“And take heed to yourselves,
lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life,
and so that day come upon you unawares.”
Social media is an accelerator of life. Imagined threats are taken seriously, and real problems are turned into panic attacks. A little bit of publicity goes a long way.
Many folks are staying inside these days. The last hurrah of winter, the push for quarantining yourself has left most staring at some sort of screen. You, for instance have been guided to this site, on a phone, a tablet, or perhaps a laptop or smart tv. Screens are entertaining and influencing the mind of the masses in an unprecedented way.
Somehow we have come to believe that we are different from the ‘tv-watching’ generation that is our parents and grandparents. We feel that we are in a way better than they were, because of the control we are told that we wield over our devices.
Recently I had a teenager tell me with some smugness, “I don’t watch tv.” What he was declaring was that he did not sit down on a couch and turn on broadcast programming on a large screen in the middle of his house. No, in that sense he did NOT watch tv. This badge of goodness that he wore so proudly was as hollow as the understanding of what has happened. Television is alive and well, it just lives in your pocket now. The device has shrunk, but the grip they have on our way of life is breath-taking.
The Lord gave us the Scripture to deal with reality. Real history, unedited, and real prophecy, as accurate in its telling as in its fulfilling. As the Lord Jesus speaks in Luke 21, He is facing His own death. His disciples are worried, and like many of us, asked, “What’s next?”
He begins to describe for them their immediate future, the future of their nation, and the future of the world. Some of it has been fulfilled; all of it is very real. So real, that God’s plan will live on in His own words: “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” (Luke 21:33)
Real life is coming your way. Until the technological age, it would have been impossible to miss the obvious. But Christ Jesus knew we were living in the day of VIRTUAL reality instead of VERIFIED reality. So, He commences a warning in a very modern way.
The issue is being “overcharged.” We are very familiar with ‘charging’ devices like phones, iPads, headphones, and electric cars. Overcharging is when an electronic device is plugged in too long. They overheat, quit responding, shut down, and in some cases may be permanently damaged. (If you’ve ever used a cheap car charger, you’ve likely seen this.)
As damaging it is to the device to be plugged in too long, a mind can be just as damaged if too much time is given to screen use.
The Action of Overcharging Your Mind “Surfeiting”
The act of perusing a screen is still called ‘surfing.’ This word is found in the Bible as ‘surfeit’ which means to go overboard, or to overindulge. Social media promotes surfing even more, due to the format, a small phone screen, and because of the volume of information being pushed. Every opinion is voiced, sided with or against, turned into a trend, then liked or disliked and gossiped all over. YOU are supposed to sort and absorb all of this every day. The only way to stay on top of it all is to ‘surf’.
Surfing (to search through a network or channel for information or entertainment) gives you the feeling of staying current, and keeping up with what’s trending. Because the information comes at you small waves, you feel that you are in control. “Just a few minutes” you think, but before long, your eyes are watering with overcharge.
The Addiction of Overcharging “Drunkenness”
If drunkenness were limited to liquor or beer or wine, how blessed you would be. The truth is, that as you delve into the act of social media, you begin to form a rut in your mind that forges an addiction.
In the last 20 years, the availability of this intoxicant has multiplied. In my childhood, the broadcast tv stations would shut down at 11pm. There was no way to ‘connect with the world,’ or ‘stay current on community events’ after that. It was a limitation in technology that helped people regulate themselves.
Today, the torrent never stops. And people who are not taught to be disciplined will quickly become addicts. The Lord Jesus warned, “take heed… at any time.” Many people do their most destructive ‘surfing’ when folks are supposed to be sleeping. The shining screen is always there for you to give you the fix you have come to depend on.
The Assassination in Overcharging “Cares of this life”
So, how does it feel to know? You learn, you laugh, now you love it to the point of obsession, but what is really happening? The Lord connects us to an inside view of a mind that is overcharged with the cares of this life:
“And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.” –Luke 8:14
Better keep a good hold on that expensive smart phone. Believe me, it has a two-handed hold on you- around your neck!
Screen time (across devices, for all purposes) has more direct links to suicide than bullying does. If you don’t believe me, put down the phone and go read a book. (You’ll find my sources listed on my past reading list.) However, don’t think that physical assassination is the only danger. Adam made that mistake when he tried to know better. (see Genesis 3)
Spiritual suicide is being committed daily. The opportunity and ability to know the God of Creation, of Omniscience, of Eternity is traded for a screen. The Lord Jesus Christ who loved you despite your addictions, you have ignored. I believe there is nothing worse than love reciprocated with apathy. Christ wore the thorns so we wouldn’t have to. Yet we choose to choke on thorns instead of grow in grace.
The Accident of Overcharging “Unawares”
Very soon, you and I will have to stand before King Jesus and review our life. Don’t let that be the first time you look away from the phone. No one can prepare for you, and no one can force you to look up. It’s your will, but the warning is from GOD.
You will look up one day, and realize life has passed you by. Your chance at a career, at a family, at adventure, at true friendship will only be opportunities you will wish you had again. Youth will be traded for wrinkles, daylight shaded for nighttime, a smartphone replaced with a tombstone and a ‘time-saving device’ exchanged for timeless eternity.