I will be the first to admit that I’m enjoying this social media explosion. I love connecting, communicating, and interacting with other people, regular people living regular lives with differing cares and worries and responsibilities. It’s exciting, too, to connect with “celebrities” in a manner that was unheard of just a few years ago. Engaging with the “rich and famous” is at an unprecedented apex, which is both good and bad (mostly bad).
But, as with anything remotely “good,” there are countless pitfalls that follow the use of any social media platform. While information and knowledge have never been so easily and quickly accessible, likewise, never has infidelity and temptation been so casually found. With just a few taps, the caring, loving husband can swiftly be caught up in a web of lust and lies. It’s far too easy to fall.
But a more subtle, less obvious pitfall of technology is that of attention. Satan is the master of so distracting Christians from their true calling and obligation to the gospel that they become ineffectual and useless in the mission of Christ. Too often, and too easily, believers in Jesus are ensnared and enslaved by good things. Yes, some of the best things in life become bad simply by idolizing them, by making them our God’s.
Whatever you’re distracted and overcome by, that’s your functional God, to that you’re a slave — “whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.” (2 Pet. 2:19) Whatever arrests your attention, whatever captivates your thoughts, whatever holds your consideration, that’s what you’re serving. Whether it be a girlfriend or boyfriend, a sport, a hobby, a job, a relationship, anything that takes our focus off the glory and grace of the gospel of Christ is a distraction, and, if allowed to germinate, can become your God, your slave-master.
The gaze of the soul can be distracted and entangled and encumbered by many things, but the purpose of pursuit and the power of grace is that which arrests the mind and draws your thoughts to Christ.
What Are You Looking At?
The war of the soul is for faith — what A. W. Tozer calls the gaze of the soul. Thus, we must continually ask ourselves these sorts of questions: To what am I looking? What keeps my focus? What distracts me? How much time and effort am I sacrificing to get this attention-getting thing?
For the Christ-follower, to be distracted by the former lusts and passions of your unregenerate heart is the grossest rebellion. If you believe in Jesus and trust in his substitution for your salvation, and have been clothed in his righteousness through the blood-merit of Jesus, it’s the design of grace that you grow in its familiarity and “in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet. 3:18) Now that you’re “in Christ,” and have equal inheritance to righteousness, because of Christ, it’s better that you never again taste the former sweetness of debauchery and lust, and stay pursuing, pushing into Jesus. For a redeemed son and daughter of God to fall back into sin, conscious rebellion, is worse than being unregenerate and blind to my spiritual blindness.
Tasting grace, then, and still feeding a want after lust is as a dog who returns to its vomit. (2 Pet. 2:20–22) The keystone of grace which overcomes our dark, insatiable passions is the promised return of Christ. It is to that which we should be eternally looking, that which should arrest all the thoughts and faculties of heart and soul. We should be so stirred up (2 Pet. 3:1) by Christ’s return that we can’t help but live and die for him.
Jesus’s second coming is, indeed, the hope of grace and catalyst for holiness, forged on the anvil of love.
Be ever looking to and for Jesus, and be overcome by his grace. Don’t become distracted by the thoughts and cares of the world; don’t be entangled by the former passions of lust and greed — but be so enamored by “the breadth and length and height and depth” of Christ’s love for you (Eph. 3:18–19), that it becomes your overwhelming, overcoming motive. My friends, “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 2:1)