I’m a bit of a news junkie, so much so that I will read stories that don’t really even interest me so that I am up-to-date on current events. It’s actually a bit ridiculous at times. I mean I don’t like reality television, I don’t watch it, but if there is a story about one of the shows I will, more than likely, eventually get around to reading it when I am done with the stories I am actually interested in.
One of the things that bothers me though are the ads on some of these news sites. I know you’ve seen them, they are the ones that are woven into the “Other Stories Like This” or “Other Stories You Might Be Interested In” or whatever it is, and they are designed to look like legitimate news stories. Quickly glancing over I will end up clicking on these now and then finding myself taken to a secondary website that slows down my browser or opens up pop-ups or something like that.
I know, in the grand scheme of things it is a minor annoyance, but still it’s a distraction that gets me off track. Yes, it may only take a moment or two to navigate away. Maybe if it was only the stolen moment it wouldn’t be so bad, but it distracts. A moment turns into a few and those moments end up adding up little by little.
Maybe I’m being a bit on the ridiculous side. I mean why should it really bother that much to begin with?
A part of it is that it is disguised as something else, as if trying to trick me into clicking. The people who design these ads know that I wouldn’t look if it said exactly what it was, so they mask it as something else.
That’s the nature of false teachings, isn’t it? It isn’t presented like it actually is. No, it is presented as something different entirely. It is shown to us like those stories that are “Related to” as it takes little bits of God’s Word, these kernels of truth, and makes them look like they belong. In the end though they are meant as nothing more than to distract you, to fill your head with irrelevant stories, and fake information that does nothing but eats away at your time.
The difference though is that while these ads may waste some of your time, they are harmless. False teaching is not. It rots away at our spirit and eats away at our soul, causing us to stumble and to falter as we put our faith in places where it shouldn’t be, or find a way to justify sin and unrighteousness as we move further and further from God. These teachings don’t just distract us from some hobby or interest. They distract us from God, and His will and His plan for us, from His Word and His love for us. It is why the Apostle Paul is so firm in places First Corinthians, Colossians and Second Thessalonians that we be on guard from deception. He is not alone in his warning. Remember the warning God spoke through the Prophet Jeremiah, “Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed.”
We need to be on constant guard, testing the spirits, looking to God’s Word to teach us and instruct as it guides us through this world wrought with challenges and stumbling blocks to our faith. We need to pay special attention to what is being said to us about Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and Scripture, delving into the Bible as the source of God’s wisdom. It is there to direct us and to keep our minds of confusion and doubt. We need to make certain that we are using it as such.
Yes, it can be confusing at times in this world as falsities clamor for your attention. Yet when you take the time to see it for what it is worth, to see it as nothing more than a distraction you will find that you are in a better place to keep your head clear and your heart steadfast in the true faith and the salvation that comes through our Savior Christ Jesus.
Lord, grant this unto us all…