As a parent, my ears perk up a lot more to the message contained within commercials, especially as they target my daughter. We don’t catch every commercial with the DVR and have to hustle to turn the channel or pause it now and then, and that’s just the channel for kids.
From that, I’ve seen a few constant messages aimed at little girls:
- Girls need to get used to the idea of chasing a dream house, beauty and great fashion.
- There is a magic inside of them.
- They should become a pop star and get attention.
As a little boy, I remember being targeted with:
- There are over 50 action figures and vehicles. I should collect them all!
- There is a warrior inside of me.
- I can become a hero and get attention.
Hidden behind bright colors, smiling actors and quick-cut camera-work, I sense another message that has followed me to adulthood. These days, I’m targeted with the need to have better financial investments, new vehicles and the Miller High Life with my buddies. The bottom-line message directed my way then and now is the same. Advertisers want to convince me that what I have is not enough.
There is certainly a game plan Satan uses to try to distract us from God and destroy our relationship with him by having us focus on self.
It’s the same game plan Satan used to tempt Jesus.
After forty days of fasting in the wilderness, Satan came to Jesus and tempted him 3 ways.
Distraction 1: Collect Them All!
And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” – Matthew 4:3
Satan appeals to Jesus’ flesh fully knowing He is physically weakened after fasting.
How many of us buy something new, stuff our face, abuse substances or choose to sin sexually when things aren’t going our way? In those times, we are telling God He is not enough and that we need something else to fix ourselves.
That wasn’t the case for Jesus. Emotionally, physically and spiritually exhausted beyond anything we will ever know, Jesus answered him by quoting scripture:
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” – Matthew 4:4 (a quote from Deuteronomy 8:3)
Jesus’ reply demonstrates the primary importance of God and what He says as the only way to provide for our needs.
Distraction 2: There is a Magic/Warrior Inside of You
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, if you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
“‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” – Matthew 4:5-6
Jesus could have put God to the test. He could have shown how important he was and how God would protect him.
We’re prone to have a go at it by ourselves a lot of the time, not trusting God’s guidance or even seeking it for big decisions, relationship advice or how to spend our time, energy and resources.
Maybe we feel more worthy when there are less people we have to give credit to for our success. Maybe we bought in early to the message that we could sail along ourselves with our skills and magic and that God is a nice add-on in case the waters get rough.
Jesus, being the Son of God, was certainly in a position to pull rank and show Satan his worth.
Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” – Matthew 4:5-7 (quoted from Psalm 91 and Deuteronomy 6:16)
Distraction 3: Give Some Attention/Get Some Attention
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” – Matthew 4:8-9
We live in the age of the selfie and the ability to present and promote ourselves over all forms of media.
It has also made it very easy to follow celebrity athletes, politicians, actors, pastors, writers or musicians. With the amount of information available, our interest in these figures and their lives can become a preoccupation.
We can also hold our own audience a lot easier these days and for many, the need to have their posts, tweets, blogs liked, followed, or commented on becomes the main focus.
Satan knows our penchant to worship ourselves and anyone or anything but God if enough glitz and glamor and attention are thrown in our face.
Jesus wasn’t having it:
Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” – Matthew 4:8-10
I don’t expect advertisers to change their tune. I definitely don’t expect Satan to adjust his schemes. But I can learn from Christ’s example. It is important for us to pay attention to the message being directed our way and determine if they seek to upset the contentment found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
It’s only through a relationship with Him that we can continue to show our children and ourselves that we are made for more than this world.