10 Commandments for Social Media (Commandment # 4)

        Perhaps as we start to focus on this fourth commandment, we need to be reminded again that in the “Ten Commandments” given us in Exodus 20 and then repeated often in scripture, that the first four center around our view, relationship and worship of God (hence, our OBEDIENCE to Him), and the last six are the out-workings of our relationship with God, as it is demonstrated in our treatment of other human beings. Also to remind ourselves that Jesus Himself, when answering the lawyer who came to question Him, in quoting “the greatest command,” did not state it without tying it together with “the second,” which is “like unto the first … thou shalt love thy neighbor, as thyself.” Jesus completed the lesson saying, “On THESE TWO commandments HANG ALL THE LAW & THE PROPHETS.” Wow, did you catch that statement? On these two hang ALL the rest of scripture! You could sum up the entire purpose of God as revealed in scripture in these commands – loving God with all your heart, soul, mind & strength … and then demonstrating that in everyday life by caring for the needs of others, as you care for your own needs. That is a sermon in itself, isn’t it!

        Reading and obeying this fourth command is hard for us today, especially in America … in our “busy” society, our “rush, rush” lifestyle, our “multi-tasking” activity.  I think this command is VERY HARD … to STOP … and REST … but GOD did! We think we “always have to be doing something!”  Even in that mentality, I personally think a lot of us are just “running.” Running from choices we’ve made, running from consequences of those choices, running from relationships, running from responsibility, running from ourselves, & yes, even attempting to run from God.

        When you think about it, doesn’t that sound absurd? I mean if God is Who He says He is (and He is), can you imagine any created being trying to “run” from God! I’ve often said, ‘to me, one of the funniest passages in all of scripture is Jonah 1:3’ – “But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.” Really Jonah … you are going to get away from the presence of Almighty God? So, Jonah … how’d that one work out for you? Maybe you should have read Ps. 139:7-12 before taking that adventure. “Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Your presence?”… By the way folks, how many times can you think of where reading & grasping a better understanding of scripture (God’s Word for us) could have saved us a whole bunch of trouble?  

        We have become, at best, “Martha” Christians, when what we really need is to learn to be a “Mary” Christian. You do remember Mary & Martha don’t you, the sisters of Lazurus – the special friend of Jesus, the one He raised from the dead? Oh, to develop a “Mary heart.” Perhaps then we could rephrase with a different meaning a proverb, “A ‘Mary’ heart does good, like a medicine!” Believe it or not … there is a lot of truth in that statement! In all of Martha’s running & cooking & doing good things, thinking surely this will score me some “Brownie points” with Jesus … He instead spoke truth into her life,  “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Lk. 10:41,42 What was that good portion that would not be taken from Mary? She “sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard His word.” Oh dear people … to REST like that! What would that “do” for you?  Here is our fourth commandment for Social Networking:

  4)               Remember to set aside a day each week specifically for reverence & honor to God. Set apart one day as God did, to rest. (This doesn’t negate the fact that every day is the Lord’s (Rom.14:5,6), it only emphasizes the fact that you are supremely dedicating in a unique way, 1/7th of your time to focus on your Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ.)

 Exo 20:8-11  Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

 

Wow … here are at least SOME of the key thoughts we should ponder:

1)     Remember that special day of each week …

2)     Keep it holy

3)     On the seventh day, you shall NOT do ANY work … instead, rest & reflect

4)     The Lord set the example in place during His week of Creation …

5)     He blessed & hallowed that day & set it apart … we are supposed to as well …

        Okay, let’s break this down a bit, take it out of the realm of theory and bring it into the world of practicality. Let’s put some “working clothes” on our Christianity! I will attempt to be brief, but give us a bit of a “handle” on each one … you can personalize it for you. Expand it, pray over it, ask God to make it real in your life. That’s the only way this Christian life becomes real … through personal obedience to God!

1)     Remember that special day of each week

        I am finding that each of these parts requires a personal discipline on my part. This one is the mental faculty at work. Mark it on your calendar if necessary to remind yourself. Remember, “the part of us that works the best is our forgetters!” Get the help of others (accountability) by sharing with them that on this day each week, you will not be doing any “non-emergency” communications on Facebook or any other social media “toys,” oh sorry, I meant to say “tools!” (Until you try this one, you can’t imagine how hard it is! Remember Paul’s words to us in I Cor.9:26,27 –  So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.)

        This will be hard … to keep your fingers off the keyboard, to not turn that music on, to not pick up the remote control, to not respond to that personal note on Facebook today. Remember, UNLESS it is an absolute emergency! If it is … then answer. Jesus said to “get the ox out of the ditch on the Sabbath,” He also healed on the Sabbath didn’t He? (Maybe, if it’s not an emergency, you could just give them a “heads up” that you’re taking a day of rest from the messages and will be back tomorrow. Trust me … in most cases, it will be okay. The world will not fall apart without our thoughts or feedback on most subjects!)

