Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13


This weekend is Super Bowl weekend. The Super Bowl is annually one of the most watched TV programs of the year. Now certainly a big part of that is the overwhelming popularity of the NFL. However, interestingly, in the last few years the Super Bowl commercials have become almost as big an event as the actual game, and with good reason as there are always many clever, funny and creative commercials. Sometimes maybe even too creative as we remember the “joke” and forget the “product”.

With that as the back drop this weekend, it seems like this might be an appropriate time to consider these verses.  We are the most marketed to generation in the history of the world. I read that this year a 30 second ad during the Super Bowl will be sold for 3.5 milion each. So while you are refilling your chips and dip, Doritos will be spending over $100,000 a second to convince you that it should be Doritos going on your plate and not Lays.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against sales and marketing. They provide a very useful function in our society. But at the core they are really about creating discontent in our spirits. I am very satisfied with the car I drive. Then I see that commercial with that really cool shiny looking new one, and suddenly I start to think my old car has a lot of faults. If I just had one like I saw on the commercial, well then I’d be happy. But the truth is real, lasting happiness never comes from stuff. And the pursuit of this stuff that we have become convinced we really need can launch a real torpedo into our budget.

Learning to be content, regardless of our circumstance, is a major key to financial freedom. There is nothing wrong with having nice things, but the truth is most of us in America already have more than we really need. Marketing is not bad, but it is important that we be aware of the effect that it can have on us. Don’t allow discontent to take root in your heart.

In Philippians 4:11 Paul says that he has “learned” to be content no matter what his circumstance. Contentment is something that we have to learn. It does not necessarily come naturally to us. We must learn that contentment isn’t found in what we wear, what we drive, or where we live.

I heard a message recently that talked about us being created in God’s image. Literally, this means He made His impression on us. It’s kind of like making the impression of a hand in wet cement. There is only one hand that will ever perfectly fill that impression when the cement dries. In verse 13, Paul reveals the real secret to learning contentment. It is found only in Christ.

So watch the Super Bowl Sunday night. Laugh at the commercials. Enjoy the stuff that you have as blessings from God. But in all that never forget where you find the real source of contentment. There is only One that will satisfy. You will never find it in stuff, and if you spend you life chasing happiness in stuff, you will never find true financial freedom.


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