myself. Even though I work in analytics, I see the marketing and advertising side a lot these days and sometimes even help out. I really love where God has me and there’s nothing wrong with trying to sell a product. I’m not trying to be hypocritical here, but trying to provide some guidance on balance with materiality and our life with Jesus. God can do wonderful things through stuff…absolutely. Shopping is fine. Getting things you really want is great. Jesus loves to see you smile when you finally get that one thing you’ve been wanting for months, just like you parents feel when your kiddos opens up that one present they’ve been asking for on Christmas morning ing. That’s not an issue. But our hearts’ top spot being reserved for God is always a top priority issue. Matthew 7:6,
Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Your heart is a gold mine to God, a treasure of incredible measure (lol that rhymes). Don’t waste your adoratio. On these petty things, instead be healthy about it, choose to put things in its place in your heart and mind and give the worship spot to Jesus. It’s hard, sometimes it definitely feels like the deck is stacked against us, but it can be done.
God bless you and I hope you all have a WONDERFUL Wednesday!!! You’re amazing in God’s eyes, don’t forget it today!!