Advertising is very powerful. Which explains why huge companies compete for $3 Million television spots in a football game.
Sometimes advertising fills a need by making us aware of solutions to existing problems. Raid ® roach killer might not solve the world’s troubles, but it sure is good to know it's there if you open your kitchen door and spot a handful of crispy crawly things scattering for cover under your refrigerator.
The trouble comes when advertising creates a problem just so it can offer a solution.
Which is, by the way, how I found out I was hopelessly inadequate.
For years I got up every morning and applied my makeup. And for years I felt perfectly acceptable, satisfied with the features God gave me. Not glamorous or beautiful, but definitely ADEQUATE.
Until one day Latisse® pointed out that I was not up to standard. They proved it. They had actual photos of a model with eyelashes that looked like mine, and they stated unequivocally that they were inadequate. Holy Cow! If a beautiful woman like that was deficient, what the heck was I?
I was an imposter! Wandering the streets of the world, posing as a normal person, when in reality I was a freak of nature. Inadequate. UNWORTHY.
But wait! There was a perfectly simple solution to this hideous situation. All I had to do was buy their product. For a mere $120 a month, I could own the magic. In 16 weeks I could become ADEQUATE! Of course, I might get bacterial keratitis. And my eyes might become permanently discolored. And my eyelids could become darkened, too; but that’s probably reversible If I gave up my magic potion. But then my lashes would all fall out and I would become freakishly inferior again!
But isn’t it worth the risk? Isn’t it worth the money? Isn’t it worth anything if I could only become ADEQUATE again?
Every morning when I looked in the mirror I was reminded that I was inferior. I became obsessed with my eye makeup. I thought about eyelash extensions. I considered having my eyelids tattooed to camouflage my worthless lashes. I thought about wearing sunglasses 24/7. On and on I obsessed, I ruminated, I worried.
Until one day I got mad.
Because Latisse® didn’t care about me. They weren’t trying to help me. In fact they paid a lot of money to produce and air a commercial created solely to make me feel bad. Bad enough to spend a bunch of money and risk some pretty serious side effects. Bad enough to make their shareholders rich.
That’s what most advertising is about. Creating needs. Telling us we deserve more, better, bigger. Convincing us we are INADEQUATE, and that all our unhappiness will go away if we just give them money.
But is that what God wants for us? A life of envy, fear, unhappiness, stress? A life of searching for a magic potion, for a way to feel ADEQUATE?
No! God has promised us peace. In John 14:27 He says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. …Do not let your hearts be troubled...” But to experience His peace, we need to focus on Him, not on the commercial messages bombarding us at every turn.
Think about some recent purchases. How much were your decisions influenced by advertisers who don't care about anything but your money? How do they line up with God's desires for your life?
In Philippians 4:19, Paul tells us that God will meet all our needs "according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” We don’t have to settle for being ADEQUATE; we have been promised the EXTRAORDINARY. We already have everything we need, and more than we can imagine. It’s been given to us freely and without limit, by the God of love.