Victorious Secrets, Pt. 4

Social media and technology have changed our relationships. I love technology and enjoy scrolling through social media and posting. But, being consumed with social media and technology detracts from what God has for us. John 13:34 tells us people will know we are His disciples by our love for each other. But in this day and time, how we show love can be affected by technology.

Let’s look at the word “friend” and how its definition has changed. In the past, a friend was someone you did life with. Currently, people have an average of 338 Facebook friends but only 2 close friends. This number of friends is down from 6 in the past 20 years. Social media has introduced an addiction phenomenon to immediate affirmation. For example, if I post a selfie (after four or five tries to get just the right picture), it won’t be long before I get a few likes and maybe a comment or two. This actually causes a dopamine release which can be addictive. It meets a short term need but defers a deeper need. It prolongs aloneness known as “deferred loneliness”. It leaves us living for likes but longing for love. Friendships online also give us power to do relationships on our own terms. We can read and not respond. We can ignore it. We can manage the relationship from a distance and we can post what we want people to see and leave out what we don’t want people to see. Yet, with all our online “friends”, it is remarkable that people crave more personal interaction than ever before. So, how do we get back to real friendships and improve our family relationships?

Heb 10:24-25 exhorts us, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another.” In another place, we are told, “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” Friendships really develop when we gather. Life is done together in person. Church is about being together and building our lives with the people around us. It is about experiencing God's presence together. There is something powerful when we come together. How did God show His love to us? He didn't shout his love from heaven but showed His love on earth by sending Jesus. Have you been settling for less? What can you do?

Be present with one another. Love people face to face. Don't just pretend to love each other. Be ready to help each other and practice hospitality. Instead of texting someone to let them know you’re thinking of them, let them know you are praying for them. Better than that, call them and pray with them and encourage them. Best yet, sit with them, hold their hand and pray for them. We are better together.

When you are with people, be engaged, physically and emotionally. If you are at coffee with someone, leave the phone in your pocket. You will not miss out on anything. People can leave messages or texts for you and you can pick them up later when you are by yourself. What will matter at the end of your life? Will you regret missing the funny cat video or will you regret not spending more time with your loved ones? It will be how much we loved that will matter. If you’re going to be afraid of anything, be afraid of missing out on the person sitting in front of you. Show love by action. Get involved in their lives. Open your heart to do life together.
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