It seems like everything is “online” these days. Virtually everything we do is now run by computers and complex web applications and the like. Lately I have found myself online trying to complete applications or sign up for products only to be left frustrated because the thing I’m trying to do is not working properly. So what do I do? I immediately select “click here for support.” I even did something really old fashioned the other day – I ran into a problem so I picked up the telephone and talked to a real, live person. I then get online with technical support and explain the problem. Many of these websites that I am struggling with are ones that I have visited on several occasions – so why is it not working NOW?
Thankfully, I have met some very gracious individuals through technical support who have been very patient and helped walk me through exactly what to do. The technical support person calmly explains that I need to “clear the cache” in order for the website to function properly. “Clear the cache,” I say. Got it. What does clear the cache mean? And what is a cache?
The cache is the place on your computer where your browser keeps data and information that it has already downloaded in case that information is needed again. Most browser developers assume that your internet is slow and cannot keep up with the amount of information you and your computer are trying to process in a given moment, so it keeps a record of all past information in order to easily access it again once you revisit a site. From time to time, this cache needs to be cleared so that new information from the websites you visit can be processed. All that to say, using online registration and database systems can be very frustrating if you don’t clear the cache from time to time. Hopefully, by sharing this I am helping many of you avoid some of my common frustrations online!
But this concept of clearing the cache got me thinking about the Christian life and what application there is for us in this concept?
Think of your heart like the cache on your computer. It is full of stuff! Every website you have ever visited. All the information that you soaked up online in a given day – every amount of information visually processed by whatever you have been doing – it’s all there in the cache. So if we were to look at each other’s cache, what would we discover about each other?
The idea is this: our hearts are like our web browser’s cache and we are constantly filling it with information. We live our lives constantly downloading information. In the 21st century, this literally looks like information we consume online or through our smartphones. My fear for you and myself is that we are filling our minds, our hearts, our lives with things of this world more than the things of God.
Think about it: If I watered my flowers every day with 1 cup of water and 2 cups of clorox, what is going to happen to my flowers? They will be killed by the clorox. The 1 cup of water cannot overtake the 2 cups of clorox – the clorox is too potent.
So what do we do? We need to clear the cache. We need to cleanse our hearts, our minds, our flesh of the things of this world to make way for the things of God. What does this look like?
I think it begins by being very intentional about our intake of information. We need to limit and radically reduce the content that does not spur us on to godliness and radically increase the content that points us to Christ. Practically, I think this means we should spend less time on Facebook and Netflix and more time reading our Bibles, listening to Christ-centered music and fellowshipping with others who will spur us on to pursue godliness in our everyday lives. I don’t think social media and television programs are evil things, but are these things so consuming in our lives that they are like watering your plants with more clorox?
So what do we do? How can we change our patterns and fill our lives and our hearts with the things of God?
Psalm 1 gives us some help here: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:1–3 ESV)
The Apostle Paul also offers some wisdom here: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:7–8 ESV)
May God help us to plant our lives in and by the things that will help us to mediates on the Word of God and bear fruit in the Christian life. See you Sunday!
Your friend and pastor,