This booklet is built on the idea that we are all consumers. We all are looking for experiences that will make us feel better about ourselves and bring comfort to an uncomfortable world. What we must remember is that we will always feel uncomfortable, because we were created not for this kingdom, but for another one.
As you have read through this work, you are likely facing one of two temptations: either write off the organized church as a place that creates consumers, or disdain those who we view as consumers. I encourage you to choose neither of those options. The gospel gives hope for those of us who are selfish and those of us who are cynical. Whether we recognize ourselves as a me-centered consumer, or point the finger at others who make themselves the center of their church orbit, there is hope. There is a better way forward. I propose the following suggestions for redeeming society’s selfishness in the light of Jesus:
1. Look for strongholds of your own comfort. Where have you have made your church experience more about you and less about those who will follow you? How has your choice of a church community been influenced by an over-attention to your own felt needs?
2. Look out for areas where you can “look out.” Who are the people whom you can bless today? Where are the places you can engage others with the gospel? What are tangible ways you can serve others? Intentional blessing has a tendency to choke out our selfish ways.
3. Enlist others in the cause. Draft an accountability partner to pray with you and for you, to help you see your blind spots, and to work alongside you to serve others.
4. Apply the richness of the gospel to your heart again, and again, and again. We overcome our quest for comfort by pursuing the one thing that gives lasting peace. Spend time each day thanking God for the inheritance you have in Jesus. Allow His Holy Spirit to draw your idolatry into the light of His grace and replace it with those things that truly satisfy.
Our lives are hard-wired for consumerism. We pursue comfort and shun pain or inconvenience. Our hearts may be “idol factories” that constantly seek fulfillment and pleasure apart from God. But the gospel reminds us that we can all experience the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ and find our identity, security, and peace in Him. As the church of Jesus, may we never take His incredible mercy for granted! May we never miss the heart of His mission.