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The World Today

    As one of the deacons here at Southside, I have been asked to submit a bulletin article in support of our one-year plan centered around the theme of “Come to Jesus.”  The topic given to me was “The World Today.”

    In this article I am going to be talking in generalizations.  I understand that there are always exceptions.  I also am going to be concentrating my thoughts on Americans since I have no other experience with any others, so you might as well title this “The United States Today.”

    Let’s begin in 2 Timothy 3:1-5: “But realize this, that in the last days, difficult times will come.  For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.”  Do you know individuals here in American that resemble those attributes?  I do, and the sad thing is, I am one of these folks from time to time!

    In America, it would seem, that with advances in technology, wealth and education, people tend to be more self-centered and do not harken to Matthew 22:36-39 where Jesus explains that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.  The second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.

    A dangerous slope that I think most individuals are headed down is become addicted to their smartphones.  The more you use your smartphone, the increase in the following behaviors are evident:

    (1)  Instant gratification – You can text someone, look at a video, stream a show, listen to a song immediately unlike in previous times when you had to leave someone a message on an answering machine, wait next week for the next show or listen on the radio for the song you want to hear come on.  All of this flies in the face of what being a Christian is all about.  Satan seems to be using this addiction to cell phones as one of his schemes because individuals want results right now.  They are not willing to live a life where the reward is in the distant future and one they cannot physically see.  Unlike Joseph in Genesis 39 or Moses in Hebrews 11 who gave up opportunities in this life for the reward in the afterlife, individuals are being influenced with wanting their happiness and rewards right now, and it fosters an attitude that does not reflect self-discipline and self-denial.

    (2)  Face-to-face interaction –  Individuals are being influenced to communicate via texting, email or social media.  Folks are not interacting in an individual, face-to-face manner and their social skills are not being developed.  Satan is using this so individuals feel very comfortable talking to one another about anything, much less the Gospel.  I have seen this in my own family where everyone has their earbuds in and are “plugged in” to their own little world and no one is communicating with each other.  How can this be good for the family relationship when there is no interaction between parents and children?  How are children going to know that they are loved and that their souls are cared for if you do not interact with them?

    (3)  Self-centeredness –  Social media can encourage folks to let everyone know exactly what they think on any given matter, take a picture of what I had for dinner or take a picture of myself and show the world what I am doing and what I look like when I am taking part in something.  This can be very dangerous because it puts more focus on being served instead of being a servant.  Unlike Jesus who in Matthew 20:28 said the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, how are you going to serve others if it is always about you?  Satan uses this so that an individual’s thought processes are centered about what is always best for me and not thinking about what is best for the individuals we come in contact with.  So many individuals get so centered around their own happiness and needs that marriages become shattered, homes torn apart and children have misguided love, direction and discipline.  How are we going to get individuals to “come to Jesus” if we are always focused on our own wants and needs?

    It will take a great deal of determination and self-discipline to overcome the traps and schemes of the Devil in regard to use of technology and cell phone use because it is so convenient and easy.  You must use your wisdom and focus to overcome these very convenient impulses.  Some rightly agree with that, but Satan will use this unbelievable tool to advance his agenda, and we must be ever vigilant to see that we do not fall into his snares.