MARKETING: The action of promoting and selling products or services.
Have you ever stopped to look at all the marketing that surrounds your every-day life? There are obvious tools of marketing including television, radio, and billboards. Then there are the “not so obvious” tools of marketing, many of which are found in social media.
One term to label the internet browser marketing is “Pop Up Ads.” Since the origin of the world wide web, there is now a tool to stop some of those ads, known as “Pop Up Blockers.” You may be surfing the web and looking at the information that comes up on the screen, while advertisements are “popping up” as well.
Even though you may think you are not paying any attention to the marketing ads, little do you realize your eyes and your brain, both sneak a peak at whatever ad it is that pops up. Many times there is motion with the ad that automatically draws your attention whether consciously or sub-consciously. We may think it does not affect us, but in many cases it does. Hundreds of thousands of people see those ads daily and the company marketing the ads will get results.
WalMart has perfected the marketing tools by placing signs and items in strategic places. How about those little TV screens at the end of the aisles displaying videos of items you would not normally consider? They mount them at the height of your eyes and ears to attract your attention. I can be walking through that area not even thinking about chocolate pudding, but then this very kind lady is making chocolate pudding for her sweet little children in this video and I suddenly crave chocolate pudding and buy a dozen boxes for me and my grandson to share. I was walking past an aisle recently and there is a display of razors gliding on a roller simulating how smooth it would glide on my face. I stood there almost in a trance at how easily they rolled until I had to shake myself into reality that I did not need a Super Duper Glider Rider Razor.
So what is the reason and purpose of marketing? Let’s look for a moment at political campaigns since it is at the forefront of our nation for the next twelve months. Politicians use marketing to promote themselves. They market their past accomplishments and future plans. They market their opinions of the many issues at hand pertaining to their realm of authority or future authority. The reasoning behind their marketing can be to legitimately make the world a better place or it can be rooted in fame and greed.
In our democracy, many political figures are elected by the people, so it is up to the people to discern the marketing motives of the politician. Sometimes, because of the intense marketing ploys, it is very difficult to discern if the motives are right or wrong. Marketing strategies can cloud discernment by playing on the emotions of people.
This is a day for every believer to be founded in the Word of God and in the Gospel, and to pray and rely upon Holy Spirit to assist us in discerning the hearts of men and women vying for a place of authority. Scripture gives us the assurance that Holy Spirit knows all things, and He will reveal to us those things we need to know (1st Corinthians 2:6-15; 1st John 2:20, 27). Holy Spirit will cause us to see through worldly motives of man no matter the marketing ploys that are used. Just as in Paul’s day, there are people in authority, or who desire to be in authority, who are enemies of the cross (Philippians 3:18-19). We, as believers, must be determined to root ourselves deeply in Christ and, as we do, the motives of those who are enemies of the cross and anti-christ will easily be seen.
Now we move from the marketing of products and the marketing of politicians to a marketing that is taking place in these last days that few people are aware of, yet one that is mentioned by Jesus, Paul, and Peter several times in New Testament Scripture.
In Matthew 24, Jesus was asked what the sign would be that would indicate the last days (vs. 3). His response was, “Take heed that no man deceive you” (vs. 4).
In 1st Timothy 4:1,2, Paul explains the last day indicator as “some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy.”
In 2nd Peter 2:1-3, Peter says false prophets and false teachers will rise up and “many will follow their immoral ways and doings, subtly and stealthily introducing heretical doctrines. They will exploit people with their false and cunning arguments.”
There are some who would read this Scripture and immediately respond in saying that can never happen to them, but Jesus said even the very elect will be lost. How is that possible? There is an evil spiritual marketing strategy taking place in our world today. This strategy reaches into every corner of our world and has the potential to affect every person of race, nationality, culture, wealth, social standing, or educational level.
Since that first marketing ploy of the serpent in the garden to this point in time, the deceiver has used evil marketing tools to steer all of mankind away from Christ and truth. We must not fall prey to these devices. 2 Corinthians 2:11 tells us if we are ignorant of satan’s marketing ploys, then he will take advantage of us. The enemy is a pusher of evil propaganda that attempts to steer the heart of man from the simplicity of the Gospel.
Propaganda is defined as “information of a biased and misleading nature used to promote a cause or point of view. It is the spreading of false information or rumors for the purpose of hurting an institution, cause or person.” It is the enemy’s expressed desire to spread information contrary to God’s Word of truth to cause harm to the soul of man.
