The post today is a guest post from a new writer. Kevin heads the men’s ministry at Hereford Baptist Church (HBC) in the UK, and is local representative for Christian Vision for Men (CVM). He is also part of the excellent team that looks after the youth at HBC.
The Internet is I believe, the single biggest threat to men, women and children in the church today. It is fast, reliable, accessible, cheap, and can cater for literally every whim. Instant gratification is what the ‘world’ often teaches us to strive for, with long term success portrayed as not worth the effort.
Aptly named the web, it is so easy to find ourselves viewing pages we know to be harmful to us (as Christians, we can at least have that perception of what can damage us, though even this can become numbed), with links from pages to pages making the pathway to potential sin ridiculously easy.
Every person be they Christian or non-believer has weaknesses in their character. By design since the Fall, we are flawed. Every single one of us, save Jesus is imperfect, but Jesus does save!
How the enemy must delight in the Internet – it gives him all his weapons in one fell swoop, one single package. Think of any type of sinful behaviour or practices that are harmful to us and you will find websites dedicated to them, probably by their thousands. The explosion in the popularity of social networking, whilst undoubtedly beneficial in many ways, can so easily become a breeding ground for idle gossip, or even bullying and hate.
There are some great Christian resources out there online but they are vying for our attention against and often in addition to, the multitude of sites that can tempt us and move our focus away from God. This double-edged sword of cost/benefit, means it is less attractive to cut the Internet from our lives. The enemy knows our individual weaknesses – those cracks in our human frailty and will seek to prise them open at any opportunity. His darkness thrives on the secrecy that the anonymity of the Internet gives, on the ever increasing range of gadgets that we often find ourselves alone with.
The good news is that as with all sin, we do have a way out, a choice, a free will to do what pleases God rather than our innate selfish being. ‘Put on the gospel armour, each piece put on with prayer’, is a line from an old hymn but the words of Ephesians 6:13-17 are just as relevant today as they have ever been.
The Internet is here to stay, so we must have personal strategies to safely manage our use of it. We must root ourselves in prayer – on our own and with others. Persistent prayer, coupled with accountability throws light and hope into the equation.
Self control – a truly beautiful gift can be developed and strengthened, aided by looking at the long game, the eternal prize. J John suggests we will never find happiness that the Internet can claim to offer us by looking directly for it. It comes indirectly through fulfilment based on the adopting the virtues of the Beatitudes preached by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.
We will make mistakes, God’s grace covers us. The blood of Jesus covers us. When we mess up, His love for us does not diminish one iota.
Let us be caught in the ‘net’ of Jesus, not the ‘web’ of the enemy.
Let us be on our guard, aided through our God.
Let us walk in the footsteps of Him.