Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Paradox of Spiritualism and Materialism

“Material goods are uncertain and very burdensome because they are never possessed without anxiety and fear.”
— Thomas à Kempis (1380 – 1471)
There is nothing that God cannot give us, but there are two types of possessions, in two entirely different spheres of influence: one so destructive it takes us potentially into a chasm of darkness; another so life-affirming as to reinforce the power of God over all of life. One is the source of every ruination; the other is the source of learning, growth, deliverance, and healing.
Spiritualism, so long as it’s arranged cohesively to God’s will and aligned to God’s truth, is the making of us. Materialism, of just about any kind, is the taking away of us.
How did I practically learn these things? There was a season of my life, over ten years ago now, when I made it a routine to give my possessions away. Many were being taken away through the incidence of divorce, but much more I was giving away, because God showed me something. God showed me that the less a hold I had on material possessions, the more he was giving me possession of his Kingdom, his Spiritual Kingdom.
We presumably all know the thrill of giving someone a gift.
But we might normally expect someone to appreciate that gift. When we belong to the Kingdom we have no such real need. Their appreciation is between them and God.
We have given because we felt God telling us to do it in faith. That very same faith has no conditions of acceptance on it. It gives for the simple sake of it.
It is more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:35), but real givers also know how to receive with grace, being inherently and authentically thankful and grateful.
Only a healthy focus on true Christlike spiritualism can give us joy, hope, and peace. Such a focus repels overtures from the materialistic world; we see its folly coming a mile off.
God will give us the keys to his Kingdom if we reject the burden of materialism. But if we insist on gathering the things our hands can grab, we will reap hot sand; it will fall through our fingers and burn them on the way.
When materialism doesn’t tempt us like it used to, then we are free to embrace all the blessings of the Kingdom of God. But if we insist on keeping everything that comes our way, much will be our distress when we have any thought of giving it back.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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