In a book I recently read, I ran across the word “Infobesity”—sort of a spin off from the word obesity of which we are all well aware. I had never heard the term before!

I don’t think “infobesity” is a real word. I couldn’t find it in the dictionary—not yet. But I did find it on “Google.”

“Infobesity is information overload. It’s a state of being overwhelmed by the amount of data presented for one’s attention or processing. The term is used to refer not only to situations involving too much data for a given decision but also the constant inundation of data from many sources which is characteristic of modern life.”

From what I can ascertain many, if not most, people are afflicted with infobesity. We are literally drowning in information. We’ve all read the facts about how much new information is generated and available to us every day compared with how much used to be generated and available to us over many years.

With the onset of the internet, this has exploded exponentially.

I have a strong sense that this information onslaught has done a number on those of us who are Jesus-followers. We feel a need to keep up with everything that’s out there. At times our friends ask us if we have listened to the latest podcast by____insert your favorite nationally known communicator; it was awesome you must listen to it.

It seems like every well-known leader now has a website with blog posts and is moving into doing podcasts with other well-known leaders. This coupled with the newest Christian books available on a variety of relevant topics. Then there are all those sermons which can be accessed or downloaded for future listening or watching.

Of course, if we’re really serious about our walk with Jesus, we need to get into ALL of this so we don’t become a member of the FOMO (fear-of-missing-out) gang.

Some Christian leaders I know watch or listen to numerous sermons every week by their favorite preachers.

What all of this is resulting in is the mistaken belief that more information is equated with spiritual maturity and transformation. That is to say that if I had more information from all the sources mentioned above I would be more mature and therefore more pleasing to God.

The fact is that information (in and of itself) will never lead to transformation (maturity). We’re being sold a bill of goods.

Another thing which is happening is that Christians in general, and Christian leaders in particular, are spending less and less time in their Bibles—reading, journaling, meditating, studying, memorizing, praying and confessing. They’re online listening to what others are saying about the Bible.

What we are all actually getting is mostly what others are saying about the Bible, not what the Bible would say directly to us through the blessed Holy Spirit, who Jesus promised would lead us into an understanding of truth.

Here is a simple formula I’ve used and tried to live by for many years:

Information + contemplation + conversation + Application = Transformation

At every step in this, we need to invite the Holy Spirit to do what only He can do. We need to hear from God and respond in simple obedience to what we are hearing.

John 13:17 (ESV) makes this abundantly clear—“If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

Then we have James 1:22 (ESV)—“But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

Is James telling us that hearing and not doing is a form of self-deception?

It’s not in the knowing but in the obeying that the blessing (maturity, transformation)  lies. What we truly need is not just more knowing, but more obeying what we already know.

A word to those of you who spend time communicating biblical content, whether that be preaching, teaching or writing.

                                            Be more application-oriented than information-oriented.

People on the receiving end of what you share should be encouraged to think, have conversations and ask themselves what God would have them do with what they are receiving.

If you are a regular preacher/teacher, consider encouraging people to take notes on what they are hearing, and at the end of your presentation give them a minute or two to write something down they feel the Holy Spirit made clear with a simple next step—what do I believe God wants me to do with this?   



I wonder if infobesity may be just as big a problem as obesity is  for us