We recently rented and watched Confessions of a Shopaholic, based on the book of the same title (which I *gasp* actually read in 2002).
And one quote from the movie struck me so much that I went to IMDB and did a search for it. The lead character, Rebecca Bloomwood says this a she confesses to her shopaholic support group why she can’t stop from using her credit card to buy more scarves, clothes, shoes, and bags:
“When I shop, the world gets better, and the world is better, but then it’s not, and I need to do it again.”
And it struck me as a particularly good explanation for the illusion, the fleeting happiness, and the overall addiction of sin. After all, anything that takes God’s place in the altar of your heart is considered sin. For some that can be shopping, for others it’s sports games, for yet others, it’s alcohol, or drugs or celebrity gossip or Twitter or the web in general, or video games.
The entire illusion of its beauty is what keeps drawing us back even when we know those pursuits are hollow and can never give us true joy and peace. Because you can never get enough clothes, or books, or trading cards, or cars, or trophy girlfriends to satiate you. Sin is engineered so that at the end of each one is the tag “to be continued.” It’s designed for you to keep coming back. Until you’re finally chained to it. And can’t break free. That’s how the devil has won his battles for centuries, by subtly putting you in chains.
The only true freedom lies in holiness, in choosing to put Christ back on the throne, in serving others. As James 1:27 puts it: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
St. Augustine of Hippo. Confessions (Lib 1,1-2,2.5,5: CSEL 33, 1-5)