God is Not Like WalMart

April 2, 2014

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We live in a consumer driven culture today and can easily allow this influence to creep into our walk with God.

At our very core, we want to feel happy and get whatever we desire, more than glorifying God, learning obedience, or serving others.

In this view, it is not long before God exists to satisfy our consumer desires.

God is not like WalMart.

It is true that God is the “Father of Lights” who gives good gifts to his children. He says, “Come, seek, knock, and ask

But when receiving God’s gifts becomes the single aspect of our relationship with God, we treat Him like a department store.

A consumer mindset is very destructive. Everything’s value is determined by it’s usefulness to me.

  • We buy, but when it’s no longer useful, we throw it away.
  • We marry, but when our spouse no longer satisfies our emotional desires, we divorce.
  • I attend a church, but if it no longer meets my needs, I move on to the next one.
  • When a dream or a vision hits a rocky patch, we give up; turning to a new revelation of God free from difficulty.

When God is seen through this lens, we may find ourselves asking in our hearts,  “What have you done for me lately?”

We evangelise promising all the benefits to people personally. God gives, you receive. Once he is no longer useful (or actively, tangibly meeting our needs), then I move on to other spiritual ways of living.

This can apply to even good, unselfish requests such as healing for the sick. If our faith and trust in God is based on the outcome, our relationship with God is reduced to God does for me; no matter how wonderful the request.

How many times do we sit in worship times where ever song can be summed up with “Fill me up.

A primitive form of this is “Gimme,  gimme, gimme…. I need, I need, I need

In the story of the prodigal son found in Luke 15, the son only wanted his father’s gift, the inheritance. He wanted his father to be like WalMart, but did not desire relationship with the man himself.

We are often similar, valuing what our father can do for us and give us; but not our father himself.

God is not like WalMart.

When the son returned, before the Father could investigate his motives (did he want more money or his nice home again?) He ran to Him because he was so thrilled to be with him again.

God’s primary purpose is not to be a genie in the bottle we rub who grants our desires.

The Bible actually promises life on this earth will come with suffering. If our view of God is one of being a consumer, it is no wonder we walk away when the slightest hint of difficulty comes.

God desires to dwell with us.

It started in the Garden, God walking with Adam and Eve.

We, as humans, broke the planet.

God set about making it right, ultimately culminating in God dwelling with us in perfection once again in heaven (Revelation 21-22).

Do we turn God into our personal Walmart, living a life of consumerism? Do we even subtly ask “What have you done for me lately?”

Much of this post was inspired by Skye Jethani’s book, With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God. It is hands down the best book I have read in years!

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God