As a “Techie-Guy” by nature, I love my iPhone, my Xbox-360 and any of the numerous devices that have come on the scene to keep us entertained and informed in this hustle and bustle world. Along with these devices have come websites that seem to make us feel like we wouldn’t know what to do if they never existed. Case in point… Facebook. A handy little website that enables us to keep in contact with our loved ones and reclaim our long lost friendships of yesteryear. While we’ve been provided the gift of staying in touch and knowing what Suzy and Tommy from grade school are doing now, along with that comes those annoying posts that people feel they have to let everyone know about. Like I really want to know that your cat has an ongoing digestive problem or that you currently hold the high score on Farmville. After graduating from college, one of my first acts as a new pastor was to prioritize my life. That means God, family, ministry. Recently, when we decided to take a family vacation, my wife and I decided to disconnect from all social sources; email, news, and yes… Facebook. While Facebook can be a good tool, what we discovered was that if you are truly honest with yourself as we were, I think you’ll agree that it really has become sort of a distraction. Answer this… Do you spend more time on Facebook or in HIS book? Do you feel the need to check Facebook everyday… several times? Do you sublimely just tap on the Facebook App on your smart phone? Gotcha… you’re being distracted!
Recently, I came a cross a national poll that states that the typical person spends an average of 6.5 combined hours each week on Facebook. Do the math, that’s over 1-day a month that Americans spend on a website! What could you be doing with this time? After my wife and I returned from our vacation of cutting out all social media from our lives, we discovered something very interesting. We were happier, less annoyed, and more dedicated to our family. Some people might say that this was “Just because you were on vacation.” I would say, “No, it’s because I didn’t have to listen to someone tell me “If you’re blah, blah, blah… Repost this on your wall!” Come on, let’s be truthful here. Has this what we’ve really led ourselves to become more concerned with? Yes, Facebook can be a good keep-in-touch tool, and even used greatly for ministry; but is it taking you away from the real world and God’s call on your life?
The Bible is clear; Satan has one goal in mind, “To steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). And guess what, at this point, he’s winning. Divorce is at an all time high, teenage pregnancy is off the charts, and our children can be subjected to pornography within seconds of most Google search results. He will stop at nothing to win. And distraction is just one of his tactics that he uses to avert our minds away from pursuing God’s purpose for our lives and furthering Christ’s ministry. I’m not saying that Facebook is the Devil and you should disconnect from it (well not in this post anyway); but I am saying that when you become more obsessed with checking Facebook than reading the Bible then there is a problem. When you go through your day what book do you access first; Facebook or HIS Book? This American distraction has taken our time away from reading and studying the Bible, spending quiet time with God, and spending time with family; in short we’ve lost our biblical worldview.
If you are one of the elite that spend more time with God than on Facebook, then I commend you. But I’ll bet if most of us (present company included prior to this media separation experience) are honest, we’ll find that Satan has done a pretty good job of keeping us distracted from God. Look, my point is not to write this with the view of condemning you, but to make you aware of what is going on in the world. Our attack is no different than Jesus Himself once faced. Satan once tried to distract Jesus while He was enduring His wilderness experience and at Capernaum while He was beginning His powerful ministry. If Satan tried to distract Jesus, suffice to say that he too will try and come up with another tactic to distract our time away from fulfilling God’s call on our lives and our own powerful ministries.
It is my hope from this blog that you really stop and think. Where is your time being spent? We must all reclaim a deliberate walk with Christ and place more emphasis on what we are called to do. Preach the Gospel and love on our families; and this begins by cutting the umbilical cord of social media. Think I’m aloof in my call to action? There are many prominent pastoral leaders today that not only agree with what I’m saying, but also call for their congregations to completely disconnect from Facebook all together. Why? Because they know all to well that if we as Christ followers want to truly take charge of your lives, then we have to start by getting rid of various distractions; and with Facebook claiming that they will have reached 1-billion Facebook accounts by end of 2012, clearly Facebook has become a very real distraction in modern society. I’m not calling for you to go and delete your Facebook account; however I am hoping that for the sake of your family and walk with Christ you place limits on this distraction so that you can get back on the right path toward taking purposeful action daily! When we reclaim the sanity from Mark Zuckerberg’s college experiment spiraling out of control; we will all be brought back to our wealthy place in God so that we can be a blessing to His kingdom here on earth.
In closing, forgive me if you can’t find me to friend on Facebook; I no longer have one. I finally decided enough was enough. I’m making my life about His Kingdom, and not a social media site that has a proven track record of creating division amongst families and the Body of Christ! Don’t believe me? A quick Google search will shock you! Hmm… A rise in divorce, a rise in adultery, pornography, child-trafficking arrests, pedophilia arrests, not to mention the constant abuse of your and my privacy; yep, what would we ever do without Facebook?
I am thankful that God has given me a new lease on life. I’m not spending one day taking that for granted. I would hope if you are reading this that it sparks you to take a real hard and close look at your life’s priorities. I’m going to end with a view that I like from my father-in-law (who coincidently also does not use Facebook). He states, “He likes to deal “face-to-face” without the Book.” And isn’t that what we’re called to do, have real relationships? Life is not measured by the number of friends you try and accumulate on your Facebook friends list; it begins by how it’s measured through the relationship you have when you make the decision to accept HIS friend request. Have a blessed day, and remember… “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time…