I was studying my scripture, and a question popped into my mind. The right thing to do at that moment was to ask the Holy Spirit, right? I was supposed to say, “Holy Spirit, what did you mean when you wrote the verse?”
Guess who I asked? Google!
Yeah, without thinking twice, I just typed it on Google to hear what people said about the verse.
Don’t get me wrong. Using Google is not bad. I still use it for studying.
But, that’s how many of us have been unconsciously made to depend on machines while ignoring the spirit in us.
The internet is like a gun, you can either point it forward and pave a way for yourself or point it towards yourself with your eyes closed.
The mistake most Christians make is to only focus on the good and ignore the subtle negative effects that it causes.
How does the internet affect a person?
Firstly, let’s explore the makeup of man as a being.
As a man, you have three components, which include the Body, Soul, and Spirit (colosians.5:. Your body is the composite of your physical parts (head, arms, legs, eye) which is visible to the world. Your Soul is the intermediary between the Spirit and the body. It comprises your will, emotion, and mind.
Your spirit is where God has access to fundamentally. It is also made up of your intuition, conscience, and communion.
Whichever of these three components you feed most will gain authority over you.
However, the original aim and will of God is that your Spirit dominates your soul and your body.
If you feed your spirit consistently by studying the word, praying, and worshiping your soul will become a servant of your spirit. It will wait for an instruction from the spirit, decode the message with the mind into understanding, align the will to obey it, and instruct the body to carry out the action.
This is the perfect scenario of a man who has been restored to the original version of how God created the first man to function before he fell.
On the contrary, If you feed your body too much, you will strengthen your flesh and fall in love with sin. If you feed your soul with the cares, worries, excitements, and ambitions of this world, you will make decisions that hardly align with God’s will, your thoughts will be controlled by the earthly things, and your emotion will be messed up.
How is the internet related to this you might ask?
The internet is a typical feeder of the soul (but can also feed your spirit when you use it rightly. More on this later).
The impact of the internet on your spiritual life does not necessarily imply that the internet itself is evil, bad, or controlled by demons. Instead, it reveals the consequences of imbalanced usage on your part.
In this article, we will look into about 5 signs that the internet is affecting your spiritual life and practical solutions to it.
Signs that the Internet is Affecting Your Spiritual Life
The effect of the internet on one’s spiritual life cannot be covered in one article. Some are subtle but dangerous. However, the ones I will be sharing in this article are based on experience, observation, and other people’s testimony.
What are the signs that the internet is affecting your spiritual life?
You Can’t Focus in the Place Fellowship (prayer, meditating on the word, worshiping)
Numerous factors can lead your mind to wander during prayer, but the internet holds a significant part for the contemporary generation.
It is natural that our minds may not remain inherently stable. The internet is like fuel to that. Meanwhile, consciousness is very important when you are fellowshiping with God in prayer.
But oh! You can’t help yourself stop remembering that TikTok video. You can’t stop wondering how funny that comedy video is. Yet, your mouth is still moving and you call it prayer. You are still reading the letter and you call it Study.
As I said, many things can cause your mind to wander in these two spiritual exercises. But in this age, the internet plays a big role.
If you’re noticing this again and again in you, it’s time ti pay attention to it.
You Feel Bored Without Your Phone
With the Holy Spirit in you, certain limitations that human beings experience by default like loneliness, and boredom shouldn’t be captured in your narrative. Yes!
Because the closer you are to Him, the more you become like Him. And nothing in this visible world is a limitation to a spirit in the invisible world.
When you expose yourself too much to the internet, one of the things it does is slowly drain the quotient of the Zoe life in your spirit. And that’s where we draw Joy from as Christians.
But having traded that for the dopamine that social media gives, You feel purposeless, Insecure, when you can’t access the internet.
Sometimes or all times, the real world where real people live seems unreal to you internally.
But immediately you are with your phone, you are happy again. The painful part is that most people are not ashamed to say it. “I’m bored”. ask them why? The answer won’t be because they aren’t sensing God’s presence anymore. But because their phone is for some reason not accessible.
If you have observed this sign in you, take heed!
When you feed your soul with content, especially ungodly ones, you wear your spirit.
It would be a waste to just talk about the symptoms and not mention what to avoid and what to embrace.
Let’s look into the two reasons why the internet is affecting your spiritual life.
Should the Internet Affect Your Spiritual Life? No!
There are only 2 reasons why the internet is affecting your spiritual life:
- Excessive engagement with the internet.
- Wrong usage of the internet.
