Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. ESV Colossians 4:5
Due to an excellent observation
in a comment from Jenny, this post will address another issue regarding
Facebook. Your comments and thoughts are valuable. There have been a number of
good suggestions for posts in the last couple of weeks and, Lord willing, we
will get to them all.
Jenny raised an important
consideration in her comment. She raised the concept of “me time.” As Christians
our lives are to be centered on bringing honor to the name of God in all that
we do. (I Cor. 10:31; Col. 3:17, etc.) Our culture inundates us with the idea
that our first need is to care for ourselves. Yes, God is important, but only
as he or she meets our need for whatever spiritual vacuum we have that needs
filling. From a cultural standpoint the idea of spirituality is just another
part caring for myself first. Culturally, we are challenged every day to see
life in terms of self-fulfillment—my needs, my space, my time, my life and,
sadly, my god, whomever I deem her or him to be.
As Paul teaches in I
Corinthians 6, we are not our own, we have been bought with a price. It is
instructive to note that the context of this teaching that we are not our own
is a discussion of sexual conduct. What could be more intimate and personal
than your sexual life? Yet Paul says that even in this area we are not our own.
We are not free to choose how to behave sexually, based upon our assessments of
our needs. And, not surprisingly, the area of sexuality is one in which our
culture openly despises biblical truth. Sex is for you, in any way that you
wish to have it. You have the right to do with your body whatever you want.
Clearly, by asserting the value of self-fulfillment regarding sexual behavior, the
culture has not been friendly to Christianity.
If Paul says that you are not
your own in the intimate area of sexuality, certainly this same principle applies
to the rest of your life. In acknowledging the Lordship of Christ over your
sexual life, you will actually enjoy and benefit from sex more than if you
followed the calling of the culture for self-fulfillment. In other words pursuing
what I want apart from God is never a good or healthy practice.
From another perspective, let’s
say that you live on a farm far away from the urban sprawl. How helpful would
self-fulfillment be as a guide for living on a farm? Saying that you would
rather not go out and prepare the fields for harvest so you could catch up on
the latest status updates of your Facebook friends would seem a little bit
ridiculous. Or, waiting to milk the cows until tomorrow so you can play Word
Twist on Facebook or check out a friend’s latest blog entry—because I just need
time for myself—is equally ridiculous. Instead, as a Christian you should be
filled with gratitude that there are fields to harvest and cows to milk.
Okay, so you don’t live on a
farm. But you do live where God has purposed for you to live (Acts 17:26). Your
time is not your own, but purchased by God with the blood of Christ. God wants
you to make the best use of your time or, as the NIV translation says, to make the most of every opportunity.
To specifically address Jenny's
comment, your children are young for an amazingly short time. There are
opportunities to speak of God even when changing diapers. Changing a diaper
means that God has given you a precious child! You can’t separate the chore of dirty
diapers from the blessing of your child. This is part of who he is and what it
means to have him. If there were no diapers to change there would be no child.
So, even changing diapers is an opportunity to thank God for his faithfulness
to you. Here is a challenge: every time
you change a diaper, tell your child how thankful you are for him and thank God
for him. Grumpy diaper changing leads to a grumpy life.
With Facebook, you are
presented with an opportunity to learn about others and to influence those
outside the faith, at least in some small way. This can be a good thing.
However, there is the temptation to sit and be caught up for hours following
the endless rabbit trails of friends, groups to join, causes to become a fan of,
and games to play. You may call this "your time." But as we have
seen, your time is not your own. To improve your time management, perhaps you need
to set a limit for the time you will spend on Facebook. And while that may be
needed for some, an even better option is to turn away from our culture’s
calling for self-fulfillment. God provides you each day with the opportunity to
die to yourself and live for him. Facebook ought to be just something that you do
as a fun diversion when you have the time to squeeze it in. Things like serving
your family, studying God’s word, prayer, remembering the many ways God has
blessed you, reaching out to people in your church and community, etc., should
make Facebook time hard to find. It should be hard to find because your life is
crowded with the joy of living life for God’s glory. It is not your time, your
space, your life – it is God’s.