Fear of Identity: “Better yet, without your stuff, who are you?”

I’ll never forget the shock I felt the first time I heard this commercial. I was sitting in the living room at my house, working on something else, when I caught the end of this ad.

“Because what are you without your stuff? Better yet, without your stuff, who are you?”

Then the commercial is over. Do people really feel this way? Is this a reality? I don’t need to use any Scripture whatsoever to support why that is not biblical. If you know God, at ALL, those sentences do a lot of things to your heart. Above all, it should break your heart. I sat in the room in disbelief. I knew, the first time I heard it, that I would never forget it. And I knew that I would write about it. I still plan to write more but I was thinking about it lately and needed to get it out on an informal platform.

At the same time, it is an excellent question, isn’t it? Without your stuff: WHO ARE YOU? If you were stripped of all your stuff, what does that leave? The crazy thing to me is that this is an ad to get you to protect “your stuff”. In other words, that question is aimed to promote fear into you (fear, by the way, is the most effective emotion for marketing your product – strange, isn’t it? Even more than “sexual desire” that we hear works so well). You are supposed to think, “I am nothing without my stuff” or at least “I am not as much without my stuff” as if your stuff somehow makes you a better person or defines you in a new way. It speaks right to the heart of many people in our culture.

Now, many people (see youtube comments for reference) know that sentiment is wrong. Even without God, you know that isn’t healthy. And yet, I bet you this commercial did its job. I bet it scared people.

Why? Why is that where we are? One reason it has taken me so long to write about this topic is because I was left speechless. Without my stuff, I am unchanged. My identity is in Christ. Right? Nothing can steal my identity. Right? Scripture promises that.

So what’s going on in this world? Can Norton Antivirus protect our identity? How would that even make logical sense?

I don’t think Norton Antivirus is evil for doing this though I would say this is playing off a culture’s weakness and fear. But that can just be seen as successful marketing. I cannot see this ad as anything else but a wake-up call, a slap in the face of looking at ourselves and those around us. This ad speaks into our heart. Are we so lost that a computer antivirus software is offering to save our identity?

I pray that God can somehow form the words for me to process through this. This particular blog doesn’t offer any solution. The solution, to me, is simple: to root our identity in Christ. Which is done through so many ways: reading scripture, prayer, being in a community of believers, encouraging others, listening for the Holy Spirit, understanding Scripture and more. That doesn’t solve this planet though.

As Christians, we struggle sometimes with pride and self-righteousness and cannot see how we might misidentify ourselves and put who we are above who God is or who others are. But the people on who this advertisement was intended, what can we do and how can our eyes be opened?

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