We must keep in mind that the enemy’s marketing strategy is pointed largely at those who know Christ and desire to live righteous lives. The strategies that the enemy has for those in the world keep them in the world, but his focus is to remove believers from the faith. The enemy has no morals or standards so he will go after the heart of the believer with full force.
The false prophets and teachers referred to in Scripture earlier in this devotional can be planted in the middle of the Body of Christ. Once again, this is the reason every believer must remain steadfast in their personal devotion and relationship with Christ on a daily basis and to be continuously filled with Holy Spirit.
The following is an excerpt of a prophetic word spoken through Stanley Frodsham in 1965. Frodsham was a close friend of Smith Wigglesworth and a minister of the gospel as well.
“I warn you to search the Scriptures diligently concerning these last days. For the things that are written shall indeed be made manifest. There shall come deceivers among My people in increasing numbers, who shall speak forth the truth and shall gain the favor of the people. For the people shall examine the Scriptures and say ,’ What these men say is true’. Then when they have gained the hearts of the people , then and then only shall they bring out their wrong doctrines. Therefore I say that you should not give your hearts to men , nor to hold people’s persons in admiration or adulation. For by these very persons satan shall gain entry into My people. Watch for seducers! Do you think a seducer will brandish a heresy and flaunt it before the people? He will speak words of righteousness and truth and will appear as a minister of light, declaring the Word. The people’s hearts shall be won. Then when the hearts are won, they will bring out their doctrines and the people shall be deceived. The people shall say , ‘ Did he not speak thus and thus?’ and ‘Did we not examine it from the Word? Therefore he is a minister of righteousness. This that he has now spoken we do not see in the Word, but it must be right, for the other things he spoke were true.’ Be not deceived. For the deceiver will first work to gain the hearts of many, and then shall bring forth his insidious doctrines. You can not discern those who are of Me and those who are not of Me when they start to preach. But seek Me constantly and when these doctrines are brought out you shall have a witness in your heart that these are not of Me. Fear not, for I have warned you. It is possible that the very elect may be deceived. But it is not possible if you walk in holiness and uprightness before the Lord, for then your eyes shall be open and the Lord will protect you. If you will constantly look unto the Lord you will know when the doctrine changes and will not be brought into it. If your heart is right I will keep you. If you will look constantly unto me, I will uphold you.”
The enemy is subtle in his schemes. He will cause things to “pop up” before our eyes that we may not even realize are affecting us. Guard yourself against these “pop up” marketing tools by downloading the Word of God in your spirit daily. Nourish yourself spiritually by reading and listening to the truth. Philippians 3:7 instructs us to remain in Christ and then our hearts and minds will be guarded against the cares of this world.
In John 16:7, Jesus foretells of the coming Holy Spirit Who will be our Comforter. That word comforter means counselor. A good counselor will watch out for our well being. It is vital that every believer be filled with Holy Spirit, and He will guard us against the marketing strategies of the enemy.
Be steadfast in God’s Word. Remain in Christ. Be filled with the Spirit. Then when the enemy places something before you that is aimed at distracting you from righteousness, you will recognize it. James said it well in James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore unto God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
Recently I was meditating before the Lord concerning His blessings and His future plans for my life, and I heard Him say clearly, “Guard that which I value the most.” Notice He did not tell me to guard what I valued the most, but what He valued the most. There can be a difference. I cannot trust myself, my own flesh, to tell me what is most valuable; but when I align what I value most with what He values most, and then guard and protect it, then my life will be pleasing to Him. Those things in my life that are meaningless will fall away. Those things that the enemy marketed into my life that I don’t need will be eliminated.
Paul summed it up so well to those in the Church at Galatia. There was a group that came to the Church marketing their own beliefs that they had to live the law in addition to believing in Christ to be forgiven of sin. Paul’s answer to them was, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live. Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
The gospel of Jesus Christ is not to be marketed for fame or profit or for any reason. It is not a procuct to be promoted and sold as manufactured by man. Man’s feeble attempts to market the gospel make the cross of Christ of no affect. When Jesus sanctioned the disciples for ministry in Matthew 10:7,8 he made this very clear. ” Go preach , saying, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Freely you have received. Freely give.” Paul made it clear as well in Ephesians 2:8.” For by grace you are saved through faith and not of yourselves. It is the gift of God.” Salvation is not like a Christmas gift that we receive and then give to someone else. It is not to be regifted. Jesus paid for it on the cross and our sins have been paid for in full. May we simply live the gospel through the power of the Spirit and then we will be the witnesses that we are to be for Christ.