Jul 012019 0 Responses

What Is Shaping You?

It was first noticed by chiropractors and general practice physicians, but now it is being discussed by anthropologists and sociologists. It’s called texting neck.

One of humanity’s great strengths is the ability to look at the horizon for potential threats or opportunities. We can stand tall and look beyond our current confines in order to see what is “out there.” Yet as we live in less fear of the lion on the horizon, our attention turns other places. No longer having to look to the horizon for our survival, our eyes are directed more inward. Technology has moved our focus of attention away from upward and outward and more toward inward and downward.

The result–our bodies are changing. Subtly and slightly, our necks are shifting forward as our eyes are continually downward. But we don’t notice. No one would intentionally make this choice. If every time we look at our phone, we felt our necks shifting, we would stop. Yet the changes are undetectable on a daily basis. They happen so slowly, we don’t notice.

We Are Always Being Shaped

A rarely recognized truth is that we are always being shaped, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. We don’t see it because it happens so slowly, yet over time we are greatly influenced by the forces around us. Like a river slowly cuts through rock, we are continually molded and changed. At any moment we look stationary, but at every moment we are slowly becoming something different than what we currently are.

This is universally true. We can’t opt out of this process. Hard work and determination cannot prevent us from being influenced by others. The only choice we have is to recognize that we are being changed and to choose which forces we allow to change us. (See: Your Christianity Isn’t Christian)

Spiritually Formed

Generations of Christians have understood this shaping process. Knowing that we are all being formed by something, they determined to put themselves in places and climates in which their primary influence would be God. Disciplines such as Bible study, reflection, silence, service, weekly corporate worship, and giving were valued. They knew their hearts needed to be changed and they put themselves in situations where God would be the one changing them.

Yet modern Christians aren’t as intentional. We are attempting a type of Christianity which may have never been tried. People are trying to follow Jesus without ever truly interacting with his teachings. Rather than a daily intake of large sections of Biblical writing, many Christians go days and weeks without ever hearing God’s Word.

They assume they know Jesus. Yet instead of actually knowing Jesus, they simply know what they wish Jesus was like. This results in a God who looks, thinks, and acts exactly like them.

Spiritually Misinformed

When we distance ourselves from God and His Word, we are still formed by something. Instead of God shaping us, we are shaped either by social media or by major media companies. Either way, the primary sources of spiritual formation in modern America are major corporations.

This works well for them because they desire to shape us. They want to transform us into specific consumers so that they can make as much money as possible off of us. Corporations don’t care about the truth, our well-being, or helping us become better people. They simply want to create us into sources of income for them. (See: 5 Reasons Christians Don’t Hear from God)

The result is that we are a spiritually misinformed people. We think we believe in traditional Christian beliefs, but in reality, our “Christianity” is a strange mixture of greed, materialism, and American d0-goodism. It has everything to do with us and very little to do with Jesus. Our focus is on intention and feeling rather than the truth.

Fox and Facebook Friends

We are all being shaped. Generally, we become like the things to which we give our attention. We become what we continually see. For a good number of Christians, we don’t see Jesus as much as give attention to Fox News (or CNN or MSNBC) and Facebook (or Instagram or SnapChat).

We are fools if we believe those organizations aren’t shaping us. And we are equally foolish if we believe major corporations want what is best for us and will mold us into the people we want to be. Instead, they will mold us into better consumers. For news outlets, this means they must convince us that we are right and the other side is evil. This will raise our emotions enough to watch more so that they can sell more advertising. For social media organizations, it means feeding us stories and images designed to incite anger or frustration (notice that the truthfulness of these stories doesn’t matter) so that we will react via clicks so that they can sell more advertising.

While Jesus desires us to change to be like him, major corporations desire to change us to buy things from them. We are choosing companies over Christ as we give them more attention than Him. The result is that while we call ourselves Christians, we often have very little resemblance to the Jesus we claim to follow.

(For a prescription for modern Christianity, click HERE)

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