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Romans 12:1-2 (CEV)
"My Christian friends, God has been very kind to us. Because of that, I really want you to serve God with your whole life. Offer your bodies to him like a sacrifice that continues to live. Serve him with everything that you have and that will please him. That is the true way to worship God.
Do not become like the people who belong to this world but let God completely change the way that you think, so that you live differently. Then you will understand what God wants you to do. You will know what is good. You will know what pleases God. You will know what is completely right."
If I were to ask you if you resemble people in the world, you will quickly answer "No"! You will also let me know that you are a Christian, blood bought, and fear the Lord God. Praise God for that! But I'd like to share some of the ways we Christians are resembling the world. Conformity doesn't always come in the form of the 'big things' or 'bad things'. Sometimes it comes in more subtle ways.
Let me preface my remarks by saying that technology has been helpful and useful, and I appreciate all that it helps me to do that I couldn't have done years ago. The downside to technology is that it has introduced, those of us who participate by having its devices, to great distractions and has made us mentally lazy at times. What do I mean by this? For example, I get more You Tube videos with religious messages than ever. Are they good? Profitable? They can be at times, but I'd much rather that individual pick up the phone and share a word with me that the Lord has laid on their hearts. That's where the power lies, that's the life changing stuff that impacts my heart, my mind and my soul. While the You Tube video is someone else's thoughts given to them by God and flows through cyberspace over and over again. Some believers think that this is the way to go when trying to encourage someone. They may even feel as though sharing these videos allows them to share fellowship and is counted as service to God.
I don't think God had social media tools in mind when He commanded us to encourage one another and edify one another in spiritual things. We cannot use the excuse of a Pandemic because this has been going on long before Covid-19 struck. Have we become lazy as Christians? Are we sitting in His presence, hearing His voice daily and enjoying fellowship with God? If so, why are we resorting to online video messages primarily as a way to pass along God's thoughts?
We have conformed to the ways and practices of the world whether we want to believe it or not. Many of us don't even communicate by hearing the other person's voice on the phone. We send a text instead. We call that 'keeping in touch', 'checking in', 'talking to' or 'hearing from'. This is not what God calls fellowship. Many of us don't have people over for dinner like we use to or make time for getting together. Bible study groups have lessened and dwindled. What I noticed that has increased majorly over the years has been group travels. While nothing is wrong with traveling with groups of friends; it's important to have down time, we seem to make time for it, plan for it, and it's on some of our must do list.
Technology is useful as I said earlier, but when it gets to the point where we are inseparable from our cell phones and are impacted by clicks and likes on social media or checking in regularly to see who is paying attention to our posts, that's conforming to the world by way of our behavior. When it gets to the point where we are following all the social media advice on how to sell our product, or how to get noticed, find the right circles, or how to get more clicks, we have conformed to the ways and practices of the world.
The ways of the world will cause us to ignore God and the things He has given us to do. Our occupation will be so consumed by investing in Bit coins and Cryptocurrency. Satan has devised these things to occupy the minds and hearts of people to the point where there is no thought of God. Christians are getting caught up with the same mentality. Satan is hoping to distract us and make us invest in things that will bring us wealth and prosperity. Little by little we will find ourselves trusting in these things and not in the Lord and the promises of His Word.
The perspective of Christians is changing more and more. Many are turning from the God of the Bible to the God of this world. The falling away is in full swing. Individuals who once believed and served God are now walking away from spiritual things. Even believers are failing to invest in the care of other believers as they ought. The phone calls have stopped, but if there is something to criticize or put one in the position to give advice, you may get an isolated phone call from them. This is not what God had in mind when He gave us the following scriptures:
John 13:34-35 "Love one another, everyone will know you are my disciples if you love one another." This cannot be done via You Tube videos or texting. What are unbelievers observing from you?
Romans 12:10 "Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Outdo one another in showing honor." This is a sincere and pure love that involves being around one another, helping one another, when need be, praying for one another and interacting with one another.
Philippians 2:4 "Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." Are we spending enough time around one another to know what the other needs?
Galatians 5:13 "Carry one another's burdens." Are we praying together? Do we have prayer partners?
1 Peter 4:9 " Be hospitable to one another without complaining." It's important to get together for home Bible study, and fellowship. Merely socializing isn't going to help anyone spiritually. Use Zoom for Bible study to edify one another.
There are many scriptures that speak to the things we should be conforming to. God intended that in renewing our minds, we would think more in terms of what pleases Him and what builds His kingdom not Satan's. Let us re-evaluate how we're doing what we're doing and make the necessary changes that will honor God.
Are You Standing Out?