Set Apart Living, Part 1

Gwen Smith Blog, Christian Living, Holy Spirit, Wisdom, Worship 6 Comments

As Christian believers, we are called to live set-apart lives. To be holy as God is holy. To be in the world, but not of the world. God is the source of all holiness, and in order to live set-apart, we must spend time with Him to be fueled by His Holy Spirit.

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.

Today I’d like to put our electronic lives under a spiritual microscope. I’m an e-girl. I love my computer, my smart phone, email, texting, and 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 new and efficient opportunity for us to connect with other people 24/7. While much of the social networking, online surfing, and emailing is innocent, encouraging, and fun, they clearly present us with opportunities to sin and be distracted from set-apart living.

Over the past several years, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, games, and texting have replaced many face-to-face conversations and, for some, devotion time. They 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 once said, “My computer whispers to me.” Yikes! Mine does, too! All too often I don’t manage my time efficiently because I’ve fallen prey to the lure of an audio alert that indicates “I’ve got mail” or the notification that someone has left me a message on a social networking page. Every time I do this I rob myself of productive time. Unwise!

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’m not saying that electronic forums, smart phones, or computers are bad or evil in and of themselves. (For goodness sakes, you’re reading this devotion because of the amazing electronic world!) I’m simply suggesting that it would be wise for each of us to thoughtfully consider and pray about 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 e-lives versus the amount of time we commit to spending in God’s Word and in His presence each day. (Did that sting? It stings me too.)

White Paint - Baby Blue Background. Painting

The good news is that we can turn to God for direction and wisdom in all of this. “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). God longs for each of us to choose His set-apart best and live each day in His strength and wisdom.

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

Dear God, Please help me to “live a life worthy of You so that I may please You in every way: Help me to bear fruit in every good work, to grow in the knowledge of You, being strengthened with all power according to Your glorious might so that I may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the You, who has qualified me to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light” (Colossians 1:10-12).
In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:
· Spend some time in thought and prayer about this subject.
· Ask God to reveal to you any e-habits that are sinful, indulgent, unwise, or inappropriate.
· Check your computer and phone notification settings and consider eliminating unnecessary email and social media alerts.
· Read Ephesians 5:1-20.

TIP TIME:
A simple tip… A while back it occurred to me that one of the biggest time-sucking e-temptations for me came from the homepage I had chosen on my internet browser. I used to have my favorite cable news network set as my home page. Every time I logged on to the internet, the headlines begged me to click their links. So I went into the settings of my internet browser and chose a blank page for my homepage. Though it’s not overly exciting to have a blank homepage, it has helped me to be wiser with my time. Hope this spurs you on to similar responses!

Thanks for doing life with me!
Gwen

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Comments 6

  1. I make several of my emails devotions from various sources. I click to get to the zBible, I will sometimes read in different translations, and share with friends. I have a friend who faithfully sends a PDF of her verse and devotion. I feel like we are opening God’s Word together. I joined a 30 day challenge to fix up a room and though I’m handicapped and will require help, I have plans in my head…I’ve shared my testimony privately in detail and openly in my little talks our group has. As a shut in with the longer I’ve been in this condition, five years now, the more friends just slip away.
    I’ve been talking to cousins afar away about The Lord. I honestly believe the Holy Spirit

  2. Thanks so much. I don’t have Facebook or anything, but the trap I fall into is reading. I love a good book! But recently, I started getting into God’s Word and I can’t get out. It’s my new addiction, and I know it won’t last forever on its own, so I am extremely grateful for the reminder of just how important it is.

  3. thank you for today’ s message..I love the idea of having a blank homepage – though it looks boring – is better than setting it to your favorite homepage..this gave me the idea to do the same..it’s my habit to read the bible online and devotionals before the start of my shift, but many times I found myself reading the headlines, other news online, chatting with online friends, etc., until I realized it’s time for work already and my plan to read devotionals are gone..thank you for this reminder, it really requires discipline and prayer for God’s help..

  4. I agree that the lure of the internet is one that draws many away from God. I have one comment, though, regarding your suggestion that “Perhaps we could start by taking an honest look at the amount of time we commit to our e-lives versus the amount of time we commit to spending in God’s Word and in His presence each day”. I think that rather than splitting the two into one versus the other, we should be inviting God to enter into our online time, joining our e-lives with our spiritual lives. Social networking, email – these are great tools for fostering relationships and spreading God’s word. So instead of comparing our e-lives to our time spent with God, we should allow God to enter every aspect of our lives – including online – and guide us in how we live them, and how we use the time He’s given us.
    Just a thought on the phrasing of that quote.

    1. A great point. That statement was more about wasted time verses invested time. It is very easy to spend an hour on Pinterest and only 10 minutes in the Word or in prayer on any given day. But using social media to celebrate the LORD is awesome – for sure. 🙂

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