You should take a moment and watch this video. It will definitely put your life into perspective. It is worth a minute of your life.
What keeps our faith from being authentic? It is hard to stay focused on God. I believe that our lives of comfort make it even harder for Christians, especially teenage Christians, to say focused on their relationship with the Lord. Here are my thoughts on what distracts first world people from relationship with God.
“Recent research is changing this view. Instead of dopamine causing you to experience pleasure, the latest research shows that dopamine causes seeking behavior.” – Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D.
“But I’m reading my Bible!” When looking over a room full of youth during Bible study or worship, an alarming number of them have their cell phones out. Many are reading their Bibles on a Bible app, but far too many are texting, tweeting, facebooking, snap-chatting, instagramming, etc. Studies have shown that we get a release of dopamine every time that we check our phones, which gives us a sensation of pleasure. It is positive reinforcement. It is a reward. In essence, when we are asking our youth to put their phones away, we are denying them pleasure.
Cell phones are a blessing and a curse. It is great to be able to immediately get in contact with people for important matters. However, they can also be an incredible time-suck. I get a strange satisfaction every time that my phone dies. I can be by myself. I don’t have to worry about others getting mad at me for not answering texts or returning phone calls. I can focus on other things.
I cannot think of a time when my cell phone has brought me closer to to God, but I can think of many examples when it has interrupted my time with God.
There is no easy answer to the problem of cell phones, and there probably isn’t ONE answer. So… I want to hear from you.
• How do you control cell phone use in your personal life? In youth group?
Does your schedule honor yourself, or God?
Recently, I had a conversation with a coworker of mine. I asked him, “Is it bad that I feel more relaxed because Seminary is starting, I’m teaching an online course, and I’ve got my work here to do.” He said, “you’re just used to being busy. Me too.”
Should Christians constantly be busy?
Too often, I tell people that I don’t have time to help them with their issues. Jesus was never too busy.
When Jesus heard that his friend John the Baptist was beheaded, he went to be alone and mourn. The crowds followed him, and when he saw them, he had compassion on them (Matthew 14:10-25). I don’t think that I would have acted the same way. I would not have had the same grace for my neighbor. Does your busy schedule keep you from loving your neighbor?
Second, I find purpose in being busy. I feel as though I am constantly accomplishing something. My motivation, however, is selfish. Instead of being proud that I completed a weeks worth of lesson plans in one day, I should be focused on tasks that bear eternal significance.
Does your schedule honor yourself, or God?
Our love for God should be so contagious that others have no choice but to be inspired.
I am frustrated by my own apathy, as well as the spiritual apathy I see among many of today’s teenagers. When Elijah reached the point that he was frustrated, discouraged and afraid, he ran away (1 Kings 19). The most convicting part of this story is where God asks Elijah, “What are you doing here.” Too often, I wallow in self-pity and miss opportunities to share the Gospel with others.
How do you combat apathy and encourage others overcome their spiritual apathy? Pray. Jesus said that we must take the plank out of our own eyes before we take the speck out of our brother’s eye (Matthew 7:5).
To combat apathy, we must present the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a compassionate and loving way. We must ensure that those listening understand that the love and grace of God is so exciting, so relatable, and so incredible that they cannot stop thinking about it. Our love for God should be so contagious that others have no choice but to be inspired.
“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24).
For me, this is one of the most convicting passages in scripture. i have a great house, two reliable cars, a great job, a gym membership, money in the bank, and an adorable cat. The American dream.
What happens when our comfort gets in the way of sharing the Gospel? What happens to people who never hear the Gospel? David Platt provides one of the most well-articulated answers to this question. Essentially, God has made himself known to all people. Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God has lovingly provided a way for all peoples to have salvation. Since we, as believers, have this knowledge, it is our job to share it with all nations. Those unreached people never hear the gospel, because we don’t take it to them.
We have been entrusted with a tremendous amount of resources. It is our job to ensure that they are working for Kingdom causes, instead of early causes.
Our relationship with God should inspire us to be obedient to Him.
Every type of relationship has the potential to distract us from God. We were created to be relational creatures. If these relationships become more important to us than our relationship with God, they can become an idol in our lives.
God called us to love one another, and when we do that, it is an act of obedience to Him.
In school and in church, I see a lot of boyfriend-girlfriend relationships that are obsessive. These relationships demand more time, emotion, and attention than the time that is invested with God. The Lord fills our every need. We don’t need to seek approval in other people. Do you have relationships in your life that distract you from God? Our relationship with God should inspire us to be obedient to Him.
Pray about what areas of your life detract from your relationship with God. We love one another because He first loved us. I pray that we use the resources that we’ve been entrusted with to further the Kingdom of God. I pray that we maintain a right perspective, and understand that we are the way that God has chosen to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.