Have you ever noticed that your computer knows what you like? And it isn’t just your computer. The websites you visit know what you like, and they know what you search for. They know what you buy. Your smart phone knows where you are and where you are going. These devices and websites will even make recommendations for you. Does that ever freak you out?
I understand how it basically works. And I enjoy the integration of technology into my life. But I’ll admit… it is creepy. Some people feel violated by it all. I don’t know if I feel violated. I don’t think so. After all, it is my choice to visit every site I do and use every device I use. There are certainly some privacy issues at stake, and wherever there is an unannounced invasion of privacy there is a problem. But generally, I think most of the integration goes with the territory, and is largely beneficial to our online experience.
The fact that people are thrown off by the depth of the integration is my focus in this devotional. Facebook knows when I shop on Amazon or Priceline. I know this because immediately after visiting those sites, ads for clothes or hotels will pop up in my Facebook sidebar… whether I booked the trip and bought the shoes or not. When that happens, I am immediately a little bit offended. If I wanted Facebook’s recommendation or help, I would ask for it. This is my trip, and my feet. Leave me alone… and stay out of my shopping and plans. Some people are extremely offended by this activity. I get it.
But I find it interesting that we are more acutely aware and concerned that Facebook and Google are keeping tabs on us than we are that God is watching everything… not just what we do, but what we think. Facebook may know that you are trying to book a vacation in Cancun. God knows what you want to do when you get there. Yet we are more upset that Facebook knows we are trying to get a hotel room.
There are ways to hide your activity from various websites. You can even turn off your location feature on your smart phone. But you can never be outside of God’s watchful eye. That truth can be a comfort or a warning. I hope we see it as both. I would encourage you to not jst focus on the weirdness of Google knowing what you like to search for and miss the conviction of God about those things you like to look for.
Here’s the thing… God not only knows what you have done or are doing… He knows what you want to do (as well as what you will do). As a believer, you have the Holy Spirit inside of you to guide you away from sin and into holiness. He guides into truth. He is convicting, even before you act. In other words, one of the greatest things about God is, He knows our heart and can make ‘recommendations’ for our activity. Amazon can make movie recommendations based on my past habits. And sometimes I take those recommendations. It is freaky, but it is cool. God knows the beginning from the end, the past from the future. And He is able to use what He knows to help you live a successful Christian life.
One of the writers of the Bible (long before the internet) put it this way, “For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.” (Hebrews 4:12-13) He judges the thoughts of your heart. No creature is hidden from Him. God isn’t trying to invade your privacy for His own gain, like Facebook and Google. He is trying to infuse your whole life with resurrection power for your eternal gain.
Today be aware that God is intricately involved in every aspect of your life. To paraphrase Jesus in modern jargon, “Don’t freak out about the website that can track your every move on the internet. Fear and trust in the One who will judge you for every keystroke, but loves you enough to convict you of it, and lead you into holiness.” (The original verse can be found at Matthew 10:28)
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.
My name is David, and I want to know God more, and help other people find Him.