Maybe a better appeal is to title this series: “Cyber Guidelines….Positive steps to make you a better person!” Hmm that might work, but really? No; what matters is the motive of this appeal.
My motive for presenting these appeals to you in the form of commands is to demonstrate that foundational truths of Scripture can be applied to so many areas of our lives and that includes how we use the Internet.
Last time, the first “command” was a call to edify. There are a lot of things we can do with our time and technological resources. One way is to edify; encouragement can go a long way. Even words of admonishment or challenging quotes from godly men are useful. So if it builds up and is based on truth from God’s word, use it to the glory of God and the edification of others.
Today my appeal and the second command is, “thou shalt practice humility.” Now this one may appear to be strange for some. What do you mean by practicing humility? Well for one reason, the talk of humility is much easier than the practice of it. In fact, the lack of
humility in our lives is evident in so many ways and we should be fully aware of this glaring weakness. But how often do we practice it, especially when navigating in the cyber world?
Let me show you a couple of ways where we may be guilty of boasting but not boasting in Christ. I will say that this is not universally true of everyone but will help us think through some of our actions. Many people will post pictures of important events that have taken place. And only the Lord knows what is truly in their heart. If they are boastful about the picture or what it communicates, God knows this to be true. But the practice of humility should take it further than this.
For example, if you have been blessed to go on an extended vacation, how much does it benefit the person who may know of this extensive vacation but can hardly afford to pay his or her bills? Or what about those who are in another country who are not blessed as you are and do not understand how you can afford what appears to be an “elaborate” vacation. Or what if you have season tickets to events that cost a significant amount of money but there is someone else who hardly has enough money for gas? Now these things may seem to be trivial and to some extent they do. But what if we intentionally practice humility? Will we post less of these events, especially if they are not closely related to our desire to make Christ known?
Now there may be others who can come up with better examples than what I presented, but I am only asking that we take care in practicing humility in the cyber world. And here is where we can practice humility. While humility is an attitude, it is also an expression, or an action to be taken. And acts of true humility goes a long way as we live out the gospel in our lives.
The constant showcasing of family entertainment and other activities, while they may be helpful in some ways, can be a distraction and cause others to view it as boasting. Now again I say, that is not true of everyone, but just take a step back and look at your posts, emails, Instagrams, Vimeo……you name it. Take inventory of your online postings over lets say the past 3-4 months. What is the predominant theme? You may see it as something good and you did not intend to mislead or appear prideful but again, put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Think about others. If someone who has less financial resources and no context to understand why you published 100 pictures of your Cancun vacation, your pictures will give the impression you are living the high life.
You may say to yourself, “well they should not be judging.” But might we be guilty of giving them evidence to falsely judge us by?
So the practice of humility is a necessity for cyber users.
How is this done? How can God’s word help us?
Philippians chapter 2 is a very helpful passage on the practice
of humility. In one of the most affectionate epistles, Paul urged the church to do what is best for others at all times. Although the believer in that time did not have the benefit or curse of the Internet, there was a common problem: they were quick in thinking about themselves.
But Paul began his appeal to them based on their union with Christ. And in this union with Christ, there is a fellowship in Him and each other that sets the trajectory for us. This union with Christ joins us all together and we have a common faith, common fellowship, and a common goal. But staying the course is not always easy. Everyone has a personality and desires; often those desires can get in the way. Yet there is a solution to the problem: remembering the importance of practicing humility.
The call is to have humility of mind (Phil. 2:3). And with this humility of mind, we are to
consider others. Some scholars believe the word humility has a very close relationship with that of a slave. This slave had no rights and was subjected to the control of his master. He did not do what he wanted but only did what was commanded of him. He was lowly and without recognition. I wonder if our online verbiage fits the profile of an unworthy slave of Christ.
One more thought from this verse; humility of mind. The mind of humility is seen in how we employ our intellect as we consider what true humility should be like in our interactions and activities. The practice of humility takes careful thought and effort, because we are prone to forget we are at the disposal of our Master, Jesus Christ.
Our lives should be characterized by the practice of humility. This practice of humility is clearly seen in how we consider others whenever we post information, post quotes, or even how we vent our angst with the government. To be humble in spirit is to practice humility by considering how our daily posting on our favorite domain will be beneficial to others.
If we do so, many of our postings will be done with careful consideration.
Ultimately the greatest example of humility is our Lord and Savor Jesus Christ. What I love about Jesus is that He did not just exegete humility; He expressed humility. He did not just define humility; He displayed humility. Philippians chapter 2 and verse 8 said Jesus humbled Himself to the point of death on a cross. He willingly chose to become a suffering slave for His Father. He considered others above Himself, including His heavenly Father and sinners such as you and I. That is humility at its apex. He is our example and pattern to follow.
Whenever we consider humility as a subject to explore instead of an action to take, we will miss out on golden opportunities to practice humility. Jesus humbled Himself; so should we.
So how is your cyber humility? Take a test and find out just how much you are practicing humility in the cyber world.