Gina Moore

We hear a lot about influencers. A person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media is known as an influencer.

They are the modern-day version of a celebrity stamp of approval. And, yes, they usually get paid for their ability to endorse and influence.

“If so and so wears it, drives it, eats it, does it, buys it, etc., it must be great. After all, he/she is amazing, cool, successful, good looking, smart, talented, rich, etc. So if I have this, maybe people will think I am all that too!”

I’m not very active on the social media platform Instagram, but I’ve noticed it’s full of females with followers seeming to hang on every word, photo and recommendation.

But women have been influencers long before Instagram. Remember the garden of Eden?

I recently heard a podcast about men’s fashion and how smart brands figured out ways to market to women. Interesting, huh?

After all, men are often trying to impress the women in their lives, so naturally they want their approval.

We must be aware that slick professionals market straight to our dreams and insecurities. So let’s think a little more about those early days in the garden. After all, who was the original influencer?

It wasn’t Eve. It was Satan! Sure seems like marketers get a lot of their tricks from him, and apparently they’re still working.

If Adam and Eve, who lived in a literal paradise on Earth, could be persuaded they needed something else, should we be surprised we fall prey to schemes and deceptions?

Like them, we often don’t want to settle for being subordinate to anyone – even God. We have a hard time believing we shouldn’t get our turn as “king of the mountain,” complete with benefits. We want our way, and we want our say.

Yep, Satan knows right where to hit us, when and where we’re weakest or most vulnerable.

So when something slows our scroll, catches our attention and makes us want something, we are wise to consider both who is seductively whispering in our ear and why we even want “it.”

Does it represent what is important to us (and why)? Is it really going to make us better or improve our lives or the lives of those around us? Is it even authentic?

Right up there with marketers are politicians. They too try to appeal to our emotions with their slick campaigns and promises.

I watched a commercial last week that nearly moved me to tears. It was almost over before I even realized it was a campaign ad attempting to infer anyone with a heart must surely vote for their candidate.

Just as we’re wise to consider the source behind any persuasive temptation, we’re wise to peel back the emotional layer and look for substance. Look for the fruits.

Make sure the promotional promise or argument stands up to logic and reason. Read the testimonials. Most importantly, make sure it’s truth, and that may require some digging because truth can sure be hard to find these days!

But being willing to pause to think for ourselves, roll up our sleeves and do our homework rather than falling or settling for what influencers tout as instant gratification or the popular path will result in long-term satisfaction or, as they say, approval ratings. Consider where the voice we hear wants to lead us. Is that a destination we desire?

If we’re depressed, anxious, cynical or bitter, or if we sense a drag on our faith life, we can suspect we are on the influencer’s hook. Satan’s trying to reel us in.

But duped doesn’t have to mean doomed. We can cut bait and swim away, determined not to be fooled by that lure again.

But as we saw in the garden, humans are quick to blame others, make excuses and hide rather than admit the truth. Truth is, we are selfish and prideful. Wanting to be large and in charge dooms us.

Sin broke Adam and Eve’s close relationship with God. And it has broken ours.

But God loved us so much he sent Jesus Christ, his only son, to open the way for renewed fellowship. When we believe Jesus gave his life for us – sinners - we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit yearns to show us the way – to be our influencer. We may listen for his direction and obediently follow. While this may not always feel like an instantly gratifying path, rest assured it’s a peace-filled relief to follow as he guides us toward paradise once again.

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.” - Galatians 5:16-18

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” - Galatians 6:7-9

Gina Moore, a news-editorial journalism major, has operated Marketplace Consignment Sale for 26 years and has worked part-time at Treasures. She also enjoys country cooking, reading and writing about motherhood, life on the farm and how God’s love and lessons surround residents.