“I have to fix the internet!” This is a slapstick phrase I have heard many times in my own home and abroad when dealing with the idea that someone is wrong online and “I” or someone else, must make sure they know it and make it right. While there is something innately heroic about such things, it really comes down to being an opinion police or worse, trying to be the God of the world. Before I move on let me say that I use social media, I blog at times and I enjoy the occasional debate within my social sphere. Through it all, we believers are bound by power to do all things for the glory of Christ and to be humble, concerned and affectionate toward all people, even those who disagree.
While I desire to make everything right (in contradiction to this very article) in many areas, I understand that I have to just place what is on my heart in simple and succinct ways and that if I ever desire to do a Ph.D. in “Corrective Rightness” then I may need to fully disclose every angle of possible issues, outcomes and arguments from these points, but today, let’s just think about a few things.
For the most part, I think that at times we fail to see that we have an addiction to social things. We love to “check” our email, get a text, see our Facebook posts, count the likes, the shares, the comments and the number of “friends” we have. We enjoy seeing who cares, who sneers and who jeers at us along with the overwhelming desire to have our cronies back us up and begin to fight for us. In the end, we need to realize just what kind of evil idolatry rests at the root of such desires. We are selfish and want to be the center of things. Even when we are in good intentions, sometimes we are elated when something “blows up” online. We love it, we get up and go to bed with it on our minds and when this is true for us, we need to realize we have a true addiction.
This one is easy to see. We really think we have the answer and we really think that our thoughts and comments are what is going to set the record straight. Well remember “pride comes before the fall.” So, before we jump in to something that wasn’t even said to us or for us, let’s consider if we think more highly of ourselves than we should.
Money or course would come to mind with this word, but in this issue I think it’s more of a time management issue. Everyone I know is busy. They don’t have time to meet, talk, pray, study, serve, share their faith, spend time with their kids, work on their marriage, get in shape, learn a new trade, help their neighbor or just get the right amount of sleep; but they ALL have ample HOURS to update, comment, post, ping, tweet, insta”slam” and everything else. Who are we kidding? We have plenty of time, we just love wasting it on so-called “important” issues. Get real. Nuff said.
This is redundant from the “ego” area, but it has a more theological and spiritual implication. We must guard ourselves from seeking glory as the “winner” or the “warrior” and realize that what Christ has given through the Spirit is a humble and quiet resolve. A spirit of desiring truth without causing more problems. This is seen mainly in the “multi-faceted” areas of expertise that everyone seems to hold online and in truth, none of use are actually thinking rightly when we seek glory.
When it’s all said and done let’s ask ourselves, “What am I leaving behind?” Will it be honoring to me, my family, my community and my Lord? Will the battle reveal the power of God or something else? Am I spending my attention on things that are godless and counterproductive to my calling and my adoption as a child of God? If things like this don’t stop, there could be catastrophic outcomes:
- Depression. Yes, a continued desire to be the light of the internet world and shine on every problem from here to Helena will cause a deep emotional dissatisfaction that concludes in a depressed and broken mind and heart. But that’s what happens when we put our lives away for the sake of darkness instead of light.
- Division. How many “friends” are lost through silly and non-vital foolishness? Taking things wrongly and assuming the worst is not the fruit of God, but the fruitless work of darkness.
- Darkness. People will type things they would never say in public. There is something really wicked about this and for many, it changes their temperament and in some cases, proves them unbelievers.
- Delusion. Seeing what is not there to be seen and making one’s own mind dull because the gospel is not central and without glorious food, we all die.
- Death. The wages of sin is death. Sin and temptation is not just the sinful actions of debauchery, but the subtle attitudes of delight that we get when we engage to “correct” everything.
OK, please do not hear what I am not saying. There are times to correct, point out and make known darkness. Paul teaches us this in several places (Eph 5, Titus etc.) but he also teaches that it is the work and guiding of those who are spiritual for the sake of the safety and sanctity of the body of Christ. God is not in need of a defender and the purpose of these thoughts are for reflection not aggravation.
Now let’s settle our hearts and minds and follow some clear and practical things that will help us in our never-ending battle against the never-ending battle against the never-ending battle against …. you get the point.
- Pray that God will show us the way that is light and true and honorable.
- Be settled when something disagrees with us online and let it go.
- When we have to engage, be sure it is only because we know and love the person involved and we do it PRIVATELY.
- Block things and people who continue to cause division or derail our joy.
- Delete the medium that causes us sin; such as Facebook or Twitter. We don’t need them anyway.
This scripture preaches itself, so I have no need to explain it. Print it out, put it on your desk, make it your header, tattoo it on your hands and most surely your heart and you will have peace.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9 ESV)
For His Glory by His Grace,
Pastor James H. Tippins