17Oct

10 lessons for living out faith on Google + and beyond

May I be pleasing in Your sight.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. ~ Psalm 19:14, NIV

By Tami Heim

One evening while trying to get my mind around how Google + fit into my social media routine, I found myself in pause mode. An intense conversation between a small group of men caught my attention.

Dialog bounced back and forth like a Michigan hockey puck. Each person took his shot at vehemently recanting all the things he hated about Facebook.  For me, hate is a strong word, but I found myself stuck there, nonetheless, listening.

As I watched the group churn through the conversation, they served up some pretty harsh stuff.  Nothing I hadn’t heard before, just a familiar list of common Facebook grievances: people sharing their dining experiences, pokes, games, causes, invites, godfathers, farms, cows, and questionnaires.  For what many would consider a tired and already played-out conversation, this one was unusually steeped in judgment and anger.  Ouch.

So I checked out the profiles of everyone participating in the slam. Careful not to fall in the judgment trap myself, I looked for some context to frame all this hostility.  Maybe there was a clue to it in their backgrounds. I was open to that possibility. What I discovered, however, was more painful than even their conversation.
All of them, somewhere in their personal bio, had boldly linked their life to Jesus Christ.  I rippled through a few emotions myself and then, as a sister that claims that same Lord, I went back to the conversation and entered into it. Compelled by love. Grace tank full. I wasn’t present to any other option, but to lovingly change the tone and drift of this discussion.

‘Going in’ triggered a series of reminders about the gravity of living out my own faith on Google + and beyond.

Here are the 10 lessons I’m praying will stick and continue to transform my heart…

#1.  As a Christ follower – I represent Him. When I make my public claim to His Lordship, my life interprets Him to the rest of the world. When others see me – they evaluate and make conclusions about the God I serve.  (Romans 13:14)

#2.  Who I am in Christ is 24/7. That’s right, it’s not for an hour, a day, a week, or even for the balance of this lifetime – who I am in Christ is stamped with an eternal timeline. (1 John 2:25)

#3.  I’ve been commissioned. While I know His grace covers me when I fall, my commission to deliver His Message in the unadorned clay pot of my ordinary life comes with no authorized breaks for murmuring, complaining, or fault-finding. I must be on guard always to resist this temptation as it’s ever-present waiting to drag me away. (Jude 1:16)

#4.  I can’t live it on my own. As the old hymn says, ‘Prone to wander, Lord I feel it,’ I need the Holy Spirit to seal it. Only He can keep me in check and accountable to my calling in Christ. I want Him to use my brothers and sisters in the faith to hold me accountable, too. (Ephesians 1:13)

#5.  A soft answer really does turn away wrath. It’s absolutely possible to redirect the flow of vitriolic conversations with a whisper of love. It’s urgent I exercise that wisdom more often than I do. The truth can be spoken gently in love.  (Proverbs 15:1)

#6.  All I do serves to make Him known. Social media is another glorious way to share Jesus. As people engage online for billions of minutes each month, I’ve been assigned and empowered to dent the darkness with His light and truth.  Whether I am online or off, it all matters in the sequence of God’s plan. (I Peter 2:9)

#7.  People are lonely and searching. So many today are desperate for a way to connect and find a place to belong – to abide. They’re trying to find their way and social media is the dominant way this generation goes looking for it.  My willingness to show up and meet them where they are is always the first step. (John 15:1-17)

#8.  Common ground connects us. It’s in the everyday things that people like and don’t like that points me to our common ground. I must listen with an open heart before I speak. (James 1:19)

#9.  I don’t have to like in order to love. If I am willing to see people with my Father’s eyes and love them like He does– everything is possible. (Mark 12:31)

#10. Change in this world is constant. The world and how I communicate in it is constantly changing, but my God and His truth never change.  He lives independent of time and cyber space. I must embrace whatever means is available to me, learn new networks, and faithfully show up ready to share His story as it indwells my life.  (Malachi 3:6)

What’s God been showing you as you’ve been living out your faith online?

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May all we think, do, and say be pleasing in Your sight and bring You glory, O Lord. #LiveSticky

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  • http://twitter.com/chnorton1 Charles Norton

    Every article is a blessing from God. I feel like a dry sponge just wanting to soak up everything.

  • http://twitter.com/TamiHeim TamiHeim

    You are a constant encouragement to us @twitter-212228421:disqus  We are the ones blessed to be traveling this time and space with you. Thanks for coming by here today and being a LIGHT in this world – all for Him. We appreciate you.

