Steadfast Souls in An Age of Screens
Have you noticed that social media has been a little, shall we say, crazy lately?
A simple scroll through reveals conspiracy theories, racial tensions, accusations, public shaming, hashtag activism, political wars that change 24/7. We’re up to our ears in a constant tide of man’s philosophy and worldly reactions and we’re being conditioned to react to the incessant flow rather than to reason using wisdom, listening, and prayer.
I don’t think our souls were made to carry a world’s worth of breaking new. It’s not healthy or normal. It’s not making us more loving, peaceful, or empathetic.
And since that tiny screen you hold in your hand is inherently amoral, a mere reflection of the stream of consciousness of its respective users, I’d say that we as Christians need to be extra-super-careful right now and reflect.
In an age of outrage and information saturation, we need the stability of the Word of God.
So, how do we guard our hearts to run the Christian race unentangled in an age of fear and outrage? How will we shine God’s love to a lost world undistracted?
We need to switch off our tiny screens and open up that Bible to see what God has to say about how we are to live.
No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 2 Tim 2:4
How can we walk by the Holy Spirit and not the latest mob outrage?
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Gal. 5:16
We need to be steadfast, friends.
That means walking resolutely. Nose in the Book. Unwavering attention to the call and will of Christ. Write it down. Meditate on it. Don’t forget it. Live it.
Our marching orders are clear. We are to commanded to
“love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37
People need to see this more than they need to see a witty comeback on social media. We need to be known by a love that drives us.
I think we should do some self-refection and ask how we are doing.
1.Do we mirror the values and mindset of this culture? Are we angry, fearful, distraught, distracted? Or do we have the mind of Christ
2. Are we redeemed? Do we possess genuine faith? If so, how do we know? How do others know?
3. Do we have an abiding peace and active love for God that is seen and displayed by our obedience to His word?
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Col. 3:15Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. Ps. 119:165
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:6,7
4. Are we at rest in the middle of the world’s storms? Do we believe that God is sovereign over all the affairs of our lives and does that knowledge bring peace in our everyday walk.
5. Is our online walk reflecting the priorities of loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, strength? Are our posts loving our neighbor as we love ourselves?
6. Are we double minded?
During times of trouble, we are instructed to seek wisdom in faith. (James 1:6) because when you are in the faith, you ask in faith because you know the character of the One to whom you pray. Nothing wavering. Because the person who is wavering is like the wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed.
Have you been to the ocean lately?
On the Cape we have a beach called Nausett, a dangerous beach at high tide because you can barely stand in the breakers. Like, it-will-pull-your-kids-out-to-sea dangerous, and that will be that. We use extreme caution at this beach because being tossed and turned by the waves means you are at the mercy and control of another force more powerful than yourself. You are just along for the ride.
That’s what double-mindedness and instability do for our inner life. Back and forth, trust God, fear the virus. Trust God, fear the government. Love God, live for self. Love God, blame our neighbor. Trust God, revolt against the mask ordinance. It’s crazy exhausting, isn’t it?
Eph 4 tells us that instability is our Christian walk is not a good thing, and that it’s actually a mark of spiritual immaturity.
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
And Isaiah 57:20 says that the
“wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.”
It’s like the inside of a washing machine, churning and never resting.
Why does this matter?
It matters because we cannot receive wisdom from the Lord for our everyday lives if we are vacillating between trusting self and trusting God.
The government is not in control. A virus is not in control. The enemy is not in control. God is in control of everything. Period. Full stop.
I want to encourage you to ask whether your trust in God has lead to inner peace in the middle of storms. Are you modeling reliance on God to your kids? Or do they see a mother who is freaking out with every breaking news cycle?
You don’t have to love the storm. But you have to know that this life is not all there is and that our aim and end game is eternity in heaven with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and nothing, nothing, not even death can take that from us.
Friends, screens promise to be the gateway to all good things: liberation, knowledge, control. And while they do allow us to be connected and share our hearts and find many encouraging people and good things, they can also bring bondage so quickly, and we have to be aware of that because there is a cost to our hearts, minds, and souls. (Can we also just talk about the fact that everything we share under the guise of being authentic is being culled, tracked, and and used to market to us and probably worse? Mkay. Thanks for coming to my TedTalk.)
Our souls weren’t meant to feed on curated news and opinions for hours a day. If it’s not making you holier, it’s harming you whether you see the affects immediately or not.
I know that this sinful world is going to act like a sinful world. BUT if you turn off the screen…for a day or two days or a week…you’ll notice that the news cycle is not an actual representation of the world around you.
When I open my door in the morning, the birds are singing, my neighbor waves, the mailman is friendly, the kids still want to be loved and poured into and played with, people are still working and trying to do their best, a friend will come by for a coffee visit, holidays and birthday parties are still being planned AND GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL.
In this age of screens, are you guarding your soul and purposing in your heart to be steadfast?
How can you take control today of what you allow to enter your heart, mind, and soul? What negative influence do you need to replace with something positive?
If you see signs of double mindedness in your own life, take it seriously. Try a media fast. Spend more time in your Bible than you do on a screen. It’s ultimately for our good and for the good of our souls.