Revisiting Your Faith’s Privacy Settings

Guest post by Rob Tims

This past week, my Apple AirPods simply would not connect in any way with the very phone they were strictly created to work with. Even when I set my phone to forget they existed and then attempted to reconnnect them, I could not get them to work. There was only one thing left to try: recalibrating EVERY setting on my phone. Not erasing it, mind you, but recalibrating all the customized nuances of every application. Think about all the different ways you get notifications or all the ways in which different apps use location services. Now think about all of that going away and your phone asking you again and again for weeks if you’d like to adjust your settings for this and that. It’s absolutely frustrating. I’m not sure having my AirPods working has been worth it.

But one area that has been helpful as a result of this is my privacy settings. For some reason, some of the applications prompted me to revisit all of them as a result of this reset. At first it was annoying, but the more I considered my vulnerabiities, the more grateul I became for the reset process.

How strict do you keep your privacy settings on your social media accounts? What is the main reason you have chosen that level of privacy or publicity? Internet aside, do you consider yourself a very private person?

Now, a faith question related to these things: What are your privacy settings for your faith?

By and large, my experience has been that our culture has taught us that we can have whatever religious beliefs we want as long as we keep them to ourselves. I see it as a form of relativism: “It’s fine for you to have those convitions as long as you don’t share them with others (wait … doesn’t that negate them as convictions?).

Which brings us to Matthew 5:13-16.

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. — Matthew 5:13-16 (CSB)

Jesus explained the effect a kingdom attitude can have on the world. He did so with two word pictures—salt and light. Jesus calls His followers “the salt of the earth.” Salt’s primary function in Jesus’ day was to help preserve food (especially meat), an act that was particularly important in the Middle East due to hot temperatures and arid climate. As believers, we act as a preservative in the culture around us by maintaining high moral and spiritual standards that counteract the sin and decay of the world. Salt also serves to add flavor, which is the way we use it predominantly today. Salt is distinctly different from the things with which it’s mixed. There’s no hiding its presence or effect. Jesus’ disciples likewise are to be different from the world.

Then, there is the metaphor of light. The result of living out the kingdom attitudes described in Scripture is that Christ’s light will shine from within us and pierce the darkness in the world. For example, when Peter and John are told by the Jewish leaders to stop preaching, their response in Acts 4:19-20 shows the impact of Jesus’ teaching: “Whether it’s right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than to God, you decide; for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (CSB). Simply put, there are no privacy settings on our faith.

So, take a moment today to reset your spiritual life and purge your faith of privacy settings. Be salt. Be light. Contend for the faith. Influence the culture, and watch what God does in and through you as a result.

Rob Tims is husband to Holly and father to Trey, Jono, Abby Jane and Luke. He’s the author of Southern Fried Faith: Confusing Christ and Culture in the Bible Belt, and manages the team behind smallgroup.com at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville. He writes regularly at RobTims.com and blogs every Friday at Forward Progress.

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