[This article first appeared as a guest post at Kim Kirby’s Kingdom Civics last February. I thought it fit well for Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days in America.]
Everyone wants to be wanted, right? We hear this all the time. But there are times when the reality of being wanted isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Forbes recently ran an article about some freakily accurate target marketing at – where else – Target. Based on your shopping habits, the store will send advertisements and coupons that – with reasonable accuracy – fit your lifestyle. How accurate? They do such a good job of identifying pregnant mothers, they can get right down to the trimester the mothers are in and the month their babies are due.
The store’s statisticians and marketing team have also discovered that mothers don’t like to feel spied on. Mailing a catalog filled with baby items to the home before the mother has told Target of the pregnancy tends to freak her out. (You think mothers never tell Target they’re pregnant? What’s that baby registry all about, then?)
So Target decided to hide the ball; the catalogs still have all the baby items, but they are alongside unrelated marketing pitches such as lawn mowers. A target employee was quoted saying, “we found out that as long as a pregnant woman thinks she hasn’t been spied on, she’ll use the coupons.” Hmm. “Thinks she hasn’t been spied on.” Who’s wild about being wanted now?
Of course, being wanted, even being targeted, isn’t so bad if it works out well for us. But it’s not always profitable in the end.
A Prowling Lion
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8.) I’ve read that verse a number of times over the years, but this news article has given me new insight to its meaning.
Satan sees us. He watches our actions, discerns our habits, and designs temptations for us. He targets us. He sends us spiritual ads and coupons for discounted ways to please him. He likes nothing more than to steal a shopper away from the storehouse of spiritual gifts our heavenly Father has for us. Satan knows his targets well.
How does Satan target you? Consider what he sees you do with your time, your money, your family and friends. You may be doing things that are perfectly all right in and of themselves, but that doesn’t mean Satan is not taking note to see if there is a way to draw you into temptation and ultimately sin. After all, he “prowls around … looking for someone to devour.” He’s looking for it!
What hope do we have against such a powerful adversary? How can we escape his schemes? How do we keep from becoming his targets? Well Satan may be a prowling lion, but that does not mean that he is the most powerful cat in the jungle.
The Triumphal Lion
“Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.” (Revelation 5:5.) Who is this Lion? It’s Jesus, the triumphal Lion of the Book of Revelation. And he does some targeting of his own:
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:14-16.)
Jesus knows his sheep, his people. He knows our habits, what we do with our money, time, family and friends, and frankly he targets us despite those things. In fact, according to Paul, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8.)
You see, it’s not our habits that attract God’s attention to us but rather his own love for us – it’s his very nature – that drives his desire for us. That is the targeted ad he sends our way. And his offer is immeasurably more valuable and eternally better than Satan’s:
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30.)
Jesus promises that once his, he will never let you go. We are his target. So what can we say now about wanting to be wanted? When you are Jesus’ target, it’s a good thing.
And he hits his target every time.