Identity Crisis?

I read an article a few days ago that took a stab at explaining the psychology behind successful branding and image building. So many things came to my mind as I reflected on the world’s (i.e individuals, groups, companies, products, places, every “things”) preoccupation with projecting images that create perceptions that bring about desired and calculated rewards or actions from another or others. In a word — a psychological manipulation a la — “God knows that in the day you eat it you will be like him”; the subtlety of building trust by pretending a measure of concern and love for others—as though you had their best interests at heart and not your own—when you are really thinking of your own welfare first and foremost.

(I apologize for the raw Truth of this message, but not really, because I do love you, or I wouldn’t risk offending you. 😉

Deception is a crafty, stealthy, subtle business. It‘s so easy to fall prey to this type of lie because we want to believe that others actions are grounded in their desire to do things for our welfare. This is not the case of the natural man or the carnal Christian, which in appearance are no different from one another. Just as an extremely religious person looks just like a true Believer in action on the outside. The heart is desperately wicked, who can know it?

Many alliances are just that; relationships built upon a sketchy and unspoken agreement. “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” Or, “You tickle my fancy and I’ll tickle yours.” In the world of commerce and business the stakes and rewards are much higher, “You watch my back and I’ll watch yours while we plunder and pillage the community chest, just so long as I get mine.”

Yes, man looks on the outside, but God looks on the heart. What are men looking for on the outside? They want to associate, (i. e. be in relationship) with things that conjure up the perceptions in others of those psychological conceptions that they want to be associated with. In other words, I (or rather they) want to get you to think about me in ways that draw a picture in your mind of who I really want to be but am not. I want you to see and buy into my own deception of who I believe I am.

And I truly believe that people are convinced that if they can get enough others to buy their projected image that they can convince themselves (by self-deception) to be that person who the can deceive others into seeing. We all know, by instinct or revelation, that, “man looks on the outside”. We even look on the outside of ourselves till we have “eyes that see”.

Here is a summary and edited downsizing of the article along with the conclusion that makes the direct and absolute connection (through research findings) of the way people think about their religion and the way people think about their favorite brands.

The title of the article from FastCompany is:

Apple Logo Is an Agnostic’s Crucifix, Star of David: Study

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As it’s stated in the book of Jobs [Steve Jobs that is]: Thou shalt not worship false iPhones.

Or so goes the thinking in a new study from Duke University, which concludes: “The brand name logo on a laptop or a shirt pocket may do the same thing for some people that a pendant of a crucifix or Star of David does for others.” In fact, the more religious a person is, the less brand expression appears to matter.

Researchers at Duke ran several experiments… conducted a 3 year, 7 million dollar study comparing brain scans of the religious to those with high brand loyalty. Lindstrom discovered that the scans of people loyal to Apple matched the scans of devoted Christians.

All praise the almighty Steve!

“Brands are a signal of self-worth,” said Gavan Fitzsimons, professor of marketing and psychology at Duke. “We’re signaling to others that we care about ourselves and that we feel good about ourselves and that we matter in this world. It’s more than ‘I’m hip or cool’…I’m a worthwhile person, and I matter, and you should respect me and think that I’m a good person, because I’ve got the D&G on my glasses.”

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Wow! Did you get that? People are trying to fill a void so they turn to brands AND religion to build the image that they need to believe about themselves by associating with them. I think they hit the nail on the head. Madison avenue had a great laboratory to study what makes us tick — religion. What is the single greatest motivator in religion? It is a belief that I am not just right yet, not just acceptable yet, that I need something more to be seen as… a worthwhile person, and I matter, and you should respect me and think that I’m a good person, because I’ve got the [right religion] on my glasses.”

Now I won’t say much more. Let the Holy Spirit draw you to His conclusions. But here is a timely email I received yesterday from a person who has been set free from religion, the kind sold at many churches. Let the Holy Spirit speak to you through it as well.

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Dear Friends,

For those of you who are “outside the camp”…

How many times do you catch yourself missing the things that “church” offers?

Especially this time of year, with the holidays approaching, it can be a lonely time for some who used to go to church.

Do you miss the singing, praise and worship, Women’s ministry, Men’s ministry, potluck dinners, preaching, tithing/giving, children’s ministries, even listening to people giving “prophetic words” (just to name a few).

Ask yourself a question…

Are the “things” that I miss really ministering to the LORD or to ME?

Really look deep into yourself and ask this question.

“Church” for the most part gives you the mindset of Martha. Busy little Martha, trying to minister to others, much serving, and even fulfilling her own need to be needed; maybe even fulfilling a desire to be in charge (because she thought Mary should be doing more to help her).

How many of you can remember working your butt off in churches thinking, “Why isn’t everyone else working as hard as me?”

But we see Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus, ministering to Him.

A lot of people write in and ask us what it means or looks like to minister to the Lord. I always picture Mary sitting quietly at Jesus’ feet. She has no other person on her mind or any concerns other than sitting at His feet and listening, talking, sharing, and loving the Lord Jesus while He is right there in front of her.

Did she do this 24/7? No, of course not. Jesus went on with what His Father had Him to do, and Mary went on to do her daily things that needed to be done. But remember that she did take time out to sit at His feet and Jesus said this is what is needed.

So when you start to miss the things you once enjoyed so much in “church”, remember where the Lord has brought you. Do not be like the children of Israel who always complained and wanted to go back to Egypt, thinking you had it better in “church”.

There is a reason and a purpose for bringing you out. Let the Lord guide you in this new walk. Let Him teach you His ways – which are far better then your ways or the church’s ways. And remember that the main lesson is: He will increase and I will decrease. This process is not an easy one but you have to go through it!
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So, if you are One of the Redeemed and you are finding your identity in anyone or anything (products, places, associations, friends, family, work, clothing, music, “church”, religion, knowledge)— anyone or anything at all besides Christ in you—you are in an identity crisis. He is our identity. “Christ, who is our life.” Colossians 3:4.


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