The expression "keeping up with the Joneses" describes the phenomenon of people feeling pressure to do what their neighbors do and have what their neighbors have. A brilliant observer commented that 50 years ago those who attempted to keep up with "the Joneses" - their neighbors - were at least keeping up with people within their same general economic level that were in their neighborhood or social group. This may be disconcerting from a social perspective, but it really was not that significant from a financial perspective. Keeping up with people of similar means is not all that bad.
The challenge today is that the Joneses are television personalities, professional athletes, movie stars and other celebrities that are the cultural icons and trend setters of our age. These people have incomes and assets that fare exceed those of normal people and keeping up with them can drain us of all of our finances.
God instructed the people to avoid becoming consumed by the cultures of their past and future surroundings. Those were good instructions then and they represent great advice now. The more we resist the temptation to be influenced by our surroundings and do what is popular the more likely it is that we will be able to plan and execute strategies to reach financial freedom and self sufficiency.
"God, deliver me from the fear of being different from others; help me to care more about doing what you have called me to do and to be who you have called me to be. Amen."