Do you feel as if you are always being hammered by the media? Every day we seem to be bombarded with advertisements promoting this product or that product. Television, radio, magazine articles, newspapers, movies, and videos are constantly telling us what’s in, what’s out, what you should eat, how you should dress, how you should look, even how you should think. Did you ever stop to consider why advertisers spend so much time and effort trying to get you to buy their products in this manner? Well, there’s one good reason- because it’s effective!
You see, there’s a basic rule that governs all advertising and that rule is this: “Find a need and fill it. If no need exists, then create one.” It may interest you to learn that there are people who get paid really big money to do one thing- manipulate your opinion in favor of their product. In fact, advertisers will often imply that you will get something that you really want -like happiness, attention from the opposite sex, and social acceptance- if you will only use their product.
To do this effectively, advertisers often try to get you to concentrate on things like your body, your clothes and the food you eat as they relate to the product that they are trying to get you to buy. This strategy frequently involves an attempt to make you feel dissatisfied with the things that you already have. See, if you can be made to feel like you are left out because you don’t have what that advertiser is selling, you will probably be more willing to buy their product!
One reason why this approach can work so successfully is due to what the Bible describes as our carnal nature. “Carnality” basically refers to a preoccupation with your body and the satisfaction of whatever it wants. Carnality might best be described by the phrase, “If it feels good, do it!” A carnal person would be someone who is more concerned with looking good on the outside than with being good on the inside.
For example, most of you probably know someone whose attention is constantly directed towards getting the “right” look, the “right” hair, the “right” clothes, or the “right” friends. These people and others like them could be described as “carnal.” In other words, their actions are totally driven by what looks and feels good- and advertisers fully exploit that attitude.
Jesus, however taught something radically different…
People sometimes say that the Bible doesn’t apply to our 21st century world but Jesus’ words here are as relevant now as they were when He spoke them 2000 years ago. For example, think about how things are around you today- “looking good” and “feeling good” is always in but “being good” never is. Or consider many of the magazines that are directed towards you as a teen. What are such magazines largely devoted to? Aren’t they greatly concerned with “what shall we eat or what shall we drink or what shall we wear” (especially what shall we wear!)
Jesus tells us that there’s a better way. Rather than pursuing the carnal attitude of simply looking good on the outside, Jesus encourages us to seek God first and get right on the inside. A person who displays the love, joy and peace that comes with true Godliness is always more appealing in the long run than the person who dresses well but has a bad attitude!
Listen, there’s nothing wrong with looking good and dressing well. In fact, those are good things- but they become wrong when they are allowed to become more important than someone’s relationship with God. So rather than let the media totally dictate what you should eat, drink, and wear, base your decisions in those areas on what is and what isn’t pleasing to God. In that way, you will achieve the attractiveness that comes with Godliness no matter what your wardrobe looks like.