AND BE YOURSELF!
The key to effective advertising is the creation and communication of a message that helps people identify a need, and offers them a way to meet that need. At its core, this advertising principle is as simple as it is true. It’s even an admirable goal, to help people get what they need.
The problem arises when we let advertising convince us we need to be someone other than who we are, persuade us we have needs that don’t exist, or help us mistake wants for needs. If you don’t know who you truly are, leave it to advertising to tell you.
Advertisers Tell You Who to Be
When you survey the marketing landscape, you’ll discover three ways advertisers tell you how you should see yourself, your self-identity. We need to be a better person. We need to experience pleasure. We need to be more powerful. If we buy or use the product or service, our new self is guaranteed to be better, experience more pleasure, and have more power.
Is your self-identity based on what others think?
There’s nothing wrong with waking up expecting to be a better person than you were yesterday. We all have goals and ambitions. The questions become: What do you regard as being a “better” person? Who determines the meaning of “better?” “How far will you go to become a “better” person?
Our self-identity is formed and influenced by external influences from birth. The attachments we develop determine how we interact as adults, and how we begin to define what it means for us to become a “better” person. It’s important to understand how these attachments affect our self-identity, and how the world around us continues to mold and shape how we view ourselves, for better or worse, for God or self.
How We Seek Pleasure Matters
A key dimension of our self-identity is how we seek pleasure. God created and continues to sustain a world full of wonderful pleasures. He created us with the abilities to discover and enjoy them. He wants us to experience the beauty and wonders of the world. He wants us to enjoy the delights offered by our senses. He wants us to appreciate the joy of fellowship with friends and those we love.
However, God wants his children to forego the love and pursuit of pleasure that can strangle one’s self-identity as a child of God. There are many scriptures warning against and condemning a lifestyle characterized by the love of pleasure that leave us “choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures” (Luke 8:14).
How We Seek Power Matters
We all want to feel powerful. Unfortunately, we often associate being more powerful and in control with have more “things” and turning to ill-advised behaviors. Ironically, when we accumulate more “stuff,” and define ourselves by our behaviors designed to increase our power over ourselves and others, we lose control of who we really are, children of God.
In conclusion, the challenge is to be aware of this influence, understand it, and judge it against the Word of God, seeking discernment through the Holy Spirit.
Listen to God's Words
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14)
And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. (Ecclesiastes 4:4)
Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Luke 12:7)
Also read: Isaiah 43:1, Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 10:12
In the Words of Others
“One of the greatest tragedies in life is to lose your own sense of self and accept the version of you that is expected by everyone else.” K.L. Toth
Think About It
Make a list of the things you’ve bought just because you saw it advertised? Make a list of what you needed as opposed to what you simply wanted.
Recall instances when you bought a product or service to make you a “better” person, have more pleasure, or feel more powerful. What were you thinking at the time?
When you plan on making a significant purchase, do you turn to the Lord, acknowledging his importance in your life, and seeking the guidance of the Spirit? If no, why not?