We are afraid

{Philippians 4:8-9; ESV}

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Our culture is dominated by mass media. We have many forms of communication and sources of information vying for our attention, and at times it is a bit overwhelming. The result of this media over load is that our lives are filled with so much information, from the morning newspaper to the latest blockbuster, that it is hard to find time to be alone with just our thoughts.

In fact, I believe, this is one reason why we have allowed our lives to be consumed by media: We are afraid to be alone with our thoughts. When we dwell in silence, our thoughts will lead us to ponder the great ancient questions of life: Who am I? Is there a God? Isn’t there more to life? and Why am I here? These questions demand an answer.

This reality creates an intellectual deficient for modern people. Rather than wrestling with the hard questions of life, we become more concerned with who will win this season of The Voice, what the guys on The Big Bang Theory will do this week, what the newest album from Katy Perry sounds like, what Kim Kardashian is wearing, what President Obama’s next failure will be, and how many touchdowns Peyton Manning will throw this season. All these things distract us from what is truly important.

Even more than that, I have come to believe that all this media has drowned out the voice of God. Not only are people distracted from the questions that lead them to seek God, but with all the other voices shouting in their hearts, the still small voice of God cannot be heard. He has been drowned out, and people wonder why He hasn’t revealed Himself to them.

A few summers ago I helped at a high school week of camp. One day I heard a few of the girls talking about how much they missed their iPods, and how they couldn’t wait to get back home so they could listen to their music. In that moment I realized that even though they didn’t have earphones on their ears, and even though the music wasn’t cranked, their favorite songs were still drowning out the voice of God. They were distracted from hearing the truth that God had for them.

It makes me wonder if the Church doesn’t contribute to this problem when we have movie nights at church and camp, use video clips in our messages, and make Christian entertainers role models for people to follow. Aren’t we just adding to the “noise” that already exists in a person’s heart?

As we seek to reach the world with the Gospel, we have to focus on two realities.

  1. We live in an age of mass media. That is not going to change. Instead of bashing media of our day, we need seek to redeem it for God’s purposes. The question we need to ask is: How can we use this for God’s glory? We can’t accept everything that comes down the pike, but neither can we blindly reject. Cell phones, iPods, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube videos are now part of the way our culture communicates, so we need to figure out how to use these new forms of media to share God’s truth.
  2. People are distracted. They are distracted from the pain of their next door neighbor, the terrible conditions of the poor around the world, and even from the needs of their own children. The parent who is constantly online (smart phone, tablet, laptop) because of their job is just as distracted as the teenage couch potato who plays Call of Duty for five hours straight. The Church needs help people simplify their lives, so they are able to hear God’s still small voice as they read Scripture, pray, worship, fellowship with other believers, and serve those in need.

We live in a culture that is noisy. The constant media that is available to us makes it hard for us to find times of silence. It is in the silence that we are best able to hear God’s voice. One of the tasks of the Church is to help people create silence in their lives, so they can hear the voice of God.

Questions to consider:

  • How can we help people to hear the voice of God?
  • What obstacles do you have to hearing God’s voice?
  • What steps can we take to better hear God?


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