6 Ways to Destroy the Idol of Stuff


We were made to worship and we all worship something. John Calvin has said, "our hearts are perpetual idol factories." What are the idols we are surrounded by? What idols in our present day context do our hearts quickly grab on to?

I started this series of posts called "Idol Factories" based upon a sermon series we are doing with our students at Berean where I serve as a pastor. If you missed the first post you can read it here. Today we are going to look at the idol of STUFF. 

We live in a culture obsessed with stuff.

Just to give you some stats to prove this point, though I doubt I need to convince you... 

  • There are more self-storage facilities in America than there are McDonalds and Subways combined. 
  • The total consumer debt (not including mortgages or student loans) is $925 billion! (Averages to $2,800 per person including children)
  • $502 billion is spent on Amazon annually.
  • From 1991 to 2007, the number of pieces of apparel people were buying, on average, went from 34 pieces of new apparel a year to 67. 
Much more could be noted here but safe to say consumerism (or materialism) is one of our primary national religions. 

The problem is, stuff is never enough. Only God can be the ultimate satisfaction in our lives. 

Stuff is never enough.

 Consider what Paul wrote to Timothy: 

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (1 Timothy 6:6-10)

It is not just that stuff is never enough, stuff can be very dangerous. "Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation" and "the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils." Greed is a symptom of a sinful heart. It reveals that our joy and satisfaction is found ultimately in what we possess, whatever is in our closet, wallet, or retirement account. This ought not be so. Our treasure should be Christ!

Notice that money is not in and of itself sinful and neither are the things we own. But do we own these things or do they own us? 

Do we own our things or do our things own us? 

Jesus speaks to this point strongly, "no servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money" (Luke 6:13). When our things master us they have become an idol. So how do we tear down this idol of stuff? Here are some ideas.

Destroying the Idol of Stuff

1. Realize everything you have is from God

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17)

2. Give your stuff away

Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. (Ephesians 4:28)

Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. (Luke 6:30)

3. Focus on eternal investments 

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

4. Understand the danger of wealth

I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:24)

5. Take greed and covetousness seriously

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)

6. Realize your greatest wealth is found in Christ

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (2 Corinthians 4:6-7)

Is stuff an idol for you? 

God calls us to examine ourselves, to search our hearts to see what evil way may lay within (2 Corinthians 13:5; Psalm 139:23-24). Is stuff an idol for you? Do you worship gifts more than the Giver? Some questions for reflection:
  • Is there something you have that if lost or taken it would steal your joy?
  • When is the last time you gave someone something that cost you?
  • Is there anything you have that if God asked it of you, you would refuse to give it up? 
  • Do you believe you will be fulfilled if only you get more _________?
God alone should be our joy, satisfaction, and the One we worship! Let us see stuff for what it really is: gifts from God that lead us to worship and thankfulness and tools to use to make His name great and push His mission forward on earth. Remember, stuff is never enough. 

With grace,


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