Here we pick up the first of the points raised in the previous blog post.
The world that we live in today is both virtual and real. As Christians we must learn to navigate this wisely. There is a great potential for reaching out to others, and for sharing the Good News of Jesus with the world, but there is also a great potential for addiction, distraction, and fruitless pursuit of something that promises much but never delivers.
Let’s talk a little bit about how the virtual world – and here I’m talking about all of the notifications that you get; texts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, email, really any of the small little alerts that pop up during the day to let you know that you have some love from someone! How does this affect you?
It is basically candy for your brain. There is a reward system in your brain that, when you do something that is pleasurable, will release a powerful hormone, that is actually an opioid, called dopamine. You can find out a lot about this by simply going to Mr Google, but if you have a little time this article called ‘Why the modern world is bad for your brain’ is a great place to start.
Why the modern world is bad for your brain | Science | The Guardian
We all know that candy tastes really nice, it is a treat, but if our diet consisted solely of candy, we would not be particularly healthy. It is that same with our virtual diet. If we spend all of our time online simply checking email, or browsing Facebook, or tweeting, or posting to our other various social media accounts, then our brains will actually be adversely affected. Some of the side effects of this are things like reduced ability to concentrate, reduced attention span, the expectation of immediate achievement and advancement. Even the ability to think deeply, reflectively, and thoughtfully about something becomes difficult.
You can see how this might make it difficult for us as believers to take time to actually pursue God in any meaningful way. I we are constantly seeking to gain something instantly, then we are not able to actually engage with God on a deeper level, to reach the intimacy that we need in order to cultivate a relationship that changes and impacts our lives.
We are not able to just sit with him for any extended period of time, because we can’t stand seemingly not doing anything.
We are not able to realise that sanctification is a life long process, and we won’t arrive at perfection instantly.
What is the remedy for all of this? To quit the virtual world altogether? We cannot do that in this day and age and still be able to engage with the world around us. Most people have a facebook account, everyone is using email. We have to communicate with them, but the answer is to habitually unplug from the technology. Have a fast day, where you turn off all notifications and only check your email at midday. Don’t go on Facebook – the horror! Leave Twitter alone for a while.
Doing this habitually will help you to regain your focus, and help you to be able to engage more deeply in the moment with the people and tasks that you have to do right now.
But you have to make it a regular thing, it cannot just be a once off, it must become habitual.
“these virtues are formed in man by his doing the actions”
Essentially what we do forms us, and so doing the right things will help us to live a right life. There are some things that we can do to make it easier for us to follow Jesus… Those are thing things that we should be doing.
Question: What is one way that you can unplug in order to reconnect with Jesus?
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