We live in a society of “Do” and the “Power of You.” Advertising, marketing, and various forms of media teach us a couple of things:
1. All of your little desires and wants can be completely satisfied — usually by buying a certain product — from you taking action. Want some swag? All you need to do is buy some ReeZigs and a new polo. This is the part I call: “Do”
2. All of those wants and desires are good and normal, and you deserve to get anything you set your heart on. Burger King’s slogan “Have it Your Way,” comes to mind. I call this the: “Power of You”
The underlying theme in the above points is that you are an inherently good being who deserves virtually anything you want, which means you don’t need God. Sadly, most people embrace this lie at one level or another. Take a step back and look from the outside in. Now it’s not so hard to see why some have a visible dependency on their iPods, or why those in depression resort to uncontrollable eating or shopping at times. Those are just two of the seemingly infinite examples.
Take another step back. “Do and the Power of You” stand in stark opposition to what is taught in Scripture. Jesus knew all about our big, cultural lie when he taught in Matthew 6 that God alone fulfills our needs, and that we don’t need to worry about anything. Or how about Amos 6:4-7, where God condemns those Israelites who took great pride and satisfaction in all the stuff they had? Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44), will use whatever he can to keep us from pursuing God’s Word.
With that being said, please understand that advertising, marketing, and media are not inherently evil; they are merely tools Satan can use (and unfortunately uses a lot) to distract us from our Heavenly Father. In retrospect, Satan used false religions heavily to spread the same lie (“you don’t need God”) we face today to the Israelites. When God lead them out of Egypt and into the Promised Land, it didn’t take long for them to start worshipping Baal and demanding human kings to rule over them since God wasn’t enough for them. If you read the Old Testament books of history, you will quickly see that the line of kings rapidly went sour, and the kings of Israel became more corrupt, godless, and selfish as time went on. When that wasn’t enough, God used various prophets like Isaiah, Daniel, and Zephaniah to warn and exhort the Israelites to repent and turn from their sinfulness and the lie they bought into so many years before. That didn’t work either, showing ultimately that there is nothing humans can “do” to save themselves or completely satisfy themselves. As the epic story goes, the next step in God’s perfect plan was to bring in Jesus, who did what man could never do for himself.
Do you see the reality above? The Israelites wanted more and more, but it was never enough. This sounds like a spoiled kid (the one in the mall you want to slap after seeing how he talks to his mom), always wanting more and more. It looks like we resemble the Israelites, even with centuries upon centuries keeping us apart. If you are a Christian then you know that through Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection we have salvation away from sin and in an eternal bond with God. Couple this with the fact our salvation is a product of “….grace through faith…not of works so that no one may boast,” (Ephesians 2:8). This dispells the lie of“Do”. Technically, we are to be “Doers” of God’s Word as stated in James 1:22, but this depends on our personal relationship with God (see Joshua 1:8-9).
Now check out Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” In fact, we are sinful from the time we are conceived (Psalm 51:5). I’m hoping the logic is starting to seep in: if this is true, we definitely don’t deserve whatever we want. In all reality, because of sin, we deserve nothing. But out of God’s grace, we are truly blessed with food, clothing, and different luxuries in this life. More importantly, we are offered life in His Son, Jesus Christ. It is only by His power via the Holy Spirit that our minds are called to be “transformed” in Romans 12. This dispells the lie of the “Power of You” and points us more towards the “Power of Jesus.”
The saddest part of all this is the denial. Some of you may read this or others may rationalize it in their head and conclude they do not need God and are sufficient without Him. Realize that this is not a rising above God but rather a listening to the cultural lie. Bringing it a bit deeper, it is submitting to the message that’s fed to you every day. The cold truth is not that you are above God, but that you are merely submitting to a different God (which is really a demon). That’s where the denial comes in.
Thinking about the inherent sinfulness and wickedness of humanity is exhausting, and not easy to accept. Even for Christians, it is easy for the lie of “Do and the Power of You” to slip back into our lives briefly. But take heart in the words of Jesus: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” He came to give you true joy (John 15:11), peace (John 16:33), and life. God has known you before you were even conceived (Psalm 139) and His desire is to be with you (John 17:24) forever.
Have you ever put creamer in your coffee? Think about a cup of freshly brewed coffee. It is dark, strong, and in need of something. When you pour in the creamer, it swirls around in the coffee. As it sinks in, it changes the entire color, taste, and even a bit of the texture of the coffee into something much more. That is exactly what Jesus wants to be, every day, in your life. Your life is like a cup of coffee; He wants to be your coffee creamer and invigorate every inch of your being. All you have to do is open up your heart to Him.
Christians: Think about you and God. Has the lie slipped in anywhere? Ponder on your every day thoughts. Look around at all the stuff in your home. What is keeping you from knowing Jesus more?
Tragic yet funny is the fact that the companies behind the ads, promotions, etc., really want your money more than your temporary well-being. They care more about how you feel than who you are, but praise be to God! For He cares much more about who you are than how you feel.
2 Corinthians 4:6 – “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”