The Burden of Standing Firm

Recently I watched a documentary on NetFlix called The Social Dilemma, which talks about the dangers of Social Media. I found it to be insightful because it shows how Social Media can manipulate people’s behavior. The main point of this documentary is that the users of Social Media are the real product for advertising and marketing. The more you click, look and linger, the more information they gather on you and your common interests. The documentary is comprised of former employees from all the big Social Media companies and they all recommended getting rid of Social Media, and were, in fact, visibly distraught over how no one understands the impact it is having on lives and society as a whole.

Now, that is a bold statement coming from former CEO’s and engineers who once worked for these companies. One of the last questions they were asked was, “Would you allow your children to have a Social Media account?” They all said no. The documentary is worth the watch, since it has information about how we as users have no idea what is being done to manipulate and program our lives. Some of the former tech people even attributed that much of the social unrest in our country today is due to how these tech companies’ program to you specifically by only letting you see one side of any issue.

A careful study of Scripture gives us clues as to how this world will end, and the optimum word is ‘control.’ The forces of evil have one objective … to control your thinking, behavior, and spiritual life. The tools that are used against us are lies (false narratives), entertainment (including sports with political slogans), and ideologies of social equity (social engineering). These all have one objective … to control your thinking and actions.

1 John 2:16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.

Again, the Scripture says that we crave pleasure, wanting what we see and cannot have. Our pride in life is found in our achievements and our prosperity and wealth. Success is our goal, and for many, success is all that there is … to make more, do more, be more, and obtain more. These are all controlling factors that drive us each day, and when coupled with greed can cost us our very Souls. Jesus asked an important question:

Mark 8 36What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37Or what can a man give in exchange for His soul?

Yet, we exchange the important for the unimportant every day. All of us are guilty of giving our lives to causes that are not about the important matters in life. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died recently and is an accomplished woman whose fight for women’s equality is being heralded as one of her legacies. With all due respect to her, she has now entered into a new world of law … the court of God. Her years on this earth will be judged by the ultimate judge, God Himself. He will determine if she was just, righteous, and fair as a Supreme Court Judge. Her life will go through the filter we all will face … the filter of God’s Word, the filter of God’s savior, and filter of God’s rewards. God decides the next phase of life … the most important phase because it lasts forever.

Jesus told us that the most important element in life is Him. He is the filter by which all other filters will be judged, and if you don’t pass the first filter of knowing and serving Him on earth, the others are merely information.

Yes, the Internet, Social Media, and media in general are all trying to convince us, control us, and commission us to be something God did not intend for us. As Christians, we know that this world is not our home, but it is more than that … it is our enemy. I love the way the Phillips translation puts it in:

James 4:4 You are like unfaithful wives, flirting with the glamour of this world, and never realizing that to be the world’s lover means becoming the enemy of God! Anyone who deliberately chooses to love the world is thereby making himself God’s enemy.

One last thought about standing for the important. Recently, I watched a television preacher who was very entertaining and positive. He could have sold you stock in air, he was so persuasive. His theme was about you finding favor with God, and he used three words:

1. Wisdom

2. Favor

3. Generosity

His presentation was well defined, Scripturally based, and passionately presented. The one problem was that those words seemed more important than Jesus. Control is not only about Social Media and this world … there is a control in the Church too. Ultimately, this preacher was headed toward the idea that prosperity was the most important part of living on earth. To him, prosperity is the billboard for a Godly, righteous life, and without it you have little to say to others.

Control through an idea is dangerous. The audience was electrified by his presentation, and went wild about what they were hearing. The problem? Where was Jesus? How did Jesus get upended by wisdom, favor, and generosity? To me, these three are all found in Jesus, and when you have Jesus you get His wisdom, His favor and His generosity.

Control is an ugly thing because it is subtle, manipulative, and well intentioned … until you see the motives behind it. Jesus told us to be wise and shrewd in this world, and not be caught without a defense:

Matthew 10:16 Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.

Beware … live your life each day as if it were your last and focus on the most important.

Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler

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