Thursday: The Ultimate Futility of Materialism

There are many people who love God. Their identity is blended with His in a way that material possessions can’t dislodge.

Read Deuteronomy 7:6, 1 Peter 2:9, John 15:5, and Galatians 2:20. What does it mean to be God’s possession, and where do we find our true identity?

standing greed stacking

Image © Ron Bell from

God says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. . . . Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5, NKJV). The connection is direct and secure. “All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses.” – Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 668.

On the other hand, materialism offers us an identity that is synonymous with our possessions. In other words, we define ourselves on the basis of what we own and what we can buy of this world’s goods. James cautions us against this: “Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days” (James 5:3, NIV). “To hoard” means to collect and store up many treasures; more important, it is in those treasures, whether few or many, that many find their identity (Luke 12:19-21).

Materialism is a form of identity confusion. This means that for many of us, our identity becomes fused with our possessions. Our possessions become our God (Matt. 6:19-21). As one person said, “I am nothing without my things.” How sad that we can identify ourselves only through whatever earthly possessions we have. What a shallow, fleeting, and ultimately futile way to live one’s life, especially for someone claiming to be a Christian. Do we identify with God or with our possessions? Eventually, it will be one or the other.

How much of your identity is related to the things you own?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons