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Beware of This Invisible Competition!

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Gwen Smith

November 29, 2016

Blog, Christian Living, Confession, Devotions, Holiness, Social Media, Temptation, Wisdom

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As Christian believers, we are called to live set-apart lives.
To be holy as God is holy (Leviticus 19:2, 1 Thessalonians 4:7). To be in the world, but not of the world. God is the source of all holiness, and in order to live set-apart lives – to be sanctified – we must spend time with Him and allow His Holy Spirit to lead us.

God loves us too much to leave us as we are. He wants much more for us than that! God’s plan is to make us more like Himself… to sanctify us. He is Yahweh M’Kaddst, the Lord our Sanctifier.

Let’s take this street level. I don’t know what your days look like, but mine are pretty full. They start early and end late. Once the sun rises, it seems that coffee isn’t the only thing brewing in my house. An invisible competition brews daily that vies for my time and attention. The competitors are often “good things” that end up to be “time-robbing things” that keep me from God’s best and God’s presence. When I’m kept from God’s presence, I’m also kept from growing in His divine grace: major loss for me.

Have you been there?

Does an invisible competition brew in your home and heart too?

I’m thinking: YES. We all struggle with this.

So what are some of these “good things” that end up being “time-robbing distractions”? They look different for each of us. We are all like snowflakes and fingerprints: unique. A few good things that come to mind are over-commitment, activity overload, electronics, excessive shopping, volunteering at church or community service. Yep. Went there. Again, none of these things are bad in and of themselves, but they can become a hindrance to sanctification if we allow them to take precedence over our personal growth with Christ.

A big one for me is electronics.

Let’s put our computer lives under a spiritual microscope for a moment. I’m an e-girl. I love my MacBook Pro computer, my iPhone, email, texting, and the social media. Though I’m admittedly fully immersed in the e-life, I’m also cognizant of the fact that the e-world has become a dangerous addiction and spiritual deterrent to many.

I struggle with this personally. These electronic forums host a powerful and efficient opportunity for us to connect with other people 24/7. While much of social media, online surfing, and emailing is innocent, encouraging and fun, they also present us with opportunities to sin and to become distracted from set-apart living.

Over the past several years, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, blogs, games and texting have replaced many of our face-to-face conversations. For some of us, time with electronics has replaced and/or diminished our devotion time with the Lord. Online activities have become a new source of temptation for us, an opportunity to live a fantasy or a momentary escape from the daily grind.

A friend of mine said, “My computer whispers to me.” Yikes! Mine does too. I readily admit, at times I don’t manage my time efficiently because I give in to the lure of e-life by responding to an audio alert indicating “I’ve got mail,” or to a notification that someone has left me a message on a social media site. As a result, I waste time because I have spent it unwisely – therefore, robbing myself of productive time.

We are warned against this in Scripture. “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16, NIV).

Now, hear me clearly on this: I am not saying that electronics or computers are bad. In and of themselves, they aren’t bad. I’m simply suggesting that it would be wise for each of us to prayerfully consider the amount of time and energy we devote to these things.

How can we be set apart in our e-life?

How can we establish healthy e-boundaries that will protect our purity and our time with God?

Perhaps we could start by taking an honest look at the amount of time we commit to our social e-lives versus the amount of time we commit to spending in God’s Word and in His presence each day. (Did that sting? Yeah, it stings me too.)

The good news is that we can turn to God for direction in all of this. His Word points us to a vital promise of wisdom that will guide us in holiness. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5, NIV).

How awesome is that?

God loves us so much that He offers us an endless supply of wisdom. We just need to ask – so that we are enabled to walk in His wisdom and to live each day in His holiness.

Are you holy as God is holy?

Do you want to thrive in His divine grace?

When we determine to grow in sanctification and allow God to lead us to deeper places of divine grace, those around us will see the hope of Christ in us.

Isn’t that where we want to be?

No matter where we find ourselves on the path of sanctification, it is encouraging to remember that God’s not done with us yet. God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (Philippians 1:6, NLT)

Dear Lord,
Please help me to live a life worthy of You.
Help me to bear fruit in what I do and make choices that lead to holiness.
In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE

Read, meditate on and discuss the Message paraphrase of David’s prayer to the Lord found in Psalm 51:10-12. “God, make a fresh start in me. Shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life. Don’t throw me out with the trash, or fail to breathe holiness in me. Bring me back from gray exile, put a fresh wind in my sails!” (Psalm 51:10-12, MSG)

ACTION POINTS:

Spend some time in thought and prayer about this subject.
Ask God to reveal to you any e-habits that are sinful, indulgent, or inappropriate.
Check your on-line notification settings and consider eliminating unnecessary email alerts. Then POST a COMMENT on my wall about where you are with this. Let’s challenge, encourage and pray for one another!

I love doing life with you! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your inbox with me. I pray and expect that the LORD will continue to lead each of us in His holiness as we seek Him.

Warm Blessings,

GWEN

 

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About Gwen Smith


Gwen Smith

I am an unashamed, imperfect worshiper of Jesus Christ. I cling to His goodness to cover my mess and purpose my days to live out the hope of the Gospel. It is my joy and passion to inspire women to live fully in grace and truth. I write books, devotions and songs. I speak. I sing. I worship. I post, pin and tweet. I am intensely in love with the Word of God and believe, wholeheartedly, that the Bible is divinely inspired truth.

 

16 responses to “Beware of This Invisible Competition!”

  1. Jeanmarie Voss says:

    I struggle with this as well. I spend a ton of time on my phone and on my computer at work because it is allowed. I found that what works best for me is to devote all of my time in my car to God, either in worship songs or listening to my Bible on CD-yes I said CD.

  2. Cj Pecson says:

    Thank you for writing this! Made me realize I am never alone in this struggle.

  3. Pam says:

    The crush, the urgency, the clutter, faithlessness of words, and the willingness to “share”….. Just became suffocatingly overwhelming this morning.
    It all came creeping in like a panic attack!!!
    Today’s mediataion was spot on!
    Thank you Lord!
    Thank you Gwen for being His servant….voice in my wilderness!
    God bless you richly.

  4. Pam says:

    I love this post! I’ve struggled with being distracted by facebook etc ….to the point of obsession for a time! Then I realized my peace and rest in Christ was being compromised! I have since made my bookroom (my space at home) an e-free zone! It’s been a real eye opener as I have heard my computer/facebook “calling to me” making me realize how far I’d wandered! Now I am once again enjoying my times with Him without distraction and still have my e-life! Thx for your ministry, Gwen. You’re a blessing!

  5. Kathi says:

    Thank you for these inspiring words today! Sometimes we don’t even realize how many other distractions keep us from spending time in prayer and devotion to God. I will ask God for wisdom to help me in the areas of my life that I need to change.

  6. Denise says:

    First, thank you. Thank you so much for your posts. Having recently lost my job after twenty two years with a company, I have found myself in a rut of sorts, and that rut is yes…an e rut. Losing my job has been a blessing really. It was a sort of position that consumed so much of my life, that I had fallen into that gray exile. I saw this happening for some time but yet stayed with the company. I often said, the only way I will leave, is if I were to be terminated. So I have been blessed, the company has downsized, my position was eliminated and I feel I have been freed ! David’s prayer, Psalm 51: 10-12, is just what I needed to read. Yes…my e-time definitely needs to be modified, but I am so grateful that it has led me to Girlfriends in God and your posts. Thank you again ! I feel a spiritual reawakening 🙂

  7. lori e says:

    I love the GiG devotions in the morning…I have had an unfulfilled committment to read them before checking any of the other things there when I turn my phone on. Too many times I get distracted by some work email and then Im off running after pleasing a customer instead of starting the day trying to please God. Thank you for this gentle reminder that Im neither alone with this problem and encouragement to recommittment to Him first in all things.

  8. Laura Lindberg says:

    Thank you Gwen. You are right it’s really hard to balance the good and bad of Internet. I don’t do Facebook. But here’s a question. I have a bunch of devotional stuff coming in to email and it’s all really good. I’ve even taken to reading the bible on my phone more than out of my actual bible. I find myself more often than not reading through everything I get and not taking time to do something about what it says. Read through the bible as a familiar book and nothing really jumps out at me from God. The only way I know how to pray is to journal it or I can’t focus and don’t even know how to truly get to God’s presence. I know I am born again. I may have some issues that need to be dealt with. I run from one job to other and family life in between but I know there’s time. Just how does one make it real and personal.

  9. Rhodora says:

    My daughter in law showed me how I can actually check how much time I spent where! Go to settings then battery life. It lists fb, and all other s and how much time is spent. I spend too much time….sadly and am working on this. How much joy I have is contingent on how much time I’ve spent reading news and various other time waters. May we each Hear His voice in this area and walk obediently. Our joy will be doubled as our intimacy with Him grows through spending time with Him. I want Him.

  10. Phyllis Marie says:

    This message is soo timely for me! I realized that spending time on the internet was taking time that I could be praying and reading the Word. I did leave faccebook for Advent but still seem to struggle with this. Please pray for me! I need to set this down and go pray! Thank you! ❤️❤️

  11. judy.bateman@sbcglobal.com says:

    I find myself spending a lot of time on facebook and email but haven’t advanced to the others. Perhaps I don’t need to. However, the blessing of social media is that I wouldn’t have found this daily devotional if it weren’t for social media.

  12. Terri says:

    I want to ask about our path to sanctification. The church I grew up in believes that After you are saved you pray for sanctification and then God grants it to you.
    Since then, I have been in churches where it is a process as we become more like Christ which seems to be what you are saying. That makes more sense to me because I know that I am a work in progress.

    • Nancy Bryant Huff says:

      You are on to something grand! To sanctify means to be set apart for a specific mission- Christ revealed thru us. When I am in the Word and in prayer Jesus shows up as I live for Him (John 17:17). I pray that you continue to grow in truth and grace.

  13. Tammy Dyer says:

    Great article Gwen. I had already been questioning my social media and shopping online time. This article helped me know what I had to do. Funny… I read it online…Lol. But seriously… I am praying and adjusting my ways. Please pray for my wisdom in dealing with this and I will pray for you and theater’s who struggle. I often feel that The Holy Spirit uses my morning devotions time when I read GIG, Sharon, yourself and a few others along with verses, to speak to me…. Thank you again Gwen for your message. Blessings

  14. Timely, but – ouch! I’ve been sick lately, so I’ve found myself spending more time on the internet than I need to. I was just thinking this morning about this problem, and thinking about how I am going to fix it. I know everybody is different, but what seems to work best for me is structure. I need to set myself a schedule to plug my to-do list into, and stick to it. I’d better get going, I have a schedule to stick to!

    • Tammy Dyer says:

      Thank you Rebecca…you are so right! Me too… I am off work on medical leave so there with you! I thank you for the reminder of structure…a daily schedule is what helps me NOT spend time here! I am praying for your success! Blessings!

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