You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

(Exodus 20:17, ESV)

The things we buy are like the billboards of our lives.

They advertise what we value.

They paint a picture of what we want others to think about us.

From the car we drive, the phones we purchase, and the clothes we wear, for better or worse, we are projecting an image. 

Instead of making a purchase to meet our needs, we’re tempted to buy things—both big and small—to tell a story about who we are. This is one reason why you may be opposed to wearing non-designer clothes, driving a beat-up car, or using anything but the latest gadget.

The root of this problem is not in the mall or in the things we buy—it’s in us.

It’s not sinful to buy nice things, appreciate new clothes, or enjoy new technology. But when our possessions become the source of our identity, we become guilty of idolatry. In other words, we worship creation—not the Creator.

In battling this sin, God doesn’t call us to live a life of poverty. This would be like cutting a weed from your garden thinking it wouldn’t grow back. You have to go to the root of the problem.

To attack this sin, God leads us to love Jesus more.

As you worship Jesus, your worship of possessions will be crushed, and the grip of consumerism will be loosened.

Written by Jesse Wisnewski is the senior content marketer at Tithe.ly, a leading mobile giving and online giving platform. Jesse is also the founder of Stillhouse Marketing, and he has an M.A. in Christian Thought from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He lives outside of Nashville, TN with his wife and kids.