The beginning of my career was spent working for a marketing & advertising agency that had a variety of clients; some sold products, others sold services. When it came to retail, I learned something very important about effective advertising –
Our primary responsibility or goal wasn’t to sell the product, it was to sell the need for the product. If I couldn’t convince you that you needed what my client was trying to sell, buying it wouldn’t be much of an option in your mind. But… if I can get you to believe that you need it just once, you’ll convince yourself you need it in the future all on your own. One of the easiest examples of this is found in the beauty industry (from makeup to men’s cologne). That industry pulled in over $89 billion in 2018.
Look at how they market to consumers… it’s so subtle we may not even realize how we’re being sold anymore. Whether they’re selling women mascara or they’re selling men rogaine, the first job they have is convincing us that we aren’t [insert whatever adjective you want] enough without it. Which is a lie. We don’t need to prevent gray hairs from growing in, or the blemishes on our face from being visible to be “enough,” but judging by the $89 billion price tag on this industry, we’ve clearly bought into the lie that we do need it all.
I say all of that to say this –
I’ve learned the enemy works the same way. He sells me one lie, and I begin to build patterns in my life around it, sometimes without even realizing why. In this book I’ve been reading, Restored at the Root, J. Walker III writes, “Satan will wage war against you to drive you to a place where you will begin to wage war against yourself.” Here’s what it could like in everyday life:
Lie: “You can’t be used for anything good after the bad decision you made in the past.” Pattern: Refuse opportunities to serve, assuming you have nothing to offer…which often leads to complacency in your walk.
Lie: “Your spouse doesn’t appreciate / understand / notice you the way you deserve.” Pattern: Seeking out that attention/affirmation in someone else…which often leads to an affair.
Lie: “A strong drink is what you need to truly destress from this tough day.” Pattern: Having a drink every time your day includes stress…which is often the beginning of an addiction.
Lie: “If you trust people enough to open up, they are only going to hurt/manipulate you like [insert person] did.” Pattern: Trust nobody, fail at transparency and end up with walls around your heart…which often makes you feel alone.
You get the idea. When we slip into this tactic of the enemy, we are doing what Paul writes in Romans 1:25 – “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie…”
Much like the beauty industry example, he only has to get me to believe the lie one time. Once I buy in, I end up stuck in a perpetual cycle. The patterns we end up with as a result of buying the lie oppose the truth of Scripture just as much as the lie does.
When we look at the sin in our lives, specifically sin that can be categorized as habitual whether it’s an addiction or a pattern of anger, unforgiveness, etc., it can all be traced back to a lie that we allowed ourselves believe somewhere along the line. That’s how Satan operates – he’s the father of lies.
So my challenge to you is to look at your areas of struggle. Look at them honestly for everything they are. Can you trace them back to a lie you believed? If so, praise the Lord. You’re now at the root of the issue and God will be faithful to help you find the healing that lie prevented, and uproot it.
And my encouragement to you in moving forward is simply this: Don’t buy the lie. Be sold out for Jesus.