Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Unnecessary Roughness

I just returned from our family vacation to the beach. We had a wonderful time. The kids were fun, and my wife and I both said it was the best beach trip we have ever had with the kids. It was truly one to remember.

This year, more than ever before, I was struck by the way worldly values are bombarding us in advertising at the beach. I know we see commercials on television, and endure foul language at the movies, but the barrage of images that was fed to us this week on billboards, building facades, radio commercials, and pamphlets, was overwhelming.

There are certain places where one would expect to find such advertising. If you pass by a bar, you might find a beer sign. If you pass a place of business that sells swimwear, you might see an image of a man or woman in a swimsuit. I understand these things. It doesn’t mean I approve, but I understand the marketing principle.

The problem that I truly have is when the approach is unnecessary. Many times the advertising could be done in a way that does not glorify questionable values and morals, but they are used to get the attention of the consumer. We see sex, materialism, and selfishness glorified in this type of advertising and we follow like rats after the pied piper.

One such example is at Broadway at the Beach. I used to love the Discovery Channel Store. It was a huge store filled with all types of scientific stuff. I don’t think I ever bought much from there, but I loved going in.

This year as I was wandering around I saw where the Discovery Channel Store used to be. In its place was a store called It’s Sugar. This huge building has now been turned into one gigantic candy store.

As I was surveying the outside of the building, and pondering whether or not to enter, I noticed something that truly bothered me. The spacious fa├žade of the store was painted with a number of seductive looking women holding different types of candy. Not all of them were scantily clad, but it was obvious that the owner took the old adage, “sex sells”, very seriously. I didn’t even go in.

I guess the most frustrating thing about it is the unnecessary nature of it. If you call a store “It’s Sugar” put pictures of candy on the outside and people will come in. Why add the graphic artwork?

We as Christians have a huge job. Throughout history, it has never been an easy task to avoid the lure of the world, but today it is more difficult than it has ever been. Now more than ever, we need to arm ourselves with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The morals and values of the world are seeping into our lives and we never see them taking over.

In Greek mythology, the Sirens were three dangerous bird-women, portrayed as seductresses, who lived on an island. It was surrounded by cliffs and rocks. Seamen who sailed near were decoyed by the Sirens' enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast. Satan uses the same techniques. To lure us into thinking we are safe, but he is simply leading us to destruction.

How can we avoid such seemingly harmless and wonderful things? We must take precautions and not put ourselves in situations where we are tempted. There are some things that assault our senses that we cannot control, but in those cases we can be prepared to endure such temptations. In order to do this we must pray continuously for God’s strength, be accountable to other Christians, and arm ourselves with the word of God.

Paul explains in Ephesians 6:10-18 how to arm yourself with God’s armor. Jesus informs us in Matthew 6:22-23 what happens when we allow our senses to be taken in by the world. Surrender these things to God and ask Him to strengthen you to be a light in the world, not another victim of it’s lust.

I have made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I look upon a young woman? For what is the allotment of God from above, and the inheritance of the Almighty from on high? Is it not destruction for the wicked, and disaster for the workers of iniquity? Does He not see my ways, and count all my steps? (Job 31:1-4)

No comments: