Facebook, Meth, and the Real World.
The human body is a masterpiece. Fine tuned for action, beautifully sculpted, incredibly efficient. One of the incredible things about our bodies is that they thrive on being happy, energized, and focused. Perfectly designed so that when we accomplish a task, or reach a goal, we feel pleasure. Our brain produces chemicals like dopamine, Achetycholine, and seratonin. Naturally, these neurotransmitters stimulate and regulate your body every day. Keeping you generally happy and healthy.
Our bodies naturally should feel happy and healthy, and left to their own devices, they generally do a pretty good job. So what happens, when you exchange the natural stimulants of your body for unnatural stimulants? Take Meth, for instance. Naturally, certain chemicals (as stated above) take care of your mood, focus, and pleasure centers. Meth, imitates. Dopamine makes you happy and feel pleasure, Meth does too. For a short time, but intensified. Acetycholine makes you focus. So does Meth, for a short time. But, it's deceptive.
A drug user will initially feel great. They'll feel pleasure more intensely, be able to focus, feel happy... for a little while. It pretends to be like the natural function long enough for you to get hooked. It pretends to be REAL. A user will feel more on top of the world than ever before, like they are a confident, capable, social person. Why didn't I ever do this before? they'll think. And at first, there's not a good answer.
But just wait. It wears off. You need more of it, more than you have ever needed something in your life. The need for it consumes you. And then, it begins to eat away at your body. Your body was not made for meth. It was made for dopamine, and seratonin, and Achetycholine. When meth takes over, your body stops functioning. Your hair falls out, your teethe rot, you get sores... you go crazy. Eventually your body stops producing the natural chemicals, and you can never get back. You will have exchanged the natural for the unnatural, and it will kill you.
This is what we do.
God created us in a beautiful, functional, perfect way. To walk in good works. To glory in his relationship. To get fulfillment out of work. To get pleasure out of marriage. It is our natural style of living, our created mode. It is right and true. It works. However, we think we have a better way. So we substitute God's glorious ways for our own. And the deceptive thing about sin? Just like meth, it works for a little while. It imitates how we are SUPPOSED to feel. But in the end, it's corruptible, and it corrupts us. And it kills us.
Read this passage in Romans 1. It's what sparked this whole post.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
We KNEW God. This (pardon the movie reference) shatters my entire universe. We know the incorruptible and yet, we exchanged it. As I have been pondering this, I have been wandering, what in my life am I exchanging God's incorruptible glory for the corruptible? I can happily say, that I am not doing meth, but sometimes the corruptible things aren't that obvious. They aren’t necessarily even that “bad” looking from the outside. They imitate or appeal to the truth in me, but aren't the truth.
Take the rather fake world of Facebook. Okay, I feel you sighing, and raising your eyebrows and saying “Oh, brother! She’s gonna guilt trip me and tell me that facebook of Satan” through my computer screen. Don’t worry, I’m not going to. I’ll keep the guilt tripping to a minimum, especially considering I am an active participant of the Facebook world. With that said... I have some developed some recent convictions.
As humans, we are created for relationships. God said it wasn’t “good for a man to be alone.” We are created for family, friends, spouses. As an extravert I thrive off of people, talking, fun, and socializing. I like people liking me! I like PEOPLE!!!! Wohoo!... Okay, you get the idea. And that’s aye-okay! The way God meant it to be. There is a deep desire for camaraderie built in our souls.
Facebook plays into that desire. First of all, Facebook is always there, ever available. Bored at home? Someone ought to be on Facebook, right? Feeling forgotten? Post a status on Facebook and see how many people like it. Feel like you’re not involved in anyone’s life? Check out other peoples facebooks.
We’ve ALL done it.
So, you may be wandering, what’s wrong with this? Nothing is inherently wrong with it. Especially the desires. It’s NATURAL to want people. NATURAL to be lonely. NATURAL to want to have friends. But here’s the thing, God made a REAL world. With touchable, real people to fill this need. He made families and friends and neighbors. Sometimes, living in a disappointing world as we do, we WILL feel lonely. But the fact remains that there is a REAL world. Facebook just imitates. Liking a status doesn’t mean you know someone. Writing on someone’s wall doesn’t mean you’re friends with someone. It’s not real. Nothing can replace the beauty, and warmth of true friendship. And, in the long run, if you were to totally substitute the reality of friendship, for something like Facebook, you would find yourself more alone than ever.
It’s exchanging the incorruptible for the corruptible.
It’s like substituting a natural body chemical for a drug.
Don’t get me wrong. Facebook isn’t the hypothetical meth of the world, but it’s one example of our pitiful attempts to make our own way instead of God’s. And they really are pitiful.
God comes up with Friendship... We come up with facebook.
God comes up with marriage... We come up with uncommitted, broken, relationships.
God comes up with Sunrises... We come up with computer screens.
God comes up holiness... We come up with sin.
I think God wins.
The thing is, God's way of life, His incorruptible glory, is AWESOME! It's full of life, joy, peace, purpose! It makes us thrive. It's living as we were supposed to! He has set a real world out before us. With real people, real purpose, real holiness. More real than any substitute that we could come up with. Just like our natural chemicals make our bodies happy, so living in God's perfect, beautiful design, makes life as it ought to be... Glorious!
I want to live that way.
So in my search for the incorruptible glory of God, this afternoon sitting on my front porch drinking tea, I made a list of my incorruptibles and my corruptibles. Now when I say “incorruptible” I don’t mean that they can’t be corrupted, but rather that they are the eternal and REAL things that will make my soul thrive. They are the dopamines, as opposed to the meth. The corruptibles are the substitutes to the glory God has created us for. Take a looksies.
My relationship with God
God's real world and created order
The World’s approval
“Fake” impressions of friendship... like social networking creates
This is just a tiny list that could extend on a long long paper reaching from my door to yours, I am sure. However... I didn’t think you’d want to read all of that, So I just wrote a few. As I have written these, I have been convicted in my heart that I need to HONESTLY, and ACTIVELY seek what is TRUE, REAL, and INCORRUPTIBLE. I am setting out a battle plan. And part of it, I am sharing with you, oh ye never ending world of the internet. I am quitting Facebook and and blogging for a while. Just to focus on seeing what is REAL. I want to focus on my real relationships, real sunrises, real work... The real stuff. I will be committing the time I would otherwise spend seeking substitutes, for seeking reality. And God's glory. And I have a real good feeling about it. I’ll let you know what I find when I come back. :)
WHEW. That was a long blog post. Thank you for the honor of sticking with me in my ramblings.
And so I leave you with this question; What are the incorruptibles you are trading for corruptibles? I challenge you to seek God’s true glory in your life; the real, intended, incorruptible glory. That’s what I’m gonna try and do.
Christ’s grace and peace to you, my fine feathered friends!