Our culture in general and people in particular are obsessed with the new, the novel, the latest and the trendiest. I personally have a battle with this every single day as I seek to be fully satisfied in Jesus instead of the latest tech gadget or a trendy garment.
We all experience this in one way or another. Some of us are drawn to new material things that we want to purchase. Others of us are thrill seekers and spend an exorbitant amount of energy pursuing the trip that will leave us breathless and prolong the feeling of euphoria. Still others, go through clothes and accessories faster than it takes for the morning caffeine rush to wear off.
I am sure this problem plagues even the most spiritually astute among us. The way in which we pursue the new might differ externally, but internally the motivation stays the same. The reason why we as people love anything and everything just for the simple reason of it being new is this:
We Are Intoxicated With The Allure Of New
Any time we get a hold of something new, the feeling rivals that of inebriation. The allure of the new is an intoxicant in and of itself. There is some sort of rush that we experience that is rarely paralleled with anything else.
You might not think of it this way. You might not describe it in this way. But deep down inside of you, there is something that happens that goes well beyond your normal state of mind. I believe this happens because our heart is a perpetual factory that produces idols. So if our heart is not consistently filled with the things of God, it will be constantly occupied with the things of man. But these things are very enticing and inviting. They promise us pleasure that will be progressive in nature and eternal in existence. It promises to be even — magical. At least that is what the underlying promise and premise is behind every single marketing campaign that you come across.
The exciting becomes ordinary. I remember when I got my first real car. It was a white Mitsubishi Eclipse coupe, with shiny chrome rims. Back then, I felt like it was the best day of my entire life. I could not stop thinking about it. The car was parked in my driveway. My bedroom overlooked my driveway. Before going to sleep, I would look out the window to make sure it was still there. I had dreams about how I was going to drive it the next day. As the weeks and months progressed, a few dings and scratches began to appear on this vehicle that I drooled over. The feeling of euphoria was slowly loosing its potency. No longer was I making sure it was standing in the driveway before drifting to sleep. No longer were the rims being shined every other day. It became an instrument that got me from point A to point B. I put my hope in that car to bring me happiness. It failed me miserably.
Opposite ends of the spectrum. Please do not misunderstand me. There is nothing wrong with new things in and of themselves. I love new things. I love getting a new piping hot latte in the morning from four-bucks coffee company. I love the crisp, clean texture of an all-cotton, non-iron, extra-slim, ainsley collar dress shirt that comes from Brooks Brothers. I love the royal blue box replete with a gold ribbon that it comes in. I love the thin white tissue paper that gently tears away to expose the perfect shirt. I love taking the plastic off of the simple white box that contains two items — one to type on and one to charge the thing you are typing on. What is experienced at that moment is pure joy. At least, that is what I am deceived to believe at that particular moment.
The shiny becomes lackluster. The problem with new stuff is that it becomes old junk. I have right now in the side pocket of my car door an old iPhone. It does not even work anymore. It is long forgotten. The chrome apple on the rear side of the phone is conspicuously lacking any shine. Five years ago, people were ready to trade their first child for this device. Today, it is excellent fodder for clutter in our drawers, closets, glove-compartments and organizing bins. Our garages are also overflowing with items that at one enchanted time, provide to us an intoxicating allure that we could not refuse.
The heart of the matter. The point I am trying to make is not that buying stuff is bad. I am saying that it is a catastrophe when the stuff has bought us. When we becomes slaves of our stuff and the stuff becomes our cruel taskmaster, always prompting us to upgrade and update. We need to understand that everything in this life will disappoint us and we will inevitably be disgusted with it at one point. No matter how shiny it is, it will become dull and matte in its finish. The trendy will become obscure. The latest will become archaic. The fast and most expedient will become slow and barely able to keep up. The crisp will become crumpled. The exciting will become mundane. This will happen sooner than we think. It will cost us more than we planned. It will be worth much less than our initial estimate.
This is why the wealthiest and wisest man to ever live in this world says the following:
All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us. (Ecclesiastes 1:8-10)
This is both prescriptive and prophetic.
- We will never be fully satisfied in this world from stuff of this world
- We will never find perpetual contentment from things offered to us by the marketplace
- Something else will replace the new before you even get home to unwrap it
- There is nothing new under the sun
- It is an illusion to think that you have something new
- Nothing can and nothing will satisfy you fully
- Pursuing satisfaction from the new and the novel will only produce frustration and failed expectations.
We need to stop drinking from wells that only leave us thirsty and wanting more. We must run to Jesus and be fully satisfied in him. Jesus says that if we continue to drink from wells that provide us contaminated water, we will constantly experience thirst. Jesus says that if we drink the water that comes from his well, we will not again experience thirst. We will experience satisfaction. We will experience pure, unadulterated joy. A pleasure, a joy and a satisfaction that cannot be compared to anything else in this world.
Is Jesus enough for us? Do we pursue Jesus for our joy and pleasure or do we run to stuff and things to fill the gaping void in our heart?
We must run to Jesus. We must not let the trite and trivial trinkets of this world derail us from consuming living water. It is ultimately Jesus who can satisfy. The satisfaction we receive in Him and from Him is eternal in nature and never fails to satisfy our deepest desires.
Question: Have you experienced the intoxicating allure of new? How do you defeat the desire for new things and generate a desire to find satisfaction exclusively in Jesus?