We’re Praying for Epiphany Fellowship
Sun Mar 09, 2014
by Mark Driscoll
Our Top 5 Posts of February
Sat Mar 08, 2014
Resurgence Roundup, 3/7/14
Fri Mar 07, 2014
How to Replant a Church, Part 5: Rally Your Troops
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Bubba Jennings
The 4 Pillars of Pastoral Work
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Dave Bruskas
Are You an Internet Busy-Body?
Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to. - 1 Timothy 5:13
Busy-body. That term is power-packed with negative associations. The "town gossip" picture in my head is not the busy-at-home lady, but instead is the woman who knows facts about other’s lives and is stocked with random trivia. Instead of working in her home and for her family, the busy-body is more concerned with the actions, thoughts, and juicy tidbits about others.
I certainly never thought I was gossipy, idle, lazy, or randomly wandering about my day, looking for some one or something to scratch an itch in my heart.
A New Kind of Busy-Body
I hadn’t identified much with this particular sin until God gently revealed the Internet is my "town" to meander. I have found myself "going from house to house" or "website to website" seeking something. Information, book reviews, blogs, Facebook, email, all sucking my time and seducing my attention.
To ignore this comparison is, for me, choosing blindness. Blindness to the fact that I’m tempted to neglect the people and gifts God has called me to pay attention to. Sin is giving in to the temptation to be a busy-body by giving my attention to worthless and sometimes meaningless information that swirls around in my head, taking up mind and heart space that should be occupied by prayers and purpose.
When does being curious distract your heart away from what God wants you to focus on?
Dissatisfaction Drives the Busy-Body
When was the last time you found yourself going around from house to house being idle? Or, perhaps calling or texting too many friends in one day? Does boredom lure you in to busy-bodying? What do you gain by knowing more stuff? When does being curious distract your heart away from what God wants you to focus on?
The sin of the busy-body is often when desires are disappointed and we either demand or settle for the pleasure of knowing others’ business. Instead of being connected relationally to God and people, we slip into false intimacy and gather knowledge that doesn’t grow us, but instead wastes time. Like greed or lust, busy-bodying is a thirst for more. We are saying to God that he doesn’t satisfy our hearts.
Busy-Bodies Can Repent
We don’t just need more “balance” in our lives; we need to repent of misplaced desires, laziness, and lustful curiosity. Repentance is not always the opposite behavior. This doesn’t mean social networking is bad or that email, internet, and helpful websites are inherently sinful. As much as legalism lures me; I believe that repentance is not rule making, but instead it is being sensitive to the Holy Spirit, moment-by-moment, day-by-day with my time and attention. I grieve the time I have wasted by not making thoughtful choices. Thankfully, God always gives perfect attention to his children. He is faithful even when I am not. I get to respond to Jesus with gratitude for his grace and grow in wisdom by stewarding my attention and time.
We are saying to God that he doesn’t satisfy our hearts.
Practically, this means I set prayerful boundaries on time spent on websites. I choose appropriate times to give attention to it by choosing times where relationships aren’t ignored. Stewarding my time, means seeing “internet time” as a resource to be used with wisdom as worship to Jesus.
Internet busy-bodying is really just another form of laziness and escapism. The truth is, I will never perfectly steward my time and attention, but God does pay close and perfect attention. My heart is humbled by the struggle and eager to see redemption. By God’s lavish grace, I can steward my time with wisdom enabled by the Holy Spirit. Knowing Jesus is true satisfaction for my curious heart.