  • Annontgomery

    Wow! so powerful Tami. I especially like the “Grace tank full” status. That doesn’t seem to be a natural human condition but it is a super-natural Holy Spirit filled condition! Sometimes it is disheartening to see online chats spiral downward like a plane in a flat spin – unable to recorrect attitude or altitude.

    I believe in the physical sciences as a constant provided to us from God. When I think about Physics and that “an object in motion tends to stay in motion, an object at rest tends to stay at rest” I understand that the only way to make an object in motion CHANGE DIRECTION or an object at rest BEGIN MOVING is through a significant amount of ENERGY to force that physical change.

    The online interventions – soft answers, grace-filled questioning, common ground alignment, seeking to understand before responding – can all be a part of HIS Spirit ENERGY necessary to diffuse a mind-set of negativity and bring it back up to the understanding the possibilities, the gratitude, the opportunities and representing Christ’s love.  This article really ministered to me and I thank you!

  • AnnMontgomery

    That would be AnnMontgomery not Annontgomery. :)

  • http://twitter.com/TamiHeim TamiHeim

    @0c95b1571975b80eacba884a284a8270:disqus I am so grateful it did. So often I try to do things in my own strength and miss how much more can be done by resting in His. How amazingly perfect it all falls together when we let go and allow Him to gently work through us. May we all stay inspired and be His love in this world. Thanks Ann for stopping by and sharing here today! Blessings to you.

  • http://www.tamikaeason.com Tamika Eason

    I shy away from confrontation, but I’m learning that in order to be in God’s army you have to stand all the way up or sit all the way down. Bent is broken!

    I prayed a prayer some years back: Lord, run a steel beam of faith along my backbone because I’m tired of the winds of life making me waver!

  • http://twitter.com/TamiHeim TamiHeim

    I see you in the daily stream @b496e65043fbadd55a095a114ebf3824:disqus and I’d say God has answered your prayer. You’re a bold and beautiful reflection of Him. Be encouraged by the difference you’re making for Him.  I’m sure He delights in the way you honor Him before others. Thanks for stopping by here today, dear sister! Keep that #ShineOn 

  • Classymissy34

    Do you have that person you always wanna hear what they have to say?  You are that person to me.  I could soak it all up like a sponge…thanks for your words of wisdom and my God who gives you such insights!!

  • http://twitter.com/TamiHeim TamiHeim

    @classymiss34:disqus thanks for your kind words. I couldn’t make it a day with His mercy and grace covering my life.
    We’re all in this together, learning our way and seeking how to faithfully follow the God we know and love. When we stick together as the body – God knits us together in the most amazing ways. As one we can best serve His heart’s desire. Bless you for the sweet encouragement and sharing it with me here today. Let’s just keep soaking Him all in!

  • http://fromrooftops.blogspot.com Angie Battle

    Thank you for these words of wisdom, Tami. Everything we do and say should go through the filter of His grace, mercy, & love. I’m grateful for His forgiving me when I’ve failed to do so. I’m even more thankful for that same grace, mercy, & love to enable me to grow and be like Him more consistently.

  • http://twitter.com/TamiHeim TamiHeim

    Amen @angiebattle:disqus , perfectly said my friend. I love your heart and that we’re walking this road toghether. I appreciate you.

  • Rachelhauck

    Great post! Such great reminders, Tami. Sound wisdom!

  • http://manupstudy.com Jackson

    Awesome. I blogged yesterday about finding a way to call time out and allow the noise to stop and spend adequate time with God. When we do we will discover exactly what you have written today.
    thank you
    sincerely

    http://manupstudy.com

    http://mylongskateboard.com

    http://mahupstudy.wordpress.com
     

  • http://twitter.com/TamiHeim TamiHeim

    That wisdom @61bdc4ff6146d0bb3dd141f3c9d4828c:disqus ! Thanks for sharing your links with us – we appreciate you coming by and adding to the conversation. Bless you.

  • http://twitter.com/TamiHeim TamiHeim

    So good to see you, @abcb371adc118126eeb23531b843625e:disqus . Love it when you come by to visit. Blessings to you! We’re thankful for you.

  • Rod Cassidy

    Appreciate the “10 Lessons for Living out Faith on Google” blog by Tami Heim.  If more Christians would embrace these 10 lessons, how many more souls could be impacted for the Kingdom positively.  May God continue to guide you into all truth.
    Rod
    rcassidy@mailsent.net