Don’t expect a single book, article or blog post to address all the issues that 21st Century Christians face. I well understand the desire for quick, easy answers because I personally don’t want to do the hard work of studying Scripture to apprehend the Lord’s perspective on a given matter. Such study demands time, effort and concentration, and those requirements go against our habit of two-minute sound bytes on the evening news and 140 character tweets.
Let me hasten to say that I love social media. Having a disability that isolates me from so much activity and interaction that most people take for granted, I very much appreciate how the Internet and various software programs have opened up my world. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and blogging are valuable tools for me, as are e-Sword and Paint Shop Pro. And having met John online, I praise God for chat rooms and Instant Messages.
At the same time, I see it feeding my laziness and my desire for instantaneous satisfaction. Rather than grappling with a challenging passage, I’ll look for commentaries with concise explanations that don’t ask a lot of me. And I rather suspect that, shallow as it is, my Bible reading/study time goes deeper than those of most evangelicals.
Looking back on my years in the Charismatic church, I think my craving for “personal words from God” resulted from my unwilliingness to search God’s Word carefully. I frankly didn’t know how to do so. Even now, I often feel unsure where to begin in examining certain questions against Scripture. But those feelings of uncertainty actually betray my intellectual sloth. And that tendency toward easy answers, while perhaps aided and abetted by the culture of Twitter and Facebook, can’t really be blamed on social media. The root problem lies solely in my selfish heart.
As you read this confession, I hope you’ll do your own moral inventory concerning your attitude and approach to Scripture. Join me, please, in imitating those First Century Bereans who diligently measured the preaching of the apostle Paul against the Old Testament Scriptures.
10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. ~~Acts 10-12 (ESV)
Studying God’s Word takes discipline and hard work, both of which seem outdated in our high tech society. Yet when we invest our time and energy into such study, His Spirit speaks through those words that He Himself inspired, giving us treasure well worth our effort.