My annoyance began last year when every car dealership advertising on television proclaimed their President’s Day sale was all about family values.
This year, I heard another ad where the actor said he was living his best life because of the product. I honestly can’t remember what the wonder product was, but it was something as mundane as toothpaste.
Are family values really about the best car deal?
Is living our best life really centered around whiter teeth?
I used to write radio copy for a living. It was my job to convince listeners their life wouldn’t be complete without whatever service or product the client was selling. So I understand persuasive writing. I’ve been guilty of it many times.
But as a consumer, more importantly as a Christian consumer, am I buying the lie?
What are family values?
Dictionary.com defines family values as: the moral and ethical principles traditionally upheld and transmitted within a family as honesty, loyalty, industry, and faith.
Do you want to make a sound car purchase? Do you want the best deal? Does that have anything whatsoever to do with being honest, loyal, hardworking or faithful?
Merriam-Webster puts it this way: values especially of a traditional or conservative kind which are held to promote the sound functioning of the family and to strengthen the fabric of society.
Go figure. No mention of SUVs, crossovers, sedans or sports cars.
And what does it look like to live your best life? Travel? Money? Fame? Whiter teeth? Thinner thighs?
We’re all guilty of trying to show each other on good ‘ol Facebook what living our best life looks like. Perfect family pictures. Selfies taken at just the right angles to hide all the flaws. Achievements and awards. Flowers and loving gestures from that special someone. Tanned beach bodies. Fancy gourmet meals.
I don’t begrudge anyone those good things. For certain, I’ve posted my share of adorable grandchild pictures and videos. I’ve looked for the best (or the least offensive) picture of myself to post. I’ve shared achievements and accomplishments. I’m a liker of “likes.”
Are any of those fleeting, shallow things my BEST life?
Jesus said living our best life means living it to the fullest. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10(NIV)
So what is having life to the full if it’s not filled with seemingly good, but temporal things?
It’s having peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7) even in the hard times.
It’s receiving exceedingly, abundantly more than you can ask [for] or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20-21) when your hands appear empty.
It’s knowing there’s a room prepared for you in the presence of Jesus (John 14:2-3) when you have no place on earth to call home.
Living life to the full means holding on to God’s promises in joyful expectation. It’s being assured of who you are and whose you are. It’s living on this earth with heaven in your heart.
Psalm 16:11 (ESV) reminds us “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
So by all means, brush your teeth.
But never believe sporting those pearly whites, even in your brand new SUV, is your best life.
Knowing Jesus in a personal way is the only thing that makes this life truly full.