By Allan McNabb
Certainly, not all advertisers and advertisements are bad. As a matter of fact, advertising in and of itself is good. But an increasing number of advertisers, retailers, and wholesalers use worldly lusts to attract customers to their products. Perhaps some of the best examples of these advertisements use sex to sell everything from beer to toothpaste.
The word lust is not often used in our society today so the meaning may be obscure to many Americans. The word lust means a strong desire. In the “bad” sense, lust means a strong desire to do some-thing that is sinful. In regards to lust, the Bible says in 1 John 2:16, “All that is in the world the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
Allurement through worldly lust is nothing new to mankind. Paul and Peter dealt with situations where false teachers allured people from the truth through lusts. In 2 Timothy 3:6 Paul warns of false teachers and says, “For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts.” And, in 2 Peter 2:18 Peter also warns of deception and says, “For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through licentiousness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.”
The Bible instructs us in the managing of worldly lusts in our lives. First we should note Paul’s instruction in 2 Timothy 2:22 to “flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, with those who call on the name of the Lord out of a pure heart.” All people of every age should flee lusts which draw us from God, and we should all pursue those things which are good and wholesome. While fleeing from lusts and pursuing all of the good things of God, we should do so with the company of other Christians. The bad peer pressure that we all face can be replaced, in part, by good peer pressure if we spend time with others who are pursuing righteousness, faith, love and peace. Remember the words of the apostle Paul who said, “Do not be deceived: `Evil company corrupts good habits’ (1 Cor. 15:33).
Furthermore, to overcome the temptations of this world, we must have a sincere love for God. In 1 John 2:15-16, the Bible tells us not to love the world and the things in the world since we can not simultaneously love the world and have the love of the Father within us. Later in the same book, John tells us, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments” (1 Jn. 5:3). So, our obedient love for God can give us the strength to overcome the lusts of this world to sin.
I am sure that all good Bible students are reminded of many other passages of Scripture that warn us of worldly lusts that so easily allure men and women to sin. The purpose of this article is not simply to remind us of the Bible verses, but to encourage each right minded person to take a stand against the abusive allurement of advertisers in our society. Are we silently standing by watching the alluring and seductive advertisements while immorality is being promoted in our society? Are we allowing these same advertisements to be viewed in our homes by our children and grandchildren? Are we allowing ourselves to be influenced by these same advertisements to purchase the products and thereby line the pockets of retailers to further display immoral acts in association with their products? Or are we aware of our actions, the consequences of our actions, and the difference our voice can make if we stand for those things which are right?
Our country has continually decayed over the past several years. Lustful advertising is only one attributing factor to the slow searing of the human conscience. And, I suppose I am also to blame for a portion of the moral decay of this country. I too have sat by for several years consenting to the use of worldly lust to attract mankind to certain products, and I have sat silently while such advertisements are allowed to run in my home before my children. I believe it is time to express disapproval in words, by refusing to view such advertisements on TV and in other media, and by avoiding the purchase of products sold through lustful advertising.
I also believe that retailers and wholesalers who do not employ immoral advertising should be applauded and patronized. By patronizing those who are morally right minded with their advertisements, we are sending a message to the immoral advertiser and rewarding the moral advertiser. What do you think? Would Jesus view immoral advertisements and silently purchase the associated products?
Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 14, p. 1
July 21, 1994