LOVE - The Fruit Of The Spirit As An Antidote To Consumerism

Love Hearts drawn onto the floor with the word love written across it.

Consumerism and Us

We are saturated in a consumer culture. Our identity is wrapped in what we do and don’t have. 

I remember when I was in high-school I was one of the few who didn't care about what brands I wore. My parents used to get my trainers cheaply from a brand called "Hi-tech". When my friends used to draw pictures of us all together I would always be drawn wearing plastic bags on my feet that read "Hi-tech" - such was the perceived value of my shoes, and of my fashion.

In the west we are subjected to around 4,000 advertisements in various forms in a single day.

The psychological implications of the barrage of advertisements that we are subjected to every day are both varied and complex.

Most of us in western society have far more than we need - but we constantly crave more. As Gandhi said: ‘there is enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone’s greed’.

The Fruit of the Spirit 

The fruit of the spirit is found in Paul’s letter to the Galatians (Galatians 5:22-23). 

The list mentions what Paul believes we should cultivate in our lives - or rather, what a life steadfast in the Spirit of God will produce within us.

These are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

Each of these are attributes that we are called to have as children of God. And this is hardly surprising, as each attribute is also found within God.

God is Love

The scriptures say that God is love (1 John 4:8).

Everything that God does is in keeping with this fundamental aspect of God's nature.

Just as God is love, we are called to embody love, to allow it to shape all our decisions.

Paul describes love as the greatest of all things (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Love and Consumerism

An unfortunate by-product of consumerism is the exploitation of the invisible people within our world, those whom we cannot see, those who live in economically difficult countries – unprotected by adequate labor laws.

These people are paid less than a living wage and drive the prices of goods down so that we can buy an ever increasing amount of goods.

I remember reading in Shane Claiborne's brilliant book, Jesus for President about a boy in one of these sweat shops. Shane writes:
Several years ago, I attended a protest against sweatshops where the organizers had not invited the typical rally speakers — lawyers, activists, advocates. Instead, they brought kids from the sweatshops. A child from Indonesia pointed to his face. “I got this scar when my master lashed me for not working hard enough. When it bled, he did not want me to stop working or to ruin the cloth, so he took a lighter and burned it shut. I got this scar making stuff for you.
As well as this, increasing climate change is hitting the economically poorer countries first. Farmers in Africa are already struggling to grow the crops that they need.

When we become people who are consumed by love, then these invisible people matter. We can no longer continue on our current path. Our conscience is moved beyond the current morality of society.

We can no longer consider the economic and environmental damage that we are causing as collateral damage in our quest for self satisfaction.

May we be those that are no longer defined by the label ‘consumer’. May we be those that are consumed by love, may we be those who fix our gaze on the unseen and hidden peoples of our world.

Have you been awakened by love to the suffering brought about by consumerism? if so, what was the deciding factor for you? leave a comment below.
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