It has been said that if all mediums of advertising were lumped together, it would be the largest industry in our country. I don’t know if that is so, but I do know one thing: advertising has a profound influence on our lives. Certainly it is not my notion to condemn all advertising as wrong. That’s not so. However, it is obvious to even a casual observer that advertising–and particularly certain types of advertising–has a profound effect on our lives. And it does it with such finesse that we do things, say things, and, yes–buy things–even dress a certain way, because of the subtle influences of advertising. It has an effect on our lives.
Advertising can be one of the pernicious influences of the devil. He is wily, sagacious in his appeals. He slips up on us in cleverly devised manners, and he can have us in his grip without our hardly eve recognizing it. He uses advertising to promote and recommend certain styles, language usages, social pressures, peer influence, and a variety of other subtitles to seduce us into his trenches. We best be careful to plot our course in such a way as to preclude his being able to trap us–even with his subtle forms of publicizing. Here are some “don’ts” for your consideration.
Don’t be unduly influenced by all current styles. In the last few years particularly, some among us have decided that public opinion is the standard for judging modesty. It is not so. No matter the accepted style, the godly woman (or man, either, for that matter) will adorn herself with shamefacedness and modesty ( Peter 3:1-5). When Christians begin a flirtatious affair with the world there is trouble ahead. And while we’re not to be conspicuously strange and out of vogue, we need to exercise caution lest we, through a lack of attention and concern, cause someone to stumble by our immodesty. The Christian woman is a modest woman. The Christian is always more interested in how he looks to God than how he looks to man.
Don’t be influenced by popular ethics. Subjectivism has surrounded us at almost every turn today. People are of the opinion that if it feels right it must be right, or as long as it doesn’t offend your conscience, it’s OK. It’s actually popular to do many things which, when examined in the light of Scripture, are sinful. Sexual improprieties are everywhere; cheating of all kinds is engaged with little or no guilt-feelings. A person can seemingly do whatever he wants and if he can “get away with it,” or if he “feels all right about it,” it’s all right. Many folks see no harm in small mis-representations, feel no compunction for filing false claims, have no regrets about taking “small stuff.” The “business lie” is a lie, people! “White lies” are still lies. Excuses are not reasons. “A little won’t hurt,” is still wrong. And “nobody will know” is foolish to a fault. Believe me, He knows. Today’s so-called “ethics,” if written down on a list, would surely shock most people; but when they’re done a little at a time, they take on an air of almost trivial insignificance. Wrong is wrong, no matter how small it is (Galatians 6:7-8).
Don’t be influenced by consequences. Far too often people decide what they’re going to do by supposing what is going to happen if he does it. He reasons that he will or will not do something based on what he thinks will be the consequences of his action. Reasoning from consequences is a foolish way to live life. We are far wiser to concern ourselves with what will happen if we don’t obey God. “He who trusteth in his own heart is a fool; but who walketh wisely, he shall be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26). We cannot know the future, but one thing is certain: God will never require of us that which is not in our best interests. Further, we would do well to consider the consequences of paying no attention to what He has said, no matter what consequences or inconvenience it brings upon us.
Don’t be influenced by men’s religious ideas. No preacher, no matter who he is or how popular, is equal to God! That’s the end of that matter. And furthermore, there is no religious authority in any group of men. People are being deceived by a multitude of man-made religions today. They seem pleased to accept almost anything said in a religious way as if it is from God. It is good to respect men of religious influence, men who show a love for God and their fellow man, and it is good to admire men of intelligence and influence. However, it should never be forgotten that no man–no matter how attractive he may be, no matter how many degrees he has attached to his name–has any authority in religion (1 Corinthians 4:6; 1 John 1:6-9). No man is truly intelligent nor prudent who does not subscribe to and practice the divine directive without deviation or substitution (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Influence can be a good thing (Matthew 5:16) or it can be terribly evil (2 Peter 2:1-3). Let us be very careful how and by whom we are influenced.