Are You a Neophyliac?

Do you realize that the majority of us are “neophyliacs” (lovers of the new)? Maybe we are not the hardcore type that stand in line overnight to buy the latest gizzmo, but we love new things; new clothes, new cars, new relationships, new jobs, new churches… “Not me,” you say, “I always go to next-to-new shops for clothes and I always buy used cars. That’s terrific, but even these things are “new” in the sense that they are different from what you have.  Human nature is never satisfied, it always wants more; that is why we are such consumers and why we have a throw-away culture. We get tired of something because it no longer satisfies us, so we throw it away thinking we can find something new that does. We do this with our marriages; we do this with our churches and our worship, as well as our possessions. We “shop till we drop” not because we need anything, but because we have a craving in our hearts and we think that buying something will satisfy it. We “church hop” because we have a craving for something spiritually more and we think another community of believers will provide it. However, the solution to our craving isn’t met by the “new,” but by acknowledging that only God can satisfy. CS Lewis once said (and I’m paraphrasing) that if I find in myself something that nothing in this world can satisfy, it should remind me that I was made for another world. We are eternal creatures and our “neophylia” is a reminder that we were not made to be satisfied by anything that this temporal world can offer- we can be thankful, but not satisfied. I love what Paul tells Timothy, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment (1 Tim. 6:17). What a great balance! On the one hand, the Christian life should not to be lived renouncing the blessings that God provides, but should be lived enjoying them with thanksgiving. On the other hand, the desire for the new and different should not be the motivation for consumption, but a reminder that we are eternal creatures who can only be ultimately satisfied by an Eternal God. Let us be defined by this: “godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out” (1 Tim. 6:6, 7). Just a thought…

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