The internet has a lot of great attributes. Besides the things listed above, we have instant access to world wide news, endless music, and how-to videos. It has done many good things, but it also can make it too easy to stay isolated. It is less personal in a lot of ways. It is nothing like real life fellowship, and is a poor substitute for a visit with friends. We have gotten so use to using the internet for everything, that we rarely question what we read. Now fake news spreads like wild fire. We read, click share, and believe things, without ever doing our own research. This internet complacency is obviously not good, and sometimes I fear what our world will look like in a couple decades of social isolation and fake news!
This whole post arose out of this photo that popped up on my FB page a this morning-
Another thing the internet, and social media in particular, has done is entice us to seek approval. We constantly check our phones afraid we might miss something. It is easy for the internet to make us a bit neurotic. We post and watch to see if there will be likes and comments. Viral posts and videos are like striking gold in our society today. Attention-seeking and people-pleasing feed our desire to be "liked." We have a tendency to become self-centered. We feel disappointment when our friends are taking their third vacation this year, and we aren't going anywhere....again.
Does it all matter? Does it matter if everyone likes our funny cat video, or our vacation photos? Should it matter? Of course it is easy to say no, it doesn't matter. We say, "I don't care what everyone else thinks." Then, we are privately disappointed. (Am I alone in this?) Part of the reason I share my struggles is because it appears to me while scrolling through my newsfeed that everyone else's life is perfect. Or at least it is easy to start thinking that way.
"My husband got a raise"
"My child won an award"
"We just bought a new home"
We see smiling family photos and happy stories. We begin to wonder why we can't get our acts together like everyone else. Rarely does someone post things like:
"I lost my job and have no money for food"
"My spouse cheated" or "I cheated"
"I yelled at my children today"
"I am hurting/struggling"
The internet and social media would have us to believe we are different. We are failures and everyone else is successful. Bitterness, sadness, shame begin to creep in to our hearts, as we compare ourselves with others.
We must be vigilant over our hearts. There is a war going on. Actually there are two wars. There is a war raging within us, one between the spiritual man and our sinful flesh. The other war is the spiritual battle that goes on in the heavenly realms for your very soul (Ephesians 6:12). The battle is real, and it has serious, life-threatening consequences!
As believers, we are called to be pleasers of God, and not people pleasers. We need to do and think what God would "like", what is pleasing to Him, and not do things hoping others will "like" it. We live in a society that tells us that you are nothing if you don't have fans, followers, and likes, but we serve a God that calls us sons and daughters. We have been grafted in to His family vine. We are to be followers of Jesus Christ. We ought to live lives, like the apostle Paul, that allow us to say "Be imitators (followers) of me, as I am of Christ." (1 Corinthians 11:1) Those are the kind of people I want to follow, and the type of followers I want!
How do we overcome this societal pressure? It will be a daily battle. We must fight to keep our eyes fixed upon Christ. We must remember that we are in a battle, and not get complacent. If you are not a believer, not a follower of Christ, do not think that you are excluded from this battle. Your unbelief, and denials do not negate the FACT that this war is raging around you. Your soul is the prize. You have two choices: serve God or not. By not serving God, coming to Him in repentance and faith, you are serving your soul up on a silver platter to the enemy who "prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8) This enemy is Satan himself. Choose this day whom you will serve, for tomorrow is promised to no one (Joshua 24:15).
I will leave you with this; praying that you and I both would put on the whole armor of God, and open our mouths to proclaim boldly the mystery of the gospel.
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel." Ephesians 6:10-19 (ESV)