Summary: unless the information you are absorbing matches the wisdom God has revealed in His Word it’s ultimately going to lead to trouble
OPEN: I imagine that there are few people who are not aware that we live in a culture of information overload today. I read a portion of a book by a guy named Alvin Toffler that warned about the difficulty a person can have making decisions and even understanding life when there is too much information coming his way. He's credited with coining the term "information overload." The book was written in 1964 -- years before Al Gore invented the internet. Imagine what he would have to say today. I found one survey by the Council for Research Excellence that said the average American adult now spends 8-1/2 hours a day staring into screens. Generation X is now being called Generation Text. 24 hours per day, we are living in an age of information overload. With all the televisions, computers, smart phones, and GPS units, it is both easy and convenient to spend the majority of your day processing data from one screen or another. Can you even imagine what life would be like without Facebook, IPhones, email, blogs, Twitter, texting, IM messaging, cell phones, and computers? When it comes to information, it seems that everybody wants everything all the time instantly. The selling point for most of the new products on the market is more information and faster wherever you go.
This has led to a new syndrome that some have begun to cope with - some scientists are calling it i-Brain. It's more than just the results from an over-stimulated brain -- the dull, burnt-out stare from too much information. I-Brain occurs when there is so much screen time that certain brain circuits which are used in face-to-face interactions begin not to function and a person's fundamental social skills begin to be affected -- like talking and listening and responding appropriately on an emotional level. It has a physiological impact on people. This overload of digital data is impacting people to the point where they struggle to function on an interpersonal level. We have gone beyond the point of saturation. I read one statistic that said it would take one person 8 million years to read the data that is currently on the internet.
We are all aware that we have to monitor the quality of the information that comes our way -- we are now at the point where we have to also monitor the quantity of information that we take in every day. We have more information available at our fingertips than all the previous generations who have come before us combined yet we still live in a world that is just as confused as it has ever been. Even if you put the internet off to the side, just sorting through the average amount of information that comes our way outside of computers can be daunting. We live in an age of confusion.
At first I was approaching this passage as a distinctly modern but managing the flow of information is nothing to new to God's people. In fact the Bible is full of warnings of how important data management is. Data management has been an issue man has had to deal with from the very beginning -- going all the way back to the Garden of Eden. IN fact one of the first lessons mankind learns in our relationship with God is unless the information you are absorbing matches the wisdom God has revealed in His Word it's ultimately going to lead to trouble. One of the first things the enemy tries to do to a new believer is to confuse them. There is a lot of very unwise information that will only add confusion and pain to your life so the Bible warns us over and over again to be very discerning when it comes to processing information.
So today we are going to be talking about the wisdom In the first part of this chapter James has been talking about how we use our tongues. A great deal of the teaching in James is corrective in nature. James is a pastor who loves his little flock but they've begun to operate outside of the standards the Lord has determined for His church. So in love he is putting his finger on the sensitive areas and poking around - his heart's desire is to bring them back into the pattern that has been laid down for the church. He wants them to live with wisdom and understanding and not confusion. Those two words (wisdom and understanding)are key
-- let me show you why:
But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding. (Jerm. 10:12)
God made this world according to his wisdom and understanding. God has designed this planet to function in precisely the way the way he wants it to function. He has ordained certain physical laws that can't be broken. Gravity, for example - If we violate God's natural laws, there is a consequence that has to be paid. Try violating gravity even one time and see if you can avoid the consequences. So part of growing up also involves understanding God's physical laws and coming to an understanding that when we do violate them -- we pay a price for it. - there is something else we tend to forget -- what is true for the realm of the physical, is also true in the realm of the physical. In fact this understanding might be even more important for us to grasp -- because the consequences are more serious.