Reading God’s Facebook
As the most popular social networking site Facebook boasts over 800 million active users, with 50% logging in at least once per day. Think of it! Over 400 million people checking up on friends and family, growing in their knowledge of a wide variety of subjects, sharing significant news and events (wedding pictures, prayer needs) as well as less significant information (what they ate for lunch, comments about the weather), and remaining connected to an average of 130 friends each. That’s an amazing amount of “connecting” going on. But then I got to thinking. What would happen in our world—and our churches—if 400 million believers in Jesus Christ made sure to check their spiritual “facebook” every day?
The Ultimate Facebook
As fun as it is to peek into each other’s photo albums there is an infinitely more important “facebook” which we must discipline ourselves to spend time reading. That, of course, is God’s “facebook,” the Scriptures. The Apostle Paul makes it clear that sanctification, becoming like Christ, is a cooperative effort involving both the Spirit of God and the believer: But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit (2 Cor 3:18).
The Indispensable Role of the Scriptures in Our Sanctification
Sanctification is a process: we are being transformed. The specific transformational target being aimed at is our heart being changed into the same image from glory to glory. What image is that? It is the image of the glory of the Lord. Unquestionably, this is God’s goal for every Christian: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom 8:29). But how does this actually happen? It is the Lord, the Spirit who ultimately performs the work of inner transformation. On the other hand the change only takes place as we with unveiled face [behold] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord. What is the mirror that reflects the glory of the Lord? It is the written Word of God that exalts the Living Word.
James writes, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was” (Jam 1:23-24). As we examine our hearts and lives in the mirror of the Word we—with the Spirit’s x-ray power and insight—see the sinful tumors that need to be removed and are able to correct erroneous thought patterns, both of which hinder the image of Christ from being increasingly glorified in us. However, if we approach the Bible merely to gain information, without a desire to experience Spirit-empowered change, we become mere “hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).
With no desire to throw a wet blanket on the fire of anyone’s digital joy, let me gently exhort all of us to be sure that we keep the fun tools of technology in their proper place. There is no horizontal social networking that even comes close to the infinite value of checking our spiritual “facebook” every day. Man’s technology doesn’t hold a candle to the supernatural, life-transforming power of the Word of God.
Have You Checked God’s Facebook Today?
I mean, how is your personal time of Bible reading going so far this year? Which “facebook” do you wake up with a desire to open each morning? The psalmist arose with a desire for deep communion with God: “In the morning, O Lord, Thou wilt hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch” (Ps 5:3). If our desire to check our online Facebook page is more urgent than our desire to behold the face of Jesus Christ in the gospel, then it is time to repent of misplaced priorities and renew our commitment to daily read, meditate on, and apply Scripture to life. Perhaps we all need to consider refraining from booting up our computers until we have first spent time in communion with God through prayer and His actively-alive, surgery-performing Word (Heb 4:12). As we behold the glory of the Lord in the truth of the gospel, and meditate on the whole counsel of His Word, the Spirit of God continually transforms us into the holy and gracious image of the Son of God. This then becomes what others see as the world reads our lives. May what was said of Peter and John also be said of us, namely, that even though they were uneducated and untrained men, the people were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).