Bummer that I didn’t grow up wealthy…
Well perhaps I was rich (and you too) compared to most of the planet, but definitely not by the standards set by the images we get from the lifestyles of the pop culture elite.
So most of us can relate to a 15-year-old girl living in relative obscurity, right? And then one day she pens a tune that would eventually top the world’s charts – essentially giving her the keys to the fame and fortune that we all know will make us happy, right?
Except not Lorde, because ironically, the tune that she wrote about “Royals” describes the futility of trying to quench a spiritual thirst with a materialistic lifestyle:
And we’ll never be royals, royals,
It don’t run in our blood.
That kind of lux just ain’t for us,
We crave a different kind of buzz.
—From Royals, by Lorde
I love how Royals calls out the shameless opulence that has infected our “stars” and juxtaposes this malady with the infectious beauty of a simple life.
Time will tell if Lorde will maintain her conviction that the gaping emptiness in our hearts cannot and will not be satiated by consuming every item on the world’s menu – but I can tell you where the inception of this worldview began…from The Lord Himself:
“Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot” (Luke 12:15, The Message).
Jesus gave this warning in a time when basically everyone was poor by our standards, yet they too fell for the lie that by upscaling and upgrading in an upwardly mobile way, they would find contentment.
So why does Jesus care so much if we want drive a sweet car and live in a home that makes people jealous when they drive by? Why does Jesus want us to “crave a different buzz”?
The answer is simple…He knows that the deadly deception found in a materialistic philosophy of life is like a cancer to our souls. His heart’s intent is for His children to experience contentment and an abundant life, but so often we are blinded by the searing glare of what the “Royals” possess.
Thank you, Lorde, for reminding us of what is truly important in life. And thank You, Lord, for “cracking the code” 2000 years ago and warning us against becoming selfish and swinish people who suffer from the gimmies.
And most importantly, praise You, Jesus, for giving us true and authentic royalty in our relationship with you!
But you are a chosen people, set aside to be a royal order of priests, a holy nation, God’s own; so that you may proclaim the wondrous acts of the One who called you out of inky darkness into shimmering light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received it.
Beloved, remember you don’t belong in this world. You are resident aliens living in exile, so resist those desires of the flesh that battle against the soul (1 Peter 2:9-11).
These words from God’s Word are the “anti-materialism” truths we need to internalize when we are tempted with discontent and the craving to turn temporary things into ultimate things.
My friends, let Jesus’ sacrificial blood run in your veins. Let Him be your ruler. Get caught up in a love affair with the One who has freed you from the soul-searching existence that deep down we all know those who live apart from you experience.
When you do these things, your life becomes a song in and of itself. When the soundtrack of your life is defined by harmony with your Creator and marching to the minimalist beat of your Savior, your friends who don’t know Christ will turn down the greedy noise that surrounds them and listen to the lyrics that can set them free:
“Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
Our culture suffers from a deadly addiction to materialism, and only a relationship with Jesus can set us free. Show your friends that you don’t carry the chains of “stuff” around with you, and watch how God will use you to make a difference in their lives.
Accelerant: Fuel for THE Cause
Pray: Jesus, thank You for warning us against being greedy. Help us avoid making temporary things into ultimate things. Let others see that we find our true contentment in You.
Read: Ecclesiastes 5:10. Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!
Get: Compassion International’s Gift Catalog. With Christmas around the corner, we’re headed into our annual “material acquisition” binge. This year, jettison buying more “stuff” and consider giving a gift that makes a lasting impact for a needy child through Compassion International. Just $18 buys a mosquito net. $14 feeds a mom and baby for a month. Check out the wide range of one-time giving options in the Compassion Gift Catalog.
Discussion Guide for Leaders
Big Idea: Royals is a vivid picture of what Jesus taught us 2000 years ago, so we should live by this truth so others can be freed from the enslaving greed of our culture.
Key Scripture: Luke 12:15
- Are you materialistic? Why or why not?
- Why is Royals such a popular song?
- What changes do you need to make to show that you aren’t enslaved by materialism?
- How can you use this Soul Fuel to further THE Cause of Christ and spread His message?