Excessive engagement with the internet
The internet is good for exposure, education, and other stuff. But overusing is destructive.
What does it mean to engage the internet excessively?
Statistic says the average teen spends 7 hours and 22 minutes per day on their phone, while adult spends 6 hours and 58 minutes per day on the internet. Are you among these? Then you are overusing the internet.
It’s crucial to realize that your attention serves as a valuable currency for all internet platforms and apps. They are designed in a manner that aims to keep you engaged and prevent you from easily leaving.
The process begins with profiling you, where they track your activities to determine your preferences. Consequently, they use this information to provide personalized recommendations based on what you enjoy the most.
You might plan to spend just 10 minutes but end up spending 6 hours.
As a Christian who values the presence of the Holy Spirit within you, it’s essential to recognize that spending an excessive amount of time, even if it’s not on harmful content, can gradually diminish your spiritual awareness. Though the content may not be harmful, prolonged indulgence can lead to overfeeding your soul, affecting your spiritual strength.
As a Christian. Overuse of social media is overfeeding your soul. If you don’t replenish yourself, your spirit might become helpless.
Wrong Usage of The Internet
One of the things that distinguish a Christian from a normal human being is purpose. As a Christian walking with the Holy Spirit, you see everything with a purposeful eye.
Before you choose a course, you define the purpose, before you choose a career you define the purpose. The same applies to the internet. You shouldn’t be online because your friends are. That might be your initial reason. But it’s not too late to redefine it.
You shouldn’t be on Facebook to just chat with people and gist all day. Or to join some worldly challenge in order to be famous.
Well, nothing is bad with those if there is a Godly-inspired factored into it.
When the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable.
So what does it mean to use the internet wrongly? You have no purpose online!
One of the symptoms that the internet is wrongly used by you is that notifications will control you. And having weakened by the frequent dopamine, your will is unable to resist.
For example, you decide to study the Bible using your bible app which requires that you switch on the internet connection of your phone. As you switch on the internet connection, Facebook notifies you about a friend of yours announcing that he or she is getting married soon.
Not having a background solid understanding and definition of your purpose for using Facebook will cause you to definitely click the notification and leave the word of God.
On getting to Facebook, you find interesting and funny comments that you don’t want to stop reading and want to contribute to. Before you know it, 2 hours is gone.
How to Avoid/Stop the Internet’s Negative Effects on Your Spiritual Life
The first mindset you should embrace is this: NOT EVERYONE SHOULD BE ON THE INTERNET.
I will explain why in this first step to avoiding the negative effect that it brings on Christians.
I know, it would be hard to accept that you should leave the internet. After all these years!
But here’s what Jesus has to say: “If your right-hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you” -Matthew.5:30
Just allow sincerity to supersede your desire and ego. If you want to be free, be free once and for all!
These are the practical steps that you can take to avoid or stop the internet from affecting your Christian journey of spiritual life.
Define Your Purpose & Participation on the Internet
Is it true? “when the purpose of anything is not known, abuse is inevitable” – Dr. Myles Munroe. Yes, it is!
Only animals are permitted to walk on the surface of the earth without a God-given purpose. So long you are a man, You have a reason why God brought you to Earth and not Mars.
The nature of purpose is such that it narrows down the range of activities you can involve yourself. You cannot expose yourself to everything or be engaged in all things; otherwise, you’ll end up getting distracted.
So, what distinguishes you from the person who just wants to scroll all day not knowing what he or she is looking for? Purpose!
Are you using the internet to promote the gospel? (that’s what we do here on gospelsongs.com.ng), to promote your business? To learn things that help your purpose? Whatever it is, define it and make it solid in your heart.
Make it your focus. This will help you know what to watch and what to avoid. What to read and what to disregard. What to participate in and what doesn’t deserve your attention.
I have made this a priority that no Angel or demon will convince me against it. You should too.
Turn off all the notifications on your Apps
When I wanted to take this step, I was afraid.
Afraid of what exactly? “I don’t even know”. “But what if I get a message from that business partner?”, “What if a client sends me a message?”.
Well, whatever you think you will miss when you turn off your apps notifications are not as important as your spiritual life. Except you have control over them already.
One of the fears I had was this. “what if my pastor sends me a message on WhatsApp?”. Guess what, he never sends a message that was too late to attend to when I come online and find it.
As a matter of fact, he doesn’t expect me to be always active on chat apps because he is not.
When Jesus said to “cut your right hand”, he didn’t say it won’t be painful.
