Do you ever feel overwhelmed with the relationships in your life? Connecting with other people in today’s high-tech society often becomes a puzzle of putting the right-sized piece in the right place at just the right time. Back in high school, it was simple. You made friends with certain people in your class until a negative encounter happened, then you moved to another group in the class. Your friendships were dictated by your physical sphere of influence. Today, your friendships are influenced by technology. Technology can enhance contact between people, but its standards don’t apply to our relationship with God.
God wants to have a devoted, close-knit, loving, and transparent relationship with you. Why? Because He loves you and knows you. Technology allows us to create a fake self. We know people on a surface level because we follow their lives through a series of online reported activities. At the core of Internet-based relationships is a sense of anonymity, but at the core of our existence is a desire to be known. In the very beginning of the bible we find that God knows us. In Genesis 2, we see God looking for a mate for Adam. He knows Adam so deeply that He knows that nothing yet created would fulfill Adam’s desire for relationship. God created for Adam, from Adam, a perfect match for him. God knew Adam was better in relationship with someone else, and He knew Adam deeply enough to fulfill His desire. God created you, and He knows you deeply too. He wants you to know Him deeply as well. From that relationship with Him, He wants to provide you with a community of people for you to be known by others.
Another danger approaching our spiritual relationship with God is that He does not communicate in the same way we value. In technology-based communication, responses are immediate. If we don’t get a message back, we message again until we get a response. We sleep with our phones on our pillows or right next to our beds, just in case someone might need an immediate response. God desires to relate to us on a level that is so intimate that sometimes an immediate response is not the best thing for us. The problem is that when that does happen, we seldom realize it at the time.
In 1 Kings 19, we see that Elijah was feeling desperate to hear from God. Angels provided for Elijah, but he still wanted God Himself. He stood at the opening of a cave and waited to hear from God. In the silence, when Elijah least expected it, God revealed Himself. In John 11, Mary and Martha longed for Jesus to show up and help their brother. Just when they thought it was too late, Jesus showed up and changed their lives by performing a miracle and raising their brother, Lazarus, from the dead. In Psalm 46, God says, “Be still and know that I am God.” There’s a danger in applying our technology-based communication expectations to a God who holds time in His hands.
The last threat to our relationship with Christ is simply our ability to filter information. The world around us is fast-paced. We have cell phones that will make different sounds based upon what it is trying to tell me (now that’s a smart phone). Our attention span is a rare resource that the world fights to grab hold of even if it only for a few seconds. The way to win is to create an experience that makes an impression on people. God created an experience for us that changed our lives when He sent Jesus to die on a cross for us and redeemed us through Him. He was interested in our ability to trust Him, not to be entertained by Him.
In Hebrews 11, our faith is described as being about finding assurance in the things we hope for in Christ. Often times we only get unseen things as our only evidence. Our need for constant entertainment makes it even more difficult to put our trust in something that we can’t see. If we are waiting for God to show Himself to us in an entertaining, impression-making performance we will likely be very disappointed and could lead to a lack of trust in God and who God is. Even God’s own description of Himself to Moses in Exodus 3 requires Moses to put a lot of faith in Him. God calls Himself “I am.” He will not change, and we can absolutely put all our faith in that.
Technology has changed the way we communicate, opened doors for business, made the gospel more accessible to the world, and deepened relationships across physical boundaries. As a generation trying to figure out how to juggle the difficult relationships in our technology-driven lives, it’s important to remember that the truths found in the Scriptures still stand true today.
Our relationship with God is not held to the same standards as our relationship with people. Let your study of the Bible and God’s personal revelation to you be the standard for relationship to Him. God demands more from us than a simple status update. He wants you to reveal all of yourself to Him. In this time of shallow technology-driven relationships, we should challenge ourselves to get back to having more deep personal relationships with others. Our relationship with God is a good place to start.