"Then he [Jesus] said to them, 'Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.'"1
On one occasion we had a speaker at our church who conducted a class for parents to help protect them from becoming infected with "affluenza." The idea being that we and our kids can get so caught up in the world of materialistic affluence that we miss the real meaning of life.
I believe that one of the main reasons we are so materialistic here in the West is because we are so emotionally repressed. Emotions are God-given. They add beauty and interest to life. When they are repressed and denied, life can be deadly dull and empty.
Furthermore, when we bury emotions, we tend to settle for counterfeit experiences and the feelings they produce. For instance, when the emotion of love is repressed, there is a tendency to substitute lust which can look like love and feel like love—but it isn't love and a damaging substitute at that—and leaves one more empty, lonely, and unsatisfied.
Also, consider the emotion of wonder—the emotion that puts sparkle into life and moves us deeply when a baby wraps its tiny hand around just one of our fingers and in so doing touches our very heart. When wonder is repressed, we become "characteristically bored with life," and tend to turn to materialism in a vain attempt to fill the empty void in our heart. And instead of loving people and using things, we end up unhappily loving things and using people.
So if we want to avoid the problem of "affluenza" and the blight of empty materialism and learn to fully live and fully love, it is essential that we get in touch with and connected to all of our God-given emotions.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please deliver me from the blight of materialism which can easily become the driving force in my life. Help me to get in touch with all of my God-given emotions and use them in the manner and ways you designed them to be used so that I will learn to fully live and fully love. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Luke 12:15 (NIV).