When I eventually turn off the notifications of my apps, especially social media, here is what I noticed.
Nobody missed me! Nobody cared! They only remember me when I post. Life just kept moving on even though I had lots of followers.
People are busy! They’re busy growing, busy planning their life, busy progressing their family.
But the internet wants you to be busy observing the lives of others. Until a day comes when you realize that you have wasted a cogent phase of your life building nothing.
You can stop this! It’s not hard.
Only log on to Youtube when you choose to, not when you receive a notification.
Only check your email and read a newsletter when you plan to, not when you receive notifications. Because notifications have no respect for your daily plan and time value. It comes anytime.
You will be notified that your favorite Gospel artist has dropped an album when you are trying to read the bible on your phone. You will be sent some very captivating and compelling headlines when you try to jot something the holy spirit is telling you.
If you don’t want to allow that anymore. Take charge now.
Plan to Go Online
After defining your purpose for using social media for example and shutting down all notifications, the next practical step is to schedule the time you want to go online.
Block out a time to go through your email. What time? How long? And discipline yourself to never break that newly-set standard.
Planning before engaging in anything gives you focus. You are not refreshing Facebook to feed you with something that will keep your eye on the screen.
You tell it what you came for and immediately you achieve your goal, opt out without looking back.
Stop Following Unnecessary Channels, pages, people, Newsletters, etc.
I am not necessarily regarding adult channels. I am talking about pages that do not edify you. This includes comedy! Yeah, that’s not a typo.
Except you aren’t a spiritual person. If you are a normal churchgoer who isn’t committed to having a deep relationship with the Lord, that might sound outrageous to you.
But if you are that one who loves the things of God and desires a deep fellowship, you already understand my communication.
These channels might or might not be defiling you as a Christian. But they will water your spiritual consciousness down.
They will only feed your flesh and magnify it. But when you unfollow them, you will be free indeed.
You will hear the Holy Spirit clearer. You will be able to maintain your spiritual rhythm.
In case that sounds strange to you, please ask questions in the comment section.
However, a point comes where you’re grown and mature in stature that those things cannot affect you at all. But while you’re growing, be careful.
Employ a Social Media Manager if You can
This is for you if your reason for being online is to run a big organization. Be it a company, church, et cetera, you can simply find a social media manager to help you in handling the consistency that it requires.
Simply go to a freelance platform like Upwork or Fiverr to find someone who can do that for you. Alternatively, if you look around, you might find someone. Maybe in your church.
Negotiate on terms, plans, and goals, then you are good to go.
This would help you save time and focus on more important things.
So far, I have walked you through how social media affects you as a spiritual person, signs to look out for, and how to “practically” avoid or stop it from affecting you negatively.
But there’s one thing I haven’t mentioned. For me, it will help you more than everything you have read so far. It would give you an experiential explanation of everything.
and it is FAST FROM THE INTERNET.
I hope you understand that fasting is separating yourself from anything that allows your flesh to contend with your spirit and consecrate yourself to God throughout that period. The most common thing we fast from is food. That’s why fasting for most people means staying away from food and consecrating themselves to the Lord.
If you fast from the internet by maybe giving your phone or laptop to someone for a period of time and focusing on fellowship, you will understand the negative effect of the internet on you more than the explanation I gave in this article.
I did this for two months and ooooh my God! It was a season of freedom for me.
I recommend at least a week in case you decide to do this.
Here is a video of Alex Wilson sharing his testimony on how staying away from the internet helped his relationship with God:
The internet cost me spiritual retrogression until I was free. I want you to be free as well. I was free didn’t mean I left the internet. It means I gained control.
But talk is cheap until action is taken over it. This article might inspire you. That’s, however, just two percent of my goal.
It only takes a few hours for what you are feeling to fade away if action is not taken over it.
Are you going to exit this page and still allow the internet to affect your spiritual life?
Then take action! Not later, now! Later is the twin brother of procrastination which is the enemy of progress. Especially right now that nothing is stopping you.
Let me recapitulate for you:
In the intro, I showed you how the internet, when wrongly or excessively used, feeds your soul and weakens the strength of your spirit man.
Then I mentioned 2 signs that the internet is affecting your spiritual life followed by the reasons why.
Lastly, I showed you the door out of the cage of the internet using 5 simple practical steps.
Simple, yet powerful!
So what’s the case on your side? Have you taken action? How was it? Can you share your experience with me? Would you like to add something or raise an objection? Or are you still struggling with the internet’s control over you? Let me know in the comment section.