It has often been said that the “Grape Nuts” breakfast cereal is false advertising. When you look at the ingredients, you find that it has NO grapes and NO nuts. It occurred to me recently that Facebook has the same problem. When you use Facebook, it isn’t speaking face-to-face, and it isn’t a book!
I know that Facebook can be useful as a tool to keep in touch with others you care about, but there is a dark side to it, too. Facebook (and other social media programs) make it very easy for us to say things about others that we would never say to them face-to-face. It makes communication impersonal and distant. We have all heard how this has contributed to “cyberbullying.”
To coin a term, I think we also need to make sure we aren’t practicing a “Facebook Religion” in the way we worship God. Here is what I mean: If we imagine God as just “A Force” or “A Higher Power” or “The Man Upstairs,” then we are thinking that God is distant and not personal.
How can we avoid a superficial, Facebook-like religion? We solve that problem by understanding and accepting two important truths about God.
First, it is vital to see that God is NOT a human being like we are. It is easy to admit that God is better than us, but we can still mistakenly feel that He is also much like us. The Bible reminds us that He is very different. “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19).
In fact, God is so great that we can’t compare Him to anything. “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8–9).
Bible teacher A.W. Tozer gives us this important challenge: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
Let’s not forget, that this same incredible greatness also applies to Jesus Christ. “… in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11).
Here is the second important truth: Although He is immensely great and glorious, God is not just a “Higher Power.” He is also a Person. Think about it! God is called Father, a Shepherd, a Brother, a Friend, etc. God is not just a force that is out there somewhere. Dr. John MacArthur adds: “We know God is a person because He thinks, acts, feels, speaks, and communicates. All the evidence of creation, all the evidence of the Scriptures, indicates that He is a person.”
Why is this important? One reason is that God is offended by our sin. For example, when we act like we are controlling our everyday lives, we are offending God, who tells us to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him….” (Proverbs 3:5–6).
Because God is a Person, He has feelings. Notice that the Bible especially warns Christians, “Do not grieve [literally “to make sad”] the Holy Spirit of God…. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:30–32).
Take a minute and read Psalm 139. King David describes God as eternal and vast, as well as Someone who is intimately aware of the details in everyone’s life.
Here is what we can take away from all this: God is eternal, all-powerful, pure, holy, glorious, and yet He knows everything about you. God knows and hates every sin you ever committed. In spite of that, He loves you. He poured out His wrath against your sin on Jesus Christ (see Isaiah 53:1-12) so that you could be eternally righteous if you turn from your sin and follow Him.
God is a Person, and He deserves (and demands) to be treated as one. Jesus offers this intimate promise to you: “… he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him” (John 14:21). Jesus is NOT interested in being your Facebook friend—but He will be your most intimate friend if you will turn your life over to Him.