Say “No” to Advertising Lies
(Don’t be fooled by advertising lies)
Doug Britton, MFT
Advertising — Sometimes helpful, often misleading
Note: Many of the points in this online Bible study are adapted from Defeating Temptation: Biblical Secrets to Self-Control.
Advertising can help us learn about new products and make better choices. But if we aren’t careful, advertising can be a gigantic snare. Oftentimes advertising lies to us, or appeals to false values that don’t work.
The advertising in TV, radio, the Internet, social media, newspapers, magazines and billboards bombard us with messages intended to stir up our desire to spend. We are told we need a new car, this year’s fashions, expensive perfume, a certain mouthwash, new furniture, the latest smartphone and the fastest computer.
Advertisers tell us:
- You need what they are selling.
- You deserve it.
- Life is not worthwhile without it.
Once we make the purchase, the excitement and satisfaction quickly wear off, and we realize we have been deceived by advertising lies.
Realize that advertising does affect you
You may think ads don’t affect you, but you are probably wrong. The reason companies pay massive amounts for advertising is that it works. Well-written ads appeal to envy, pride and greed, emotions that affect us all.
Things aren’t made any easier by the materialism in our culture. We idolize people for the most superficial reasons — they have lots of money, expensive possessions or a high-priced house — and we want what they have. We are ill-prepared to resist advertising lies.
Reject the world’s values and advertising lies
Throughout the Bible, we are told to resist greed. Remembering what God’s word says can help us resist temptation and lies in advertising.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Exodus 20:17)
Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. (Luke 12:15)
Adopt God’s values
The word of God tells us what is really important. Don’t let advertising lies rob you of true peace and joy.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Develop sales resistance to advertising lies
If Internet ads tempt you, install and add blocker. If magazine ads stir up desires for possessions, don’t read the ads/ If catalogs affect you the same way, throw them out unread.
Develop sales resistance. Remember that people have been paid a lot of money to tempt you to make impulsive purchases. Recognize most ads for what they are — appeals to covetousness and greed.
Be content with what you have
Learn to be content, whatever your situation.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12-13)
Describe two advertisements that tempted you to buy something you didn’t need. Also explain whether or not you think there were lies in the advertising:
Next: Guard your thought life
About Doug Britton, MFT
Doug Britton, Bible-based Marriage and Family Therapist, has helped hundreds of thousands of people as a therapist, clinical director of a treatment center, seminar speaker, radio cohost, and author of over twenty books that show how to apply God's truths in your daily life. (Visit www.dougbrittonbooks.com.)
Copyright © 2020 Doug Britton. Permission granted to print for personal use. (Scripture verses are from the New International Version, copyright © 1984.) See reprint policy.