Culture loves excess. Whether it is the gross amount of money being thrown around for football transfers, the increased stress people face due to no rest from work or the abundance of food that we consume contemporary culture loves excess.
We must make note that this is not simply a 21st century problem. It has plauged human existence throughout the generations. As civilisation succeded civilisation and empire conqured and outgrew empire, each of them had to contend with this destructive force.
But humans do not like to set limits, even when we know it is for our own good. This highlights a disturbing inward reality. We will choose to do things to ourselves which give us temporary indulgence at the cost of long term benefit or gain. Instead of seeing our bodies or lives with an inherent diginty we opt to distort and destroy the image that we are made in (Gen 1:26-27). Our craving to satisfy an inward emptiness leads down a route of destructive hedonism that can never come to fruition on the promises that it makes.
So what is the alternative? Is there any? I would argue that there is and that focus can be found in our lives even in the midst of a culture suffocating in excess. Trying to ignore God is not the answer. Equally trying to earn God through acts of religion will not satisfy. Both of these options are like fighting fighting a lion with a flip flop. That inner craving of excess needs something more fulfilling to captivate our attention.
This alternative comes in proactive participation in the life God calls us to in a fallen world. He calls us to holiness and godliness; things which are actually for our good and provide eternal satisfaction. We find in them life in all of its fullness (John 10:10). And that is because we are no longer trying to defend ourselves with beach footwear.
Passionate pursuit of the saviour who first loved us and gave himself for us frees us from the endless cycle of chasing excess after excess (1 John 4:10). Our identity is no longer found in these things, no matter how good they are (work, career, family etc….) It is found in Jesus, our saviour. He alone is the person who will bring focus to us in the midst of the societal pressure to conform to excess.