The Internet and smart phones are technologically amazing, but what are some of the risks for believers from all this technology?
Face in the Book
I do not spend much time on Facebook, and of all the social medias there are, that’s about it for me, but because of what I do for a living, I must spend a lot of time in “the book,” or the Bible, but from the number of posts I see some people make on one day, I fear they spend more time on Facebook than having their face in “the book.” That’s going to lead to spiritual poverty, and whatever is not growing, is dying, just like in nature. If we ever took an inventory of our time, and not counting work or meeting family needs, we might be shocked at how much time we spend away from prayer and away from the Bible. Reading or posting daily devotionals, such as this one, is no substitute for daily reading of the Word.
No Face to Face
When we are busy keeping in touch with everyone by texting, messaging, or by other means, we are not spending time face to face with them. It would be like a man who was constantly writing letters to his girlfriend and spending hours upon hours writing elaborate letters, but since he never sees her much face to face, she ends up marrying the mail carrier. We can almost become addicted to it. For me, reading the Bible is addictive, but that’s good, because God sent all of us 66 love letters, but if we’re too busying communicating with everyone else but God, then we’re not being face to face before God, not to mention the other brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s good to keep in touch with family and friends, but it’s supremely more important to keep in touch with God in prayer and in the reading and study of His Word. Do you spend more time on Facebook than time in the “book?” That’s a question I must also ask myself.
Posts You’ll Regret
Have you ever said anything that you regretted? I know I have…several times, but we can also post things on the Internet that we might regret. One site I went to had Christians arguing with one another. One was a Calvinist and they were arguing with those who believe in free will, and I finally withdrew from the conversation because they were going back and forth, and it was becoming an argument and so I wanted nothing to do with that. Besides that, it looks bad when Christians argue with one another over doctrine. They don’t agree to disagree and so they become disagreeable. I think that’s a lose-lose situation. No one wins and people who are not Christians say, “See, Christians can’t even get along with one another…so I want nothing to do with them.” It does hurt our witness when unbelievers see Christians arguing with one another, so don’t post anything you might regret. Yes, you can delete it, but it’s not possible to take words back once they’re out of our mouth or once they’ve been posted publically.
When we are so connected to social media and only text or message one another, we are still having a relationship, but it’s nothing like real fellowship where you’re rubbing elbows with believer’s in service, Bible study, Sunday school, or other times where the members come together to learn or to serve, not only serve one another, but to serve others outside the four walls of the church (Matt 25:35-36). You can’t do that through texting or posting or pinning. It’s easy to keep in touch with one another today, but it’s getting harder to serve one another since we’re becoming physical detached. There is no virtual fellowship like that of being face to face with believers. It’s something we just can’t simulate or create on a webpage or on a Facebook page. It’s just not the same as being there with the brothers and sisters in Christ and rejoicing together, worshiping together, singing together, and encouraging one another. There are over 50 “one another’s” in the Bible, so this tells me that we need one another. Christianity is not a solo act, and even Tonto had the Lone Ranger, so don’t allow virtual fellowship to replace an actual physical worship, where the Body of Christ joins together and does what Jesus commands them to do. It’s hard for one person to visit the sick, make strangers feel welcome, visit those in prison, help the poor, and other things that Christ commands (Matt 25:35-36). The Body has many members, and one member of Jesus’ body cannot do what the entire body can do. We cannot replace corporate worship with virtual reality, so “if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another” (Gal 5:15), so by all means, “Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” (Gal 5:26).
We have hundreds of people who follow our church services on the Internet, but these recorded services are not the same thing as being at a worship service in person, and they cannot take the place of your worshiping with God in your own church. The Bible tells us to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb 10:24-25). We can either encourage one another or discourage one another, and we know what God desires for us. James writes, “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16), so even though there are many members in the Body, “there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another” (1st Cor 12:25), so we must “comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2nd Cor 13:11).
May God richly bless you
Pastor Jack Wellman
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