Post for teens – Are you looking at worthless things?
Have you ever heard anyone say that the Bible is a relevant, up-to-date book and think ‘Yeah, right! Sure the Bible is thousands of years old! Those guys knew nothing about life in 2018 and the sort of things I have to face at my school!’? True, life in Bible times was vastly different to what it is today, and yet the Bible is the Word of God. Remember, God is eternal – totally outside of time. He gave His Word for people living in the days of candles and horses and carriages, and every bit as much for us too in this very modern age.
Take a look at this verse.
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in Your ways. Psalm 119:37 ESV
I’m not entirely certain what worthless things the people back in the psalmist’s day would have been tempted to look at, but I’m sure you’ll agree that there are many things today that we could certainly call ‘worthless things’! In fact, with our ease of access to the internet, this verse almost seems to be more relevant to our day than to any other!
Take, for instance, social media. We might not be viewing anything particularly bad, but haven’t we all sat and scrolled through a newsfeed, oblivious to the passage of ten, twenty, thirty minutes… or maybe more? What about YouTube – where one video leads to another… and to another… and to another, and before we know it, we have just wasted a couple of hours on videos of cats! Or Netflix, video games, Snapchat… I’m sure you can add to the list.
Time wasting is one thing, but much of what’s online has a more sinister side. ‘Worthless’ in the Bible is often linked with the name ‘Belial’ – the personification of evil. Are you being exposed to bad language, wrong morals, evil thoughts and practices? It’s difficult to live a life where we don’t come across sin, but are you making a choice to look at things that you know to be wrong? Please remember, that what you view now may have long term consequences, and could very well affect you for the remainder of your life. If you are struggling, speak to your parents, or to an older Christian, who will advise you and help you break that habit.
So, back to our verse. If we turn from worthless things, what do we turn to? The psalmist asks for life in God’s ways. Life. We have the mistaken belief that we never truly live through an experience unless we’ve instagrammed or snapchatted it! ‘Pictures, or it didn’t happen!’ Really?! Wouldn’t Daniel have taken a great selfie in the lion’s den? And Jonah, inside the whale? I am so glad that phones weren’t invented back then! Yes, the pictures would have been amazing, but we would have totally missed out on learning valuable lessons about God. These men, instead of thinking about how many likes they were going to get, were most likely praying. Deep, earnest, sincere prayer. Those were experiences they never were going to forget. Wouldn’t you like experiences like that? Times when we are totally focussed on God, when we learn more about Him and His magnificent attributes, so we can live more fully for Him? If so, then let’s lift our eyes from the screens. Be different. Live life in real life! Live in God’s ways!
This post almost didn’t get written. There aren’t very many people with access to the internet who can honestly say that they have never viewed anything worthless online. I’m no exception. It’s a daily battle for me, and I have a feeling that the majority of you are the same. So I’ve written this as a friend to friends.