Even though technology provides constantly innovative ways to display our depravity, our sinful desires are nothing new. Parents don’t need to be experts at social networking to help their teens navigate the changing waters of online temptations without drowning in their own lusts.
Lust of the flesh (see Part 1) may be the most obvious kind of temptation that’s easy to indulge online, but it’s not the only one. Lust of the eyes can be even more subtle — and seductive, taking our minds completely off others and into the world of things that won’t come close to satisfying God’s desire for our lives or the deepest longings of our hearts.
The Lust of the Eyes
We see things and want them: That’s it in a nutshell. Covetousness is a difficult sin to pinpoint, even in our own hearts, when we live in a culture that’s so entrenched in materialism that it’s completely normal to have goals relating to possessions — never mind schedules for paying off unnecessary purchases.
I remember hearing a friend (who didn’t have much money to spend on non-necessities) ask if I wanted to go coveting — meaning, go to a shopping mall to “window shop.” While we laughed over the euphemism, the reality brought on an interesting conversation about whether it was wise to go to stores when we couldn’t afford to buy things.
Now, we don’t even have to leave our homes or open the glossy catalogs that arrive in our mail boxes; anything our hearts might want to desire is available for us to view from our tech devices.
Tech Sites that Fuel Lusts
Any online shopping website, Pinterest, Facebook — all of that can leave us unsatisfied and wanting more. Facebook, in particular, seems to have the effect, for many, of fueling despair by presenting real-life comparisons that can have us feeling as if we always have the raw end of the deal.
There’s always stuff we want, that we don’t have, and stuff we have that we don’t want. The more we view — and re-view — items on our wish list and the more we view people whose lives seem to be better than ours, the more we’re apt to focus on our unfulfilled desires.
The more we do that, the less we appreciate all the good gifts that we do have. As we plummet into despair that comes from self-focus, we’re far less apt to praise God for Who He is and what He has done for us — no less, love and serve others.
The Truth About Projected Images
There’s been a lot written about how many people present a certain image on social media sites that’s deceptively positive and perfect. “Would you ever post anything that made you look bad, or revealed your weaknesses? Nope — people carefully craft an image of themselves that they wish to share with others.”
This comparison trap and its deceptions is really nothing new (James 1:22-25), but it does seem to be rising in significance with social media. The idea of image management is so huge that “personal branding” is becoming a major buzz word for Millennials.
Continue with Part 3.