by Gwen Smith
"Be very careful, then, how you live -- not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."(Ephesians 5:15-16, NIV)
Friend to Friend
As Christian believers, we're called to live set-apart lives. To be holy as God is holy. To be in the world, but not of the world. God is the source of all holiness, and in order to live a set-apart life, we must spend time with Him so we can be fueled by His Holy Spirit.
I don't know what your days look like, but mine are pretty full. They start early and end late. Once the sun rises, it seems that coffee isn't the only thing brewing in my house. An invisible competition brews daily that vies for my time and attention. The competitors are often "good things" that end up to be "time-robbing things" that keep me from God's best and God's presence.
Today I'd like to put our computer lives under a spiritual microscope. I'm an e-girl. I love my MacBook Pro computer, my iPhone, email, instant messaging, and the World Wide Web. Though I'm admittedly fully immersed in the e-life, I'm also cognizant of the fact that the e-world has become a dangerous addiction and spiritual deterrent to many. I struggle with this personally! These electronic forums host a new and efficient opportunity for us to connect with other people 24/7. While much of the social networking, online surfing, and emailing is innocent, encouraging, and fun, they clearly present us with opportunities to sin and be distracted from set-apart living.
Over the past several years, Facebook, MySpace, blogs, instant messaging, and chat rooms have replaced many face-to-face conversations and, for some, devotion time. They have become a new source of temptation for us, an opportunity to live a fantasy or a momentary escape from the daily grind.
A friend of mine recently said, "My computer whispers to me." Yikes! Mine does, too! Though it's embarrassing to admit, I sometimes don't manage my time efficiently because I've given in to the lure of e-life by responding to the audio alert that indicates "I've got mail" or the notification that someone has left me a message on a social networking page of mine. As a result, I've robbed myself of productive time. Time I have wasted and spent unwisely.
We are warned against this in Scripture. "Be very careful, then, how you live -- not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:15-16, NIV).
Now, hear me clearly on this. I'm not saying that electronic forums or computers are bad or evil in and of themselves. (For goodness sakes, you're reading this devotion because of the amazing electronic world!) I'm simply suggesting that it would be wise for each of us to pray about the amount of time and energy we devote to these things.
How can we be set apart in our e-life? How can we establish healthy e-boundaries that will protect our purity and our time with God? Perhaps we could start by taking an honest look at the amount of time we commit to our social e-lives versus the amount of time we commit to spending in God's Word and in His presence each day. (Did that sting? Rest assured, it stings me too.)
The good news is that we can turn to God for direction and wisdom in all of this. "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him" (James 1:5, NIV). Our gracious Lord longs for each of us to choose His best and live each day in His strength.
"God, make a fresh start in me.
Shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don't throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!"
Psalm 51:10-12, MSG
Today I thought it would be fitting to pray directly from Scripture."And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light" (Colossians 1:10-12, NIV).
Father, we ask this in Jesus' Name,
Now It's Your Turn
Let's get practical today:
- Spend some time in thought and prayer about this subject.
- Ask God to reveal to you any e-habits that are sinful, indulgent, or inappropriate.
- Check your on-line notification settings and consider eliminating unnecessary email alerts.
- Remember that God longs for your time and attention. Be certain that you don't choose mundane activities instead of spending time with Him.
- Read Ephesians 5:1-20.