If you’re worried about “Zoom fatigue,” join the crowd. Just not on Zoom.
The Wall Street Journal reports that “before the pandemic, Zoom was barely known to the public. The nine-year-old company served mainly businesses, hosting lots of webinars and training.” However, in the midst of the pandemic, it has grown from ten million people attending online meetings at the end of last year to three hundred million in April.
These video conferences come at a cost, however.
When we talk to people in this way, it is difficult for us to read their body language or experience nonverbal or real-time feedback. Seeing ourselves on camera brings stress, as does the close proximity of faces on screen. (A Stanford study found that close facial images activate our innate fight-or-flight reactions.) And we are missing the positive biochemical reactions we experience in face-to-face relationships.
How do we combat Zoom fatigue? Harvard Business Review suggests that we avoid multitasking on video calls, build in breaks, reduce online stimuli such as busy backgrounds, and use phone calls or email rather than defaulting to video.
Choose meat over milk
Too many believers settle for secondhand encounters with our Lord. Like Zoom teleconferences, we meet Jesus through filters that can minimize his immediacy.
We listen to sermons, attend Bible studies, and consume media content such as this Daily Article. Such resources can be helpful, but they can also become an end rather than a means. Their larger purpose is to lead us to Jesus himself. Otherwise, like the Corinthians, we are settling for milk (digested food) rather than meat (1 Corinthians 3:1–2).
That’s why I’ve been writing this week on ways we can experience the living Lord Jesus in a more personal and transforming way. We’ve explored the importance of seeking an intimate relationship with our Savior by making time to hear his voice. Yesterday, we responded to George Floyd’s tragic death with God’s call to love others as he loves us.
Today, let’s close with two counterintuitive ways we can experience Jesus on a deeper level than ever before.
Choose to obey God’s word to hear his voice
I was asked in a recent radio interview if a single biblical verse captures my sense of calling. I cited Ephesians 4:15, “speaking the truth in love.” In a postmodern culture that defines truth as subjective and love as tolerance, it is vital that we speak the transforming truth of Jesus in the unconditional love of Jesus.
The text I cited calls us to this commitment, but it also shows us how to fulfill it: “We are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (vv. 15–16).
Jesus is the head; we are the body. He leads; we follow.
If the various parts of your body were unwilling to follow commands from your brain, you would be paralyzed. The same is true in the body of Christ.
We can do what we are intended to do and say what we are intended to say only when we are following the leadership of our Head. But unlike our hands and feet, you and I have free will and can choose to ignore our Lord and do what we want to do instead.
In that case, we may think that Jesus is not speaking to us when in fact, we are refusing to listen. If we choose to obey his word from Scripture and his Spirit, we will hear his word.
If you don’t sense the immediacy of Jesus or hear his voice in your heart, ask the Spirit if sin is blocking your relationship with your Lord and confess anything that comes to your thoughts. Choose to obey what you hear from your Master, and you will hear from your Master.
The old adage is still true: If you don’t feel close to Jesus, guess who moved.
Choose to share God’s word to hear his voice
To hear our Lord’s voice, we must also be willing to tell others what he asks us to share with them. His word may only be for you, but it may be for others as well. What he does in us, he does through us.
Numbers 29 records that after Moses received a long set of sacrificial regulations, he “told the people of Israel everything just as the Lord had commanded Moses” (v. 40).
If the omniscient, omnipotent God of the universe has given us his word and will, guidance that will enable him to use and bless us most fully, sharing that word is the most relevant and urgent gift we can give to others.
We are called to share this word, whether people receive it or not. The Lord assured his people: “Fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings. For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool, but my righteousness will be forever, and my salvation to all generations” (Isaiah 51:7–8).
And we are to share this word in love: “If I have all prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge . . . but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2).
“I stand at the door and knock”
I have been privileged to teach doctoral seminars at Oxford University for Dallas Baptist University several times over the years. During one of my week-long visits to this historic campus, I slipped into the chapel at Keble College where Holman Hunt’s masterpiece, Christ the Light of the World, is displayed.
Hunt brings to life Jesus’ statement to the church at Laodicea: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). The artist’s details are amazing—the weathered door on its rusted hinges, overgrown foliage on the ground, a lantern in Jesus’ left hand.
But one item is left out: the door has no handle. That’s because Jesus cannot open it. Only you can.
Will you open your door to your waiting Lord today?