Sanctification in the Digital Age

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, June 15, 2021 0 comments

by Eric Hansen

Writing about being a Godly person can be tough, especially when you find yourself getting heavily distracted by the facts of life. These days between working from home, having a family, and trying to tend to the various duties we place on ourselves, one more distraction may not seem like a lot, but it could very well be the tipping point. This is what I experienced for most of 2020 and even all of 2021, until June.

We definitely need to find ways to take a step back, breathe, and remember that the only things we are granted are moments, not days, weeks, or years. Even as I write this, if it’s in God’s will that I no longer live after typing the next character, then my life bows down to His will. So then what is more important to me, serving God or worldly matters?

Biblical Christians will say “serving God,” and they are definitely not wrong. But how often do we find ourselves actually doing this? Throughout this month, even though at the time of writing this it’s only been a week or so, I’ve been trying to not only wake up more productive but more spiritually filled. The only way to be spiritually filled is to spend time with God, in His word and through prayer. However, this morning I woke up and scrolled through my phone for a half hour, then went and did dishes, then hopped on my computer to see why various news sites were down. This is the routine I often find myself falling into, whether I’m looking at Facebook, my email, some news feeds, etc.; it replaces time with God.

But, the Spirit will also convict you with a slap to the face if He has to. It’s not as though I have done this to spite God yet still call myself a Christian; I just have a really bad routine. While I was on my computer, the Spirit just suddenly hit me with the truth of, “So, this is how you’re going to spend time with God? By ignoring Him?”

The Spirit wasn’t wrong. I was ignoring God even though I got on the computer thinking, “I’m just going to see what’s up with this and then read the Bible.” But if I’m being honest, that wouldn’t have been how it played out. Instead, I would have sat there, watched YouTube, and then got into my work for the day. If this was before June, then throw in Facebook too, containing countless, and what can be considered fruitless, debates on there.

Essentially, we need to come to terms with what is valuable in our lives and what is noise. For me, after a hard retrospection of when I am and am not productive, I realized being on tools like Facebook are not fruitful ventures for me. While it does have some merit, my personal conviction is that relationships need to be personable not textual. People are much more bold and brash online than they are in person, more often than not. They are also far less likely to have an earnest conversation about faith and God. The monologue that happens is not productive in my opinion, and it only fosters anger and frustration. Knowing that the person on the other end needs Christ in their lives, but waiting for them to decide to respond back to you in the middle of the night, I highly doubt is what Christ had in mind when He said go out into the world and proclaim the gospel.

For me, this meant to step away from Facebook. This also removed me from keeping in contact with various people, but when I thought about it, I couldn’t remember the last time I had a truly honest conversation with almost all of them, even those I call brothers in Christ, old pastors, family, etc. Now, I’m not sitting here inferring any negativity towards them as we all have our own lives to live. But, the purpose of things like Facebook was to keep in contact with people, and all it was doing was fostering stress, anxiety, and discontent for me. It was taking me away from spending time with the One who truly loves me and wants to see me to my fullest potential, and instead focusing just as intently on people who have my number but won’t call or text.

In removing yourself from one thing, you will miss out on things going on, for sure. My own ministry’s Facebook page has a few followers and I don’t really want to see that go away. But, at the same time, we can only serve 1 master, and I’d rather my master be God not man. People are quick to tell you that you’re wrong, but yet they won’t guide you to show you the truth. It’s no different then than casting your pearls to the swine (Matthew 7:6).

I’ll leave this entry with one last thought on why stepping away from things may benefit you more than not. While I still struggle at times with being with God instead of doing “me” things, I do find it easier. I didn’t tell the Spirit, “One minute...” but instead thought about the fact I just had that experience for a second, then went straight to my Bible and finished reading Nehemiah. I’ve also started learning biblical Greek, which had been an interest of mine since I started believing in God. It’s also been helping me with my Korean studies as well, as I believe God is calling me to serve there in some capacity. But most importantly, I’ve begun to also really reflect on whether things I do, say, and think are truly of a character of God or not. I’m learning to say no to things far more, and I’m accepting that even though I really want to do things like crochet, right now it’s either I do that or spend time with God.

Are there any areas in your life where you feel you could dedicate more energy towards spending time with the Father? If you instead scoff or say no to this, then consider whether it be waking up 5 minutes earlier, or perhaps bringing someone into worship with you. You don’t have to go as far as to remove yourself from the Internet; tools like Facebook and Twitter are vastly important to also serve Jesus’s calling of sharing the gospel to the ends of the earth. We can have leisure; God blessed us with the sabbath after all. I’m also not saying you have to go learn a new language to devote yourself to Christ. However, as we are to do all things for the Lord, in what ways are what you do, say, and think fulfilling the love of Christ instead of man?

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