The vanity of consumerism | Religion – The Daily Star-Journal

I want that car over there, so I purchase it.

I need that house over there, so I go to the bank and buy it.

I want, I need — these desires and feelings are the makeup of our lives.

Think about it for a second, you are driven by your wants and needs to live.

As one looks to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we see that humanity is driven by fulfilling needs all the way from basic things like food and water to safety and security, to love and belonging, to self-respect, self-esteem and respecting others, to the highest level, which is self-actualization (complete fulfillment).

It appears that people can step through this pyramid and achieve a fulfilled life by Maslow’s theory.

Specifically, as Americans, people in the west, to ensure we have life fulfillment, we have developed the ideal of “consumerism,” the idea that encourages people to acquire more goods and services that will in turn drive them to accomplishing higher levels of needs, which will ultimately results in complete fulfillment.

However, before we can say this is a success story, Maslow’s theory and the idea of consumerism are too simple and lacking when addressing life’s fulfillment.

Here’s the problem: Life is difficult, painful and sorrowful, and it has an expiration date, and everyone around the world is at different places and experiences in life.

The reality of these theories are they cannot guide you through each step, telling you how to successfully reach complete fulfillment.

For example, a person might at first feel when they purchase their home or receive that promotion their life is fulfilled, but as time moves on they will want another house and another promotion.

In all actuality, this world with all of its processes and materials cannot help you find complete fulfillment.

Reason being, as I hope to compel you, is that your wants, needs and desires were created specifically by a creator to be fulfilled by him, not this world, and that person is Jesus Christ.

Now why do I say Jesus Christ, the God who created the world, is the one who can completely fulfill your life?

Simple, in his word (the Bible), he states that he created our inmost being, he knit us within our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13).

Then, repeatedly he tells his people, his creation, that he is “The Lord your God.”

Finally, with being our creator, and our God, he states to us, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength,” (Deuteronomy 6:5).

These scripture verses show us that we are specifically created by God, who then commands us to give full allegiance to him.

Once we recognize this, completely rely on God with all our lives, then will we find complete fulfillment in life.

The reason we find it through him, the Bible tells us our lives on this earth are temporary, and we are really meant for eternity.

We need to see that materials and processes of this earth always have a beginning and ending, a birth and death. This makes them lacking, causing our wants, needs and desires to be misled, which means we cannot find our ultimate fulfillment through them.

The truth is, humanity must look past these temporary things of this world, and look to God and to eternal things to find complete fulfillment.

Looking into the eternal things, this is specifically expressed in Jesus Christ, who is “The way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

What I’m saying is the only way to find true fulfillment in this life is to recognize we are made by God and to be with him for all eternity, and that means we must surrender our life to Jesus.

This is spelled out through the New Testament in that we must confess we are self-centered consumers seeking our own wants and needs, sinners (people who have broken God’s commands), that Jesus is the only one who has saved us from our sins by dying on the cross (John 3:16). We also must repent and turn our lives to completely following Jesus.

Once a person does this, then will they be able to finally break the hold of the attempts of trying to fulfill their lives with temporary stuff in this world, and find complete fulfillment that will last for all eternity.

Life is difficult, painful and sorrowful, and it has an expiration date, and everyone around the world is at different places/experiences in life.

The reality is Maslow’s theory and the ideal of consumerism only can answer temporary issues of this world. They cannot give you that complete life fulfillment.

We must see that we are made for eternity and life can only be completely fulfilled by seeking and finding that Jesus Christ, our creator.

Maslow or consumerism would say it’s impossible for someone to have no food yet be completely joyful and fulfilled, but the truth is they are because they have a life that is centered on Jesus and know one day they will have eternity in the presence of God.

Bruce Vaughn is an elder at First Baptist Church Warrensburg.