As a geek, I will admit that I used to be fascinated with the latest gadget news. I still follow several technical sites that get excited at the newest and most awesome. For instance, I read about a hardware manufacturer’s new Windows 8 tablet this morning. For the writer, this was the new “shiny” with respect to tablets. I felt like drool was dripping off my computer screen and onto the keyboard. It’s not just technology. We see this in fashion. We see this in firearms. We see this in knives. We see this in college football prospects. We see this in cars. We see it in all areas of life. We are too often focused on what looks good, what the newest, that we don’t check it’s substance. The research shows that we are often wrong on our first impressions yet we still stick by them. How bad can we get? How about this?
And he had a son whose name was Saul, a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people. – 1 Samuel 9:2, ESV
Saul was the new shiny. He was taller than anyone else. He was the best looking guy around. Certainly he was better looking and a more kingly figure than old Samuel and Samuel’s wicked sons. The people wanted a king. Samuel tried to warn them. They still wanted a king. So God was going to give them exactly what they thought they wanted: a guy that looked like a king when you first saw him. That was Saul. You could go point-by-point on how he was a better candidate, just like the write-up on the latest version of a popular smartphone. People loved him when they looked at him. And if you know your Bible history, he did have some good points. However, this new shiny was a very tarnished man indeed.
We can easily be seduced by looks or appearances, especially if we don’t take time to dig deeper. This is true whether we’re talking about a new phone, a new house, a new car, a new job, or a new potential mate. How many times do we have to hear about a husband ditching his wife and kids for a new, younger, supposedly prettier woman? Now it’s not so uncommon to hear the situation in reverse, whn the woman wants to call it quits. Or what about bouncing from job to job looking for that pay increase, meanwhile burning bridges all along the way? It could be a $50,000 car you don’t really need when you’ve got other financial issues, or the $300,000 house you can’t actually afford the mortgage on. It looks so good we just have to have it. He or she is just, wow, that we’re willing to short circuit common sense to be with that person.
We’ve all been guilty of this, whether it’s a tech gadget or a job or a significant other. The key is to take a step back and look at it with God’s perspective. Wait, we’re not God. How is that possible? We have the Holy Spirit. We have a promise from Him that He’ll give us wisdom if we just ask. Maybe I can’t see like God. However, I can ask God what He sees. When you feel your emotions wind up and your heart start thumping for the new shiny, that’s the time to pause. That’s the time when you really need to calm yourself and seek His face. Otherwise, the new shiny will have a strong power over you. It may win you over on pure emotional appeal. And likely if it does, you’ll walk into a mistake.
On the other hand, if you pause and ask God and you sense that He’s saying it’s okay, then go for it, so long as you know it’s not in violation of the Scriptures (in which case, you can conclude that what you sensed wasn’t really God). There’s nothing wrong marrying a physically beautiful/handsome spouse if that’s the person God has prepared for you. There’s nothing wrong with getting a new smartphone if other priorities aren’t compromised. There isn’t even anything wrong with that shiny sports car or dream house, again, if other priorities aren’t compromised. The catch is that we should make such decisions calmly and with the guidance of our Lord, not on our emotion. Watch out for the shiny. Don’t let it seduce you.