As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. – John 15: 9-12
Part of Lectio Divina is literally praying the words and seeing how God speaks to you by maybe bringing to light one word or phrase you need to contemplate. I try to pray the “sexy” words that our popular for pious people, “love, abide, joy, full, etc”. Nice and fuzzy like a baby kitten. But not so this time round. The Holy Spirit wanted to humble me… and humbled I am.
The two words I kept coming back to were “Father” & “Commandment”. Now I’m not a notorious rebel, but I have had my moments. I actually have a pretty awesome family and father I’m proud to call my dad. But really, daddy time in prayer? What was God up to? Did I have some repressed pain or issues to deal with? Yes.
But it wasn’t something you’d expect. I realized my father on earth (great but not perfect), and my father in heaven (great AND perfect) – never commanded me to do anything that was against my well being. Now I realize I’m blessed and not everyone has had this experience in their families where there is abuse and neglect. My heart breaks for those who have that evil in their lives.
But the truth is still there – how could someone who completely loves you desire anything but the best for you (especially a God who’s love is unconditional?) And if that is the case, why do I struggle to follow those loving commandments? Let me suggest lack of trust, discipline, and self love. We need to be patient with ourselves, but aware enough to know that the problem and solution lies within through the grace and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
So what does Paul Miller and the Internet have to do with this?
Well, everything. Most of my fights with my dad and God are generally because how I receive a commandment, and my own sinfulness. But it is so easy to blame the others! Fun too sometimes!
Paul was jaded with the internet. He wanted to find his true self. What he discovered was his “hidden self” was already there on or offline. Sure he writes about the first month being awesome riding his bike, writing, etc. But then he mentions how vices return and laziness comes out in new forms. He can’t blame the internet – so where does he look? Inside. He has the great insight that online or offline, our lives ultimately are determined by the choices we make, the promises we keep, and the discipline we have to do what brings us life.
It is time to stop blaming the Internet
This brings us back to being intentional. You can waste your life as a hermit or a social media junkie. Paul saw the giftedness of being offline, but also the tragic reality that he didn’t Skype with his niece for a whole year. It was beautiful to see him dedicating and desiring his next year for others. I wish him well on that plan.
Then what should we do?
- Be grateful for today.
- Choose the true, good and beautiful.
- Be intentional with time, online or off.
- Presume the good in others, especially those that love and guide us.