Jesus has a Facebook! Did you know? Just click here—>Jesus Facebook. Awesome, right? I’m not so sure…let me share why.
Many people have gone on to share how Facebook is dangerous for our teens and young adults, causing them to have a distant, non-personal relationship with others all while thinking they are connected. In this sense, I think we as an Evangelical culture have had a Facebook Official relationship with Jesus much longer than Facebook has even existed.
We teach that one must read the Bible, one must memorize Scripture and that this memorizing is actually what the Bible calls “Putting God’s Word in your Heart”. We teach that one must learn all they can about God, follow His commands; do the things he says to do and avoid the things he says not to do.
We teach and live a model of learning much about God, but rarely get to teaching and living a life dedicated to seeking to truly know Him.
I can creep all over someone’s Facebook and learn all there is to know about someone: who they like, don’t like, shows they watch, books they read, where they often spend most of there time, what flavor of religion they’re into, who their girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband are and everything else. We can know almost everything there is to know…and still miss the person themselves.
Also, when thinking about Facebook, when we post our stuff on there it’s usually the best stuff. As someone said to me today: “We don’t post selfies of us just waking up, we post the best pictures we’ve got!” I fear we do this with God as well, where we portray the best of ourselves to the God of the Universe and pretend everything is OK when it really isn’t. So, we are simply knowing “about” God and we are only portraying our best to God, we don’t actually know each other at all…even though it looks like we know each other well.
This my friends is what many Millennials are reacting against. We need to seek to experience the God of the universe, not just educate our minds about Him. We need to seek a deep, rich, real, honest relationship with Him and not just be “Facebook Official” with Him. Many young people state they don’t feel or experience God in church and so they seek to experience Him in many different (and sometimes wrong) places.
Some people (as in Tozer’s day) are afraid of the words “Experience God” because it seems like we are lifting the “experience” above God. However, this isn’t true at all. When I go to coffee with a person, I don’t just have a conversation, I am having a real live experience of that person. I am experiencing their passions, their personality, their humor (or lack thereof), their distastes and their manner of relating to me. We don’t just meet people, we experience them. For too long, we’ve put the “knowing about God” above the knowing God. Reading the Bible, praying and all of those things are GREAT, but if it is simply an educational task or a checklist of something you “should” do then we’ve missed the point entirely and have hindered ourselves rather than helping ourselves.
God’s word is “written on our hearts” when we naturally do what it says…not just blankly repeat it word for word. His Word is transformative as well as educational…it’s not just something for our heads…it’s for our very lives! This generation needs to see, meet and speak to Jesus; and God has given us His Spirit to be that very thing to this world.
Let us no longer perpetuate a Facebook relationship with Jesus, but rather, a real one. May we stop (as Brennan Manning calls it) “Shoulding” on people but rather show them God by our actions, our love for one another and our surrender to His power…rather than trying to do it all on our own.
Rachel Held Evans in her blog on “Why Millennials are Leaving the Church” said:
“We want to be challenged to live lives of holiness, not only when it comes to sex, but also when it comes to living simply, caring for the poor and oppressed, pursuing reconciliation, engaging in creation care and becoming peacemakers.
You can’t hand us a latte and then go about business as usual and expect us to stick around. We’re not leaving the church because we don’t find the cool factor there; we’re leaving the church because we don’t find Jesus there.“
To me, that was her strongest point; they (we, because I am one) don’t see a lot of Jesus in the church. Instead of Disciples of Jesus who know Him and are known by Him many of our churches are full of Facebook Friends of Jesus. I know as a lover of His Bride that many people are well intentioned and really desire to know God but are simply only taught how to be Facebook friends with Jesus and so miss out on the deeper reality of actually experiencing Him.
When we see Scriptures challenging us to do incredible things, knowing God and relying on His Spirit to empower us is truly the only way we can actually do any of it! So, let’s shut down out Facebook accounts to Jesus and sit down and have a coffee with Him…so we can experience Him in real life!