Zoom fatigue exhausts us. Remote workers and those trying to keep in touch with friends and family know the feeling. Yet Zoom exhaustion is not the only kind of exhaustion that we are experiencing.
There is another kind of exhaustion that the internet age has brought us: we know everything about everyone and in every place. Every injustice, every grief, and every worry piped into our phones through instantaneous updates comes to us.
We doom scroll, ingesting the data and allowing it to fragment in our brains and minds.
Diverse data clouds our vision. We become exhausted, worried, and anxious. We may recognize Zoom fatigue but have we considered data fatigue?
While the world struggles and Christians debate civil liberties, I want to suggest that we should nevertheless spend most of our available time meditating on God in Christ Jesus.
When Christians focus on anything other than God in Christ who lives and died for our sake, then it becomes easy (or easier) to gain a sharp edge, an unkindness that our gentle and meek and courageous Lord never had.
Since Jesus lived an outward life, one by definition defined by self-giving, a laser-like focus on the Saviour will not prevent us from living justly in this world nor pursuing justice. It will just ensure that we do it with Christ at the centre of the cosmos.
The pandemic debates, the civil liberty debates, and the justice debates that so divide society and churches need the meek and lowly Jesus to abide in their and our midst.
I am not advocating an a-political existence. It is theoretically possible to divide reality into religion, politics, ethics, culture, and so on. But our individual experience of life demonstrates the impossibility of such a divided reality when it comes to individuals.
We cannot go to work and shut off our existence from religion; we cannot go to church and ignore our existence as political beings.
We are deeply embedded into the givenness of things. We remain in the world and even sent into it (John 17:11, 18), while we show ourselves to not “of it” in the sense of being born from the earth. Instead, we are born from above—heavenly creatures, newly created in the man from heaven who nevertheless live in the world and are sent to it.
We are here. We will be until death separates our body from our soul, and we enter into God’s presence.
Our mode of being in the world, however, should tell us something about how we ought to prioritize our time. Since we are born from above and will return to our Lord in heaven, we set our minds on the things that are above (Col 3:2; Phil 4:8).
Yet just as Jesus did the will of his Father on earth, so also do we. We exist as those who pursue goodness and justice in this world. Such goodness and justice flow, however, from the side of Christ as the Spirit flowed from his side into our minds so that we might become just.
For this reason, our life in the world centres on the person of Jesus Christ, mediated to us by the Holy Spirit through whom we can approach the Father’s throne. Our life should “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14).
The upward call signifies our orientation towards heaven, Christ. It does not deny the realities of this world nor our duty towards society (e.g., Rom 13) and neighbours (Matt 22:34–40). It means rather that we transfigure our relationship to society and others through our testimony to Jesus Christ.
So I return to my initial suggestion: While the world struggles and Christians debate civil liberties, I want to suggest that we should nevertheless spend most of our available time meditating on God in Christ Jesus who lived and died for our sake.
Stop doom scrolling. Instead, look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of the faith.