Monday, October 26, 2009

What are you advertising?

Several weeks ago while shopping in Wal-Mart, I asked my eight year old son to grab a box of Kleenex and put in the shopping cart. He was quick to inform me, "But Puff's has lotion. It's better for your nose." Having been brainwashed to believe that "a nose in need deserves Puff's indeed", Jaden was convinced that it was the only choice for our family.

Companies carefully select and pay high dollar to marketing firms to make you believe that their product is the best of its kind. Can you look at a package of Skittles without thinking "taste the rainbow" or Burger King's "have it your way"? Effective advertising mixed with clever phrases and tunes equal big profits for products that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Whether we are aware of it or not, every minute of every day we are marketing ourselves. People are watching and our attitudes and actions advertise our hearts and lives from the inside out.

A while back someone told me that they had passed by my house and seen me outside playing with the kids and dogs. I had to think back to the day, and I asked them, "Did you pass by while we were happily playing or when I was busy scolding?" Another time my mom commented to me that a friend of hers had seen our family in town and was impressed by our well mannered, happy children. I laughed and said, "She should have seen us ten minutes later. Her story might have been different."

A friend recently bragged on my children. "They are 'kind'," she noted. I've thought about that comment many times since and have come to believe that of all of the adjectives that could be used to describe my children, "kind" would be at the top of the list of what I'd want them to be. My kids are not perfect... far from it, but they are kind. (Ok, so not always to one another, but usually to everyone else!) They show the fruits of the Spirit through their lives. Proverbs 20:11 says, "Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right." It is how they have "marketed" themselves and what other people see. Kindness is just one of the trademarks by which they will be remembered.

Taking a personal inventory of my own life, I wonder how I have advertised myself. Do people think of me as warm and friendly or cold and harsh? Do they see someone who loves God with her whole heart or just another lukewarm Christian? Matthew 12:34 says, "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." The words we speak are a reflection of our thoughts and our thoughts determine who we are and what we do. The things that we say and do are the key selling points in our lives. If our actions do not back up our words then we are guilty of "false advertising".

So how about you? How do you market yourself? How are you perceived by others? Pay attention to the words that are coming out of your mouth. Do your actions match them? Are you giving people a wrong impression of who you really are or are you selling yourself short?

For fun I turned some popular slogan's and taglines around a bit. Here's what I came up with:

"Are you in God's hands?" (Allstate)

"Ready to 'fly His friendly skies' to the 'happiest place on earth'? (American Airlines meets Disney World)

"Reach out and touch someone for Jesus - just do it". (AT&T and Nike)

God - He brings good things to life. (GE)

Accept Christ - It does a body good. (Milk Counsel)

Hell - The ultimate snap, crackle, pop. (Rice Crispies)

Jesus - "He loves to see you smile". (McDonald's)

Salvation - "Don't leave earth without it." (American Express)

And last but not least, "A life in need, deserves CHRIST indeed."  - (Puff's)