Practical Application of the Word of God
Technology, in our modern society, is, as it has always been, both a blessing and a curse, depending on its place in our lives. As with our own ideas and our own opinions, if we as Christians rely heavily on technology as our primary source of both spiritual and physical knowledge, understanding, and truth, we are choosing a dangerous, ungodly, and, ultimately, destructive path.
Jesus Christ defines the sole source of spiritual truth for those of us who claim to follow Him. John 17:17 is irrefutable.
However, as was the case when John wrote this, we are in a period where many of those who claim to be Christians have begun, as Paul warned Timothy would happen, to “not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers.”
Although I included a link to II Timothy 3:16 in the above scripture from II Timothy 4:3, I believe it’s most important to understand what doctrine is and isn’t, according to God’s word.
II Timothy 3:16 defines God’s definition of doctrine: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” and what the end result of living this looks like (II Timothy 3:17): “ that the man [and woman] of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
In other words, God’s word – all of it – is profitable for doctrine (teaching us what God expects, what God requires, and what matters to God). The term doctrine has been hijacked by religious organizations and its meaning changed to be those organizations’ fundamental beliefs.
By changing the definition of doctrine from its biblical definition, these organizations have, perhaps unknowingly and perhaps not (I can’t read hearts and minds), pulled the focus of Christians away from living by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord to the specific, limited, and often-misrepresented, skewed, or, in some cases, outright wrong human ideas and opinions of the organizations.
What this does is promote loyalty and obedience to the organizations, instead of to God and Jesus Christ. It is a form of idolatry.
Sadly, in reaction to this kind of idolatry, some Christians have decided to go in another direction outside of the word of God looking for truth. In the process, which has been accelerated by the ubiquitous access to technology, these Christians are in danger of embracing the same kind of misrepresented, skewed, and outright wrong human ideas as they widen their nets to anything and everything available on the web that agrees with their particular beliefs and “understanding.”
Whichever path of these Christians chose to follow, rather than exclusively following with single-mindedness the path that Jesus Christ Himself gave us, it is a dangerous, treacherous, and potentially spiritually-fatal journey to undertake.
The reality is that quite a bit of what is available via the internet is either suspect, at best, or wrong, at worst, especially since the search results we get are not analyzed by veracity nor expertise, but instead by “hits,” which are often manipulated behind the scenes to look higher and more extensive than they actually are or paid keywords.
This is a very dangerous thing to allow to happen to our brains and to our spiritual understanding. And yet with the 24/7 connectivity to the internet that most of us have embraced, with no real regular and intentional absences from it built into our lives, we are becoming, both neurologically and spiritually, The Shallows that Nicholas Carr describes in his book of the same name.
God gave us the wonderful neurological gift of our brains. In addition, when He called us and we entered into the covenant of absolute agreement with Him through baptism (meaning we committed to continual repentance – change – from our way to God’s way forever), He also gave us the gift of His spirit, through which we are able to understand and apply God’s word.
When we surrender our brains and ignore the gift of God’s very power and mind to human reasoning, human ideas, and human opinions which are extant on the internet and we embrace those instead of the very word of God, then we are not walking worthy of our calling and we are neglecting so great a salvation.
In the process, we lose the ability, much like the audience that the book of Hebrews was written to, to discern between what is spiritually true, what is almost spiritually true (there is a lot of this out there) and what is spiritually untrue.
When we let the internet do our neurological and spiritual work, we are susceptible to egregious lies, myopic (and extreme and wrong) points of view, and to the kind of society, physically and spiritually, that George Orwell describes in 1984.
In many ways, many of us have already begun the walk down this path spiritually.
It’s not too late to become a Winston Smith and fight. It is part of our calling to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
This comes, not through people, not through organizations, and not through the internet, but through and only through the Word of God.
When that is our sole source of truth, for truth, and being true, then our spiritual houses are being built on the foundation of Rock. When we don’t have the Word of God as our sole source of truth, then our spiritual houses are being built on foundations of sand.
What, then, will we, you and I, do?
Will we believe God and obey God? Or will we continue to lean to our own understanding and do what is right in our own eyes?
The choice – and the responsibility – is ours – yours and mine – to make and to own.
I pray that we choose wisely and according to God’s word and will, not according to our own words and wills or those of any other mere mortal like ourselves or man-made organizations that would presume to present themselves falsely in the role between us and God that belongs, now and forever, to only Jesus Christ alone.