2)      Keep it holy

        Don’t be afraid of the word. Holy simply means in our context, something that is set apart, clean, dedicated or consecrated to, or sanctified. I look at it this way – “sanctification” means something that is set apart for God’s use alone. This one takes the mental and spiritual discipline of focusing ONLY on the things of God that bring glory to Him and will count for eternity.

        There are two aspects of making this work, much the same as a battery to start and run your car. There is a negative terminal and there is a positive terminal. BOTH must be connected to complete the cycle and accomplish its purpose. So it is with something “set apart” for God. There MUST be a separation from and a separation to in order for this to work. Or if you will, a “putting off” and a “putting on” as scripture reminds us in the New Testament (Eph.4:22-24 & Col.3:9,10).  This one obviously flows naturally into the next aspect, which should help put some “handles” on this for each of us.

3)     On the seventh day, you shall NOT do ANY work … instead, rest & reflect

        So, here’s how this works for me. On this day in particular I must not give myself or my time to those things which I might otherwise enjoy doing or working on. This might mean not turning the television on! Uh oh … did I just lose you? Did you just decide to stop reading this article? Did you just feel your hair rising on the back of your neck & “claws” coming out from under your fingernails? Are you ready now to fight for & defend your television? LOL! No need … I like television as much as the next guy. I’m just saying, if we are going to take this command seriously, it is going to “cost” us something. It may be your video games, your computer games, your crossword puzzles, your music, your YouTube … whatever. Let’s allow God to personalize that one for you … I expect (from what I know personally of the Holy Spirit) He’s already done that.

        Here’s what this means … there has to be the removal of the normal activity of this day, in order to give that time instead over to learning God’s way of thinking about my life choices. So, in the removing of daily habits of “time – use,” now that time is for “rest & reflection.” I now use that time to fill my mind & heart with scripture (not that I don’t do that every day, but now there is more time – quality & quantity, given over to His mind as revealed in  scripture). This is also time given to reflect back on this week’s activities – things I did, things I wrote on Facebook, etc.. Go back & review what you wrote, what you shared from other’s sites, etc.. As you look at them now, in retrospect … do they fit the categories listed by Paul, under the inspiration of God, in Phil.4:8 – “whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely & of a good report?”

        Learn from this reflection. Maybe there are some things that need to be deleted (and if deleted, maybe an explanation in their place telling “why” you removed it – this is a way of keeping a clear conscience). Remember, if we are going to be involved in social media, it needs to be done in a way that it reflects well on the name and testimony of our God (refer back to Commandment #3). Use this, not only as a learning time personally but also as a teaching time for others that may follow your posts. This is part of our Christian duty with other believers “teach & admonish one another.” It may also be that this day of reflection & solitude to God will bring out some wonderful lessons to be shared with others in the coming week, even some things to be shared devotionally with your family or Core Group at church. Cultivate a lifestyle of proactive growth patterns in your life. Remove the rocks, dirt clods & weeds … work the soil … fertilize the good seed … water the field!

4)     The Lord set the example in place during His week of Creation

        You do remember don’t you that we have been created in His image and after His own likeness? There are specific ingredients God put in us as His finest creation that are not found in either material things created or in the creature world outside of man. Use this time to worship Him, to wonder at His majesty, to pay Him homage for making you after His own image. After all, He did personally pay the price for my redemption with His own Son and His perfect, pure  & precious blood (I Pet.1:18,19)! Reflect on His goodness in your life, after all “He daily loads us with benefits!” Thank Him! Praise Him! Remember Him! Look back on His blessings! Count your blessings … name them one by one … count your many blessings … see what God has done!

5)     He blessed & hallowed that day & set it apart,we are supposed to as well

        You know, there is a quality that comes into your life when you hallow that day to the Lord. There is a rest & peace … a “settled-ness.” When you think about it … a day of rest is very much like a day of fasting. You are doing without “natural things” to give yourself over to “supernatural” purposes. If you’ve ever taken a fast – whether it be from food, or from a favorite thing you like to do – maybe music, or t.v., or games, or sports of some kind, a personal pleasure … there are at least two things that become obvious.

        One is to discover how much “control” that particular delight had over you. The second is to discover a “gold mine” of other good things God has given to us – perhaps things eternal. Things that bring peace instead of turmoil. Answers instead of more questions (Jms. 1:5-8; 3:17,18). Spiritual “sowing” instead of “fleshly sowing” (Gal. 6:7-10). Health instead of disease (Pro. 17:22). Comfort instead of anxiety. Rest instead of hurry. Joy instead of “happiness.” Depth instead of shallowness. Maturity instead of childishness. Quiet instead of noise.

      Do these “gifts” (peace, answers, health, comfort, rest, joy, depth, maturity, quiet) sound inviting?

Put God to the test!

Go ahead … He’s up to the challenge!

He will bless & hallow your day!

In the words of Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof” …

Good Sabbath!      Shalom!  

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