30Nov

got armor? it’s time to advance online

You really can’t relegate danger to a “zone” online. An alarm won’t go off if you get too close to a danger zone, nor will a crossing guard wave you through when the coast is clear. Danger is everywhere because we live on a broken planet.

While your message as a follower of Christ is grace, hope, and healing, there’s a power that works equally hard online (and off-line) to cancel out your message by generating a perpetual flow of despair, hate, and evil.

If you set out on a mission trip into the depths of Papua New Guinea, you’d face scorpions, tigers, cholera, and people with spears who want to eat you. The mission field at your fingertips isn’t so different. There’s all of that and then some, metaphorically speaking.

The Internet is the most powerful gateway to learning and profit that the world has ever seen, it’s also heaving with darkness. So culture goes: What God creates for good, the enemy twists for his own evil purposes. You know the threats: pornography, infidelity, obscenity, theft, scams, slander, bullying, digital viruses, discrimination of every kind, cybercrime, physical violence, and even terrorism. All of this is no longer on the seedy, other side of town but just a few clicks away — in the cyber slums of the online city.

Excessive Internet use can weaken family bonds, create and feed online addictions such as gambling and shopping, increase emotional distress, and inhibit healthy socialization skills. In the church this becomes an increasingly critical topic of discussion as leaders worry that online relationships will replace face-to-face discipleship and they respond to the fallout caused by online life.

How do you avoid the blatant dangers online and discern the more subtle ones?

You put on your armor. You get off the well-worn path between church and home. You get real about what’s going on in the culture around us and refuse to be marginalized. You go to war.

My brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand
against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against
flesh and blood, but against principalities,
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,

against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:10–12, NKJV

Dangerous or not, as with any nefarious mission field, it’s time to log on and “go.”

What concerns you most about the dangers online?

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  • http://amysorrells.wordpress.com Amy Sorrells

    Recently, a young man in our community was murdered by someone he met online. I also know of marriages and friendships and more, destroyed by the lures and horrors found online. My heart is so heavy for those things. Somedays (and especially recently), I want to log off the internet and social media and never return. I forget what life was like a few short years ago without it. And yet, I press on for the sake of the Gospel, and for the lives I know need hope and healing. Tami and Toni, your message is ministry for such a time as this, and for those of us who need to be encouraged to fight the good fight and to be light and life in a dark, dark places. THANK YOU.

  • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony Alicea

    This site is a continual encouragement to me. I really needed this today.

  • Tami Heim

    I am sorry Amy. We hear about this all the time and it’s painful when it’s so close it touches us directly. Word of this comes with both heaviness and determination. With people spending 110 billion minutes online every month, we can’t ignore its impact on our lives. We have to be spiritual prepared, wise, and ready to influence the direction of this dangerous cultural current. God promises to be with us and for us – only He can keep us safe in the fight for light online. I am praying daily for all those accepting the assignment in a time such as this. We are grateful you are here with us.

  • Tami Heim

    It is #AllForHim – time to suit up, Tony. We have to remember – the victory is His! Bless you friend.

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  • http://www.kelybreez.com kelybreez

    I’m so glad tens of thousands of missionaries have not said, “I can’t go. It’s too dark there.”

    I’m so glad thousands of believers each day don’t say, “I can’t go to work, it’s too dark there.”

    I’m so glad so many martyrs didn’t say, “It’s too dangerous there.”

    I’m glad those who gave us our Bible to read for ourselves in the middle ages didn’t say, “It’s too dangerous for the common man to read the Bible.”

    I just hope enough people don’t say (even from the pulpit), “Don’t go to the jungles of the internet… It’s too dark there. Too tangled. Too many diseases that can’t be treated.”

  • Tami Heim

    Our heart beats with yours.

  • http://twitter.com/SandraHeskaKing SandraHeskaKing

    When I was young, I wanted to be a missionary nurse. Specifically in Africa. That never worked out.

    Or did it?

    The world is full of scary. We need to wear our armor morning, noon, and night. We need to inoculate our minds and hearts with Him and go wherever people are desperately sick and in pain.