Monday started out as a typical morning. I hugged Dad goodbye as he left for work, ate breakfast, and had my quiet time. But sometimes God likes to give us “curve balls” in life. As I turned on my computer ready to jump into the busyness of Mondays, the internet shut off.
Refresh. Nothing. Refresh five more times and still nothing.
Even my computer-savvy brother couldn’t fix the problem, and when we called the internet provider they said they would plan to fix it before Wednesday night.
Which means three days without internet. No posting on my blog, no submitting assignments on online classes, no corresponding with friends, no searching online for quick questions. Without computers, what is left in the world? (Lol! But really – it feels like that sometimes!)
We cancelled classes, contacted teachers and friends, and are now just waiting it out. I’m typing this blog post on an offline document, not knowing when I’ll be able to actually post it. But that’s not what I want to spend my time talking about here. I want to share something I learned from three days without internet.
Earlier in the year we talked about what it means to abide in Christ. 1 John has a lot to say about what “abiding” truly means. (see 1 John 2:6, 24, and 1 John 4:15-16) Over these last few months, I’ve realized more and more that to abide means to base your life off of something or someone. If we are abiding in Christ, our actions, thoughts, desires, and lifestyles will be honoring to Him. We will have a passionate relationship with Him and humbly desire to give up our lives for Him. Christ alone will provide our wisdom, fulfillment, and joy.
This week I realized that those three things – wisdom, fulfillment, and joy – are ones we often look for in the wrong place.
When you face a decision in life or don’t understand a concept, do you turn to Jesus and the Bible or do you switch on your computer and ask a friend or *cough* Google?
When you are restless or bored, do you spend time building a relationship with your Savior, seeking true fulfillment, or do pull up your email account, contact friends, or search through Pinterest, Goodreads, and other online website?
When you are sorrowful or depressed, do you bring your cause before the One who loves you most or do you again search for joy in the trivial, earthly things of life?
The internet quite often takes Jesus’ place in our lives. It sits on the throne of our hearts, mocking our weak efforts to replace it with Christ. I’m convinced that a lot of us (myself included) abide in our online pursuits (relationships, websites, activities) more than we abide in Christ.
I completely understand that computers are wonderful tools of ministry. We can (and should, if God so leads) use them to bless others and build friendships. We can correspond with our far-away friends and encourage one another in love. We can take online classes, look up information, and even study the Bible online. These are good things!
But tools need to remain as tools. They cannot derive us of our best hours and free time. We cannot use them to find wisdom, fulfillment, and joy! Those things only come from seeking God through prayer, reading the Word, fellow-shipping with other believers, reading Christian biographies, etc.
It reminds me of what Father Christmas told the Penvensie children in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:
"These are your presents and they are tools not toys. The time to use them is perhaps near at hand. Bear them well."
Are we using tools that God has given us in the wrong way or are we bearing them well? Computers, books, movies, and relationships can all prove to be tools that God uses in our lives. But have we turned them into toys? Are we wasting our time?
The internet is dangerous. Satan can use it to ensnare us in a pretend world that doesn’t exist. We can waste hours of our lives scrolling through pages and making small talk with people we don’t even know. It can even ruin real-life relationships by pulling us away from our families. Is that what a servant of the Lord should look like?
I have a friend who realized that the internet was consuming too much of her time. She majorly cut back on everything – blogs, conversations, social media – and now has free time that she desires to give to the Lord in ministry. Her arms are open to God’s will in her life because she is ridding herself of earthly pursuits and seeking a heavenly mission.
Are computers pulling us away from Christ and our families? Take a handful of days as a “computer fast”, and you’ll realize how important those online things truly are to you.
Perhaps to abide in Christ we need to close our laptops, power off our phones, and refocus on what truly matters.
And maybe you don’t struggle with this, but there are other areas in your life that try to pull you away from having an eternal mindset. No matter what it is, we need to push it aside and fix our gaze on Jesus Christ, the only One who deserves our heart.
“You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things and by Your will they exist and were created.” – Revelation 4:11