A Warning and Advice for Navigating the Digital World
As I browse social media, I am more often confronted with what people want to be true than what is actually true. This is the allure and danger that we are facing as more and more of us spend an increasing amount of time online. We lack social interaction so we long for some type of digital interaction. The danger I have seen for Christians is the opportunity to highlight and share the beauty of the gospel message is quickly drowned out by a sounding board of our anger, frustrations, and opinions about what we like or don’t like about everything coronavirus. As we continue to navigate these times I encourage you to consider a few things…
Recognize Your Post-Truth Perspective
Post-Truth: relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief
As we browse the internet and social media, what catches our attention and likely gets our shares or reposts are those stories that appeal to our emotion or support our personal belief. We have been conditioned to push truth to the background in exchange for what feels good and right to us. We feel validated by sharing what we believe is the right point of view, which is often void of biblical truth in content and biblical character in attitude.
We must exercise diligence and caution when it comes to what we read, share, and support. Your influence, reputation, and ultimately your representation of Christ are at stake.
Be Drawn to Jesus Not Persuaded to a Side
When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” And the commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. - Joshua 5:13-15
We long to find answers in the midst of the unknown and many people are competing to persuade us with their answers. Doctors, researchers, world leaders, and more are making claims and selling theories. It is tempting to research and pick a side and find our team that we can identify with.
It is easy for ourselves to end up in a place like Joshua, drawing battle lines and figuring out how to win against your opponent. We are drawn to a place of trying to convince ourselves that God would obviously join our side of this battle. We can easily become blind to the fact that we have shifted our allegiance from God Almighty to a leader or theory that is only temporary. In the midst of all the media, news, and stories that tickle our ears, we must be weary of shifting our allegiance away from God. He doesn’t join our side, we join His!
Recognize How Entitled You Have Become
The coronavirus pandemic has allowed us to experience a mild version of what most believers throughout history have known in a much fuller form. We are now restricted, strongly encouraged and sometimes forced to do things we do not want to do and we do not like it. Entitlement has grown slowly and subtly which has fueled our pride that won’t let us confess it. We kick, scream, and rant on social media about any infringement on our rights and freedoms. This is not a valiant act, it is a childish one.
I think of the meekness of Jesus who was mocked, spit on, falsely accused, and brutally killed. Meekness, real strength does not respond or react out of anger, frustration, and fear. I think of people who have been tortured, enslaved, exiled, and persecuted. They placed the calling and mission of God above their rights. They were willing to surrender everything for the glory of God. I think of many believers around the world who have no worldly freedoms but experience the beauty of freedom in Christ.
This root of entitlement in our lives puts the focus on our wants and desires. It hinders us from loving, serving, and encouraging others. It fights for comfort and selfishness. We must recognize this in our lives and repent. We must humble ourselves before the LORD.
When you squeeze the ketchup bottle, ketchup comes out. This pandemic is squeezing us and we must not ignore what is coming out. Fear, anger, entitlement, pride, selfishness and a variety of other things could be brought to the surface during this time. What flows out of our heart is going to be revealed through these type of trials. We have an opportunity to grow, be refined, take inventory, and mature. The question is what will we do?
Our heart as pastors is to walk with you through this time and lead you into maturity in Christ as we seek to do the same thing ourselves. We love you and are praying for you!
Travis & the Pastors @ The Branch Church.