Pressure Seems To Be A Normal State Of Modern Life
We experience it from all sides. The Bible addresses all these pressures – family life, our jobs, societal issues, government – but we might think there is a pressure beyond the word of God. “It’s just too new,” many would say. It’s a pressure modern man has created and even maintained for himself. What is this pressure?
Social Media… It has become more and more a part of everyday life. We blog, text, update our timelines on Facebook, Linkedin, Google +, and tweet on twitter. Then there’s Tumblr and Pinterest. The list goes on and on and on… it seems endless.
The other day I saw a couple I knew sitting in a restaurant. They were both on their smart phones. I walked up, said hello, and asked them if they were having a busy day. Their response shocked me. They were sitting at the same table texting each other on their phones! Really! And that got me thinking about my own experience with the technology of Social Media.
I do want to say that the modern world of technology has some amazing benefits. It has made the world a tiny place. In the last week or so I’ve communicated directly with people from all over the world. But, there are some things about Social Media we need to consider.
If you haven’t updated your timeline or tweeted your latest tweet, do you feel behind in some social obligation? Are you pressured to stay current or in touch? Many of us would say absolutely yes.
Let’s look at a principle from God’s word. Yes, Social Media is addressed in the Bible. That’s one of the wonders of the living scripture… it’s never outdated or behind the latest trends. In the following verses, written by the wise and noble King Solomon, I’ve taken the words “many books” and “books” and substituted the words “much social media” and “social media.” Let’s think about how it reads…
The Teacher sought to find just the right words to express truths clearly. The words of the wise are like cattle prods—painful but helpful. Their collected sayings are like a nail-studded stick with which a shepherd drives the sheep. But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing [much social media] is endless, and much [social media] wears you out. Ecclesiastes 12:10–12 (NLT)
Clearly and specifically these verses carry a warning. In the New American Standard we see an emphatic “be warned” right in the text. God is telling us to be careful – Careful in our “writing of much social media” and careful in an “excessive devotion” to it. In answer to God’s command I have to ask myself if I approach the plugged-in, inter-connected, always “on” world of technology with thoughtful consideration.
In spite of all its benefits, social media can be a time sponge that sucks our lives away and inhibits important actual human contact. I post, I tweet, I share, I friend, I follow, all from my various tech devices. But am I also meeting people, talking with them, sharing my time with family and friends? Even more importantly do I spend as much time with God as I do surfing the web? Really?!
The world will provide Texting on I-phones, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Blogs, Web surfing, YouTube, plus plus plus plus…. A seeming unending supply of sponges… sucking up our time. That’s what the world does. Let’s look together at what God says in the next two verses in Ecclesiastes.
The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13–14 (NASB95)
Think about this my friends. If the NSA can keep track of your electronic communication just think what God can follow. The government might collect so much mega-data that it could never search through it all. But God is totally capable of keeping track, accounting for, and making us answerable to Him for the time we spend on all our Social Media. Just as it says in verse 14, nothing is hidden from God’s sight.
I’m not saying we should do away with our tech devices or stop all Social Media activities. I am saying you should think about your use of time and make sure you allocate enough…
Time with yourself… meditation; Time with God… confession, private worship, prayer; Time with family … not just the kids but with your spouse – not watching TV but a walk and talk… or playing without a screen involved; Time with friends… fellowship and ministry; Time with church… broader fellowship and ministry; Time with strangers… like talking with waiters and waitresses, service people, postal carriers, anyone crossing our path on a regular basis. Yes, and time with Social Media. I use it as a ministry tool (like this blog)… But, I fight the temptation to allow it to dominate my time. I will not be “devoted” to Social Media.”
Suggestions For Keeping Our Tech In Check
Try completely unplugging for a day…. Call it a Social Media fast. Try unplugging for 2 days a week… Can you do it? Take Social Media-free weekends, or entire vacations without any social media! You might actually have to talk – get to know others, maybe even get to know yourself, and definitely get to know God much better.
Think about it.