CLICKBAIT: something (such as a headline or an image) designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink, especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest (Merriam- Webster Dictionary).
SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE: A subliminal message is a technique used in marketing and other media to influence people without their awareness of what the messenger is doing. (Merriam- Webster Dictionary).
Click-baiting and subliminal messaging focus on the inner desire of people to look or feel better. One method lures people online to look at or contemplate something they probably would not have considered searching. While the second, subliminal messaging, is a marketing method used to hide messages within the message. It is all around us, on TV, in movies, music, on billboards, and in newspapers and magazines. Both practices target our emotions, vanity and even our status within society, suggesting more is available if you consider what they offer.
We have all been subject to these alluring methods, whether online or offline, and have been enticed to do something because of what has been planted in our minds. We may not want to acknowledge this loss of self-control, but sometime in our life, we have fallen prey.
We were created to be in harmony with ourselves and others without concern for appearance or other pride-driven immoralities. In the beginning, we were created in the image of God with love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control infused in our being (fruit of the Spirit). However, we were given a choice to live under God’s authority depending on Him for our well-being or choose our own path. Scripture records humanity’s first opportunity to exercise self-control. We chose Satan’s subliminal messaging and clickbait to engage in the only activity God forbade. Interestingly scripture identifies a present-day marketing tactic when describing Eve’s final reasoning for choosing the forbidden fruit. The product looked good, tasted good and would improve her standing. “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.” (Genesis 3:6).
When pride is at the forefront of our self-worth, we do what we can to maintain the image we created of ourselves. We may follow Adam and Eve’s example of blaming others for our lack of self-confidence. Sometimes we do not see the consequences of falling for these enticements until our credit card statements arrive or the item we clicked offers depraved imagery or tries to take control of our computer. We may fall victim to a scam where our identity is hijacked, potentially affecting our livelihood and mental health. Once Adam bit the fruit, he and Eve saw the results of not trusting God. Their nakedness caused them to focus on themselves, and they tried to cover up who they were.
Our culture screams “be more” or even “be someone else” without care for moral, mental or eternal consequences. It seeks to bait us into considering self-reliance, luring us to ignore God’s grace and goodness. But the good news is that believers have been given powerful aides to help them fight the forces that want to turn us away from God, specifically the Holy Spirit and the armour of God (Eph 6:10-18). It is always a good time to suit up and take back our focus. Turn your eyes to the One who created us in His image and accept what He offers.