For over a year, Bank of America has been heavily promoting their slogan, “Life’s Better When We’re Connected.” Each commercial in this series emphasizes how spending less time on banking allows you to be connected in other areas of life that are presumably more important. I saw their new commercial over Christmas Break that emphasized that “connection” (however they define it) is achieved through the use of your smart phone for all things banking. In fact, the ad says that achieving connection through your phone is, “new”, “easy”, “secure”, “simple”, and “smart”. Their word choice cannot go unnoticed. Who doesn’t want to be associated with what is “new, easy, secure, simple, and smart”? Perhaps looking at the alternative to each descriptive term would be helpful. Would you rather be seen as “old fashioned, difficult, unprotected, overly complicated, and stupid”?!?
With “connection” painted in such a positive light, what exactly is meant by that term? The commercials are intentionally vague, leaving each viewer to define “connection” however they want – Bank of America’s job is to allow you to achieve your goals, whatever they may be. Of course, Bank of America isn’t alone in heralding the need for connection. Just 6 months ago, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, announced his plan to “bring affordable internet access to everyone in the world. We believe that every person should have access to free basic internet services.”
Other social media sites continue to explode under the auspice of “providing connection.” Yet, this term remains vague, at best. Some have attempted to redefine “connection” in a less technological way without referencing Scripture to define the terms. While these attempts are valiant, and can be profitable, they ultimately fall short of an accurate description of “connection.” (See one of the most popular attempts to do so below)
But why is this notion of “connection’ so appealing? Why is it gaining ground at an unprecedented rate with no signs of stopping? In the words of Frank Gaebelein, it is because “all truth is God’s truth.” That is, because God says that “Life’s Better When We’re Connected”, it is true, whether the message is delivered by your Pastor or your bank. As providers of education from a Christian worldview, it is imperative that we define our terms from Scripture. While the phrase, “Life’s Better When We’re Connected” isn’t found in Scripture, the idea behind it permeates the Bible. 2 basic passages are helpful.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 states,
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
What is a connected life according to Scripture? A connected life is one where the rich truths of God are taught and discussed at every point of the day. A connected life is one where spirituality is not found solely in Bible class, Sunday School, church services, worship concerts, or preaching podcasts. Rather, spirituality is connecting the truth of God to every aspect of your day.
Perhaps one of the most misunderstood verses in the New Testament is James 5:16, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” One of my favorite professors in college, Dr. Tom Cragoe, pounded into his students that the key to understanding Scripture is (1) context and (2) word study. In the case of James 5:16, the key is context. The phrase immediately preceding the quoted portion reads,
“Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
So what does the connected life look like? It is a life characterized by confession of sin to brothers and sisters who are committed to praying for each other! Prayer certainly is powerful in other respects, but James is clearly showing it’s power when used by brothers and sisters on behalf of a fellow believer.
Is Bank of America right that “Life’s Better When We’re Connected”? Absolutely. Why are they right? Because God has commanded us to live a connected life! And what exactly does God say that life should look like? From Deuteronomy 6, it means a life where teaching yourself and others the truths of Scripture permeates every moment of your day. From James 5, it means a life where regular confession of sin to a group of like-minded believers is the norm. For life to truly be better because of our “connection”, it must be defined according to Scripture. Is your definition of “connection” the same as the definition found in Scripture?