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What to Do About Sanctification Cyber Effects, 5.0

What to Do about Sanctification Cyber Effects, 5.0

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After you meet the stranger on the train, and both of you throw inhibition to the wind, you may convince yourself that you’re building a whole relationship with another person. You’re not. At best, what you have is false intimacy; it’s not the real thing. You cannot replicate and enjoy God’s solution to companionship in cyberspace. “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him'” (Genesis 2:18).

In This Series:

Sin’s Necessity

If you cut yourself off from all potential hurt, it’s not possible to know God the way He wants you to know Him. You will carve out a world where you rely on yourself, building high walls and safe places. You won’t be relying on the Lord (2 Corinthians 1:8-9), and the adverse effect of not engaging real people in the real fallen world is that the place you create will become a prison. Sanctification is not safe. We’re fallen people. Though cyberspace can incarcerate someone and keep the bad people away, it falls woefully short in the change process. You can do many things by yourself, but sanctification is not one of them. It takes a community. One of the implications of “sanctification” is “sinfulness.”

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Without sin, there would be no need for progressive sanctification. But there is sin; we should not ignore or run from it. We need to engage the sinfulness among ourselves so we can change. We must be in fallen, flesh-and-blood contexts where sin is apparent and unavoidable. We have to engage it, not “unlike” it. If you want to be a great baseball player, you need all of the components of baseball so you can learn the game. If you had no glove, for example, you would never understand the skills necessary to make it to the “bigs.” In the world of fallen humanity, sin is vital to our transformation. But if we sequestered ourselves from fallen humanity, building a cyber refuge, we would not grow as we should. We need human beings if our hope is Christlikeness (John 17:17).

The other concern that centers on the sanctification effect and technology is that our thoughts need hibernation time to sink into our brains. This crucial aspect of sanctification means that the truth of God we want to absorb has to land and stick in our long-term memory banks. I’m not sure of a worse place to hinder this aspect of sanctification than the Internet and social media. You can test yourself. Think of the last ten quotes you liked on your favorite social media platform. You can’t. Nobody can. Even if you could recall parts of them, they are on their way out your mental door because other “nuggets of the day” are waiting to roll in. If a fleeting thought, like, click, or picture were on one end of a spectrum and memorizing a verse or passage from the Bible was on the other, “liking” things on social media is closer to your fleeting thoughts than the rigors of memory work that sticks with you for years and brings sanctification transformation to your soul while enabling you to impact those around you redemptively.

Call to Action

  1. Why can’t you replicate and enjoy God’s solution for companionship in cyberspace?
  2. Why are hurt, disappointment, and other sins vital to our maturity? What happens if we cut ourselves off from these realities of fallenness?
  3. Why do high walls and safe spaces feel right but are detrimental to our need to become Christlike?
  4. How do the Internet and social media hinder our long-term memories, and why is this issue vital to our sanctification?
  5. What one thing will you change to carve out downtime to practice pondering for extended periods, which teaches patience and perseverance?

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