I remembered an occasion when I had an intense sudden cravings for a bottle of “Coca-Cola”. “I want to drink Coca-Cola. I want it now!” “Wait”, I stopped and pondered “Wait a minute, what is going on here? Why do I have such cravings?” I then realised that it was the “Coca-Cola” advertisement that was screened in the movie theatre earlier on that has affected me. The message of the advertisement of having a bottle of Coca-Cola “to quench your thirst” was powerfully etched in my mind unknowingly.
Thinking back, drinking a bottle of Coca-Cola may seem harmless. However, what if the advertisement was something else? What if it entails something that is harmful or even falsehoods? What if the messages from the imagery or narrative tempts me into addictions or sins? Living in a world of hyper-imagery and hyper-narrative, this is very possible. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to be self-controlled and alert, as the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Another word for “alert”, is “to be watchful”.
Every day, different messages are thrown at us, whether, we want to hear it or not, through our mobile devices, tablets, social media, television, emails, etc. We can also find all sorts of information, images, and even relationships in the internet. There is a crying need for “a filter”. We cannot take in and receive everything from media, which influences our minds, since not everything that is portrayed in media is good, ideal and beneficial. We need to constantly pause, reflect and discern the messages that we are receiving and how they are influencing us, our beliefs and actions. We need to discern between what is good and true, falsehood and harmful, that what is pleasing to God and what is not.
The other challenge in living in a world of hyper-imagery and hyper-narrative, is that the bible seems to pale in comparison, in being able to “catch my attention” and applicable or relevant to my world. Yet, the Word of God is life-giving, it is not stagnant and stale. The Word of God is powerful and life-changing. I have seen how the Word of God is lived out in generous love, courage and service that gives life to others. The Word of God gives hope and healing to the broken hearted, to the humble and contrite and comfort in period of dark times. I have heard testimonies of how people’s lives were saved from death, of how the Word of God brought them back to life and changed them. The Word of God reveals who God is. Ultimately, He is the owner of all creation, the Creator God and Redeemer.
Therefore, I reckon, it is more worthwhile to be tutored in God. God’s Word is still applicable and relevant today. Convinced of this, it gives me a hunger for Him and His Word. I also reckon, I can let the Word of God become an active engagement in my everyday life, a compass to discern my ways.
The Spirit can bring to my mind, God’s Word, even as I go about doing my daily chores and work, giving me faith, wisdom and joy in the Lord in my daily work. God’s Word is not stagnant and is most visible when lived out in a Christian community and the world.
Let us be tutored by God’s Word and not give up in encouraging one another, so that we may be alert and watchful, that we do not compromise in our faith and constantly aligning ourselves to our God, who is holy, loved us and laid down His life for us.
By Yvette Chen Yahui, Deaconess (YCKC Bulletin 21&22 May 2016)