Technology. It’s everywhere. Chances are you’re within 5 feet of 3 things that connect to the internet. It’s amazing. And it’s also a pretty new thing despite how saturated our world is with it all. Having an online presence was a foreign concept just 20 years ago. Social media didn’t fully exist until the 21st Century.
So why is it so hard to unplug from it all? Why does it seem inconceivable that you wouldn’t have a cellphone or be on Facebook? And what does God think of all of this? How do we know what Scripture says about technology when there wasn’t even electricity when Jesus was alive? How do you cope with being overwhelmed by technology?
I have the iPhone 5s, a kindle fire, an iPod touch, an iPod 3rd gen (I like the size,) a desktop mac, Xbox original, Xbox slim with Kinnect, and an Xbox one, and I’m window shopping for a laptop. 15 years ago I had a Tamagotchi. Look it up.
The world has experienced some drastic changes since 1999 and it shows no signs of slowing down. Technology and its accessibility have skyrocketed in the last decade and a half.
Technology is amazing. It’s fantastic! It’s imaginative and useful and has created so many amazing opportunities for the entire world! At the same time, tech has become indispensable for many people and the thought of living without can be terrifying! It tells us where to go and how to dress and what to eat and connects us with people and helps us make decisions or find out information. It’s completely integrated into our daily lives. In fact, if you watch tv shows from before 2000, half the episodes would be resolved in 2 minutes with the use of a cellphone!
Nowadays, people have gotten so immersed in social media that a large part of our “existence” happens online. You create a presence for yourself (or even multiple presences with different aliases/handles) and you put parts of yourself out there for the whole world to see. We literally live our lives online.
So what does that mean for Christians? How are we called by God to respond to a world saturated by media and technology?
A major part of that is learning to be honest about what being online is like. We tell ourselves we are just talking or looking. We think if we don’t repost it that looking at it doesn’t count. We tell ourselves that cursing and belittling others and their ideas is ok to do since we are just using words not fists. We act like nothing that happens online is ever going to cross into real life and actually affect us.
But the truth is that the brokenness of the world exists just as much in binary code as it does in reality. We are selfish and arrogant people, and in our brokenness we take every new creation and twist it for sinful purposes. It is in our nature to be perverted, lecherous, demeaning, self-righteous, vain, greedy, and so much more! As followers of Christ, we are called to fight against our nature and experience the transformation by God into a new being that is pure and true.
Yet, we get in our own way so often with the use of technology. We hide behind the anonymity of online and think that no one knows what we do in private. God sees it all. And so, we have a struggle in front of us – a struggle no other generation on earth has had before. We have to decide how we are going to face the overwhelming amount of media and technology we encounter every single day. Will we fully put aside our selfish nature and strive to serve God with joy and wild abandon? This wonderful, creative, infinitely evolving broken world of ours needs us to shine out into the darkness and be living witnesses to Christ’s love in every area of our life!
In today’s world where your Facebook friends and twitter followers are counted and much of social media is geared toward self-promotion or self-indulgence, it can be so easy to become self-centered. We twist wonderful tools for connecting with people and discovering new things into parades of our accomplishments and mini temples to our beauty and brains. In this Scripture passage, Jesus gives us some insight on humility and selflessness. As you read, consider how you have interacted with others online in the past week and ask yourself if you actively live to serve God or yourself.
Watch what happens as Jesus explains that most of us miss out on what God has planned for us because our priorities are messed up. Don’t miss out on God’s purpose for you because you are too consumed by the things of this world!
Almighty God, you are the Creator of all things. Nothing can overwhelm me when you are with me. Give me courage, Father. Help me to have wisdom when I am online. Infuse my spirit with humility and generosity. I want others to know you by my words. I want to shine as a light for you. Sometimes it can be so hard, but, even then, I know you are there with me. When I am stubborn and my heart hardens toward you, please help me to lay myself open at your feet. I know that acknowledging you as Lord and being obedient to you will bring me true joy and fulfillment. Thank you, Father! In Your Holy Name, Amen.
Each day this week go here: http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Good-News-Translation-GNT-Bible/#books
Pick any chapter from the book of Proverbs and print it out. Read through and as you go, circle the parts that stand out to you as helpful advice for dealing with this tech-saturated world. Look for advice on how to be kind to others, how to know what’s important in life, knowing when something is selfish or sinful rather than God-honoring, how to deal with bad people, and more! I guarantee you there will be some helpful advice for how to live a life for God full of joy and fulfillment!
Check out this quiz and find out how tech savvy you are! (although ignore the prompt to brag about yourself please; that’s exactly the sort of worldly habits we need to quit!)
Job 28:28 - If you’re wondering how to navigate those tough situations, this verse is a big neon arrow pointing the way!
Proverbs 15:3 - What you do is not a secret. God knows it all.
2 Corinthians 4:18 - Don’t get caught up in the lie that only fame, wealth, and beauty matter. God intends so much more for you!
2 Corinthians 5:16-18 - The old is gone, be excited with this new life God has given you!
This is a fantastic expressive poem about technology in our lives and the importance of taking a step back to truly connect with those around you. Enjoy!
Perhaps for the first time you are beginning to realize how compromised your faith has become. If you have been overwhelmed by the social media and the instant gratification offered online and you have been living a life that is self-serving, read through Psalm 51:10-13. If it describes your heart’s desire to pursue a life devoted to God rather than this broken world, I would encourage you to use it as a prayer. Talk with Jesus about his love for you. Listen to what he tells you. God adores you and will transform you if you give your life to him.
Create a pure heart in me, O God,
and put a new and loyal spirit in me.
Do not banish me from your presence;
do not take your holy spirit away from me.
Give me again the joy that comes from your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
Then I will teach sinners your commands,
and they will turn back to you.
This clip from Over the Hedge might be a good representation of how some of you feel about being online. Just try getting 3 days behind on twitter and trying to catch up – “It never ends! It never ends that way too!”