Who knows me better than Google?
October 22, 2020
By Deb Benigni, Grow Coordinator
You may have noticed that social media knows a lot about you. You search for something on Amazon and up pops an ad in your FaceBook stream for the same item. Click on one cat video and your feed is instantly full of not just cats, but animal videos of all kinds.
Social media enables software to draw correlations from an individual’s likes and dislikes in order to target them for advertising dollars. Basically, Google knows a whole lot about you—simply by what you click on.
The technology is pretty sophisticated. Each smartphone or other device is differentiated from hundreds of millions of other devices by a unique ID. Google’s version is known as GAID (Google Advertiser Identification); Apple’s is called IDFA (Identifier For Advertisers). Your search behavior is thus identified and tracked by programs running in the background to determine who you are—or the bundles of behavior that Google and its associated business partners reduce you to—so that they can serve up a buffet of products based on your “private” likes, appetites, and desires.
Kinda scary, huh? But while Google is good at knowing your “history,” it’s not very good at figuring out ALL of who you are.
Psalm 139 tells me that while Google may think it knows me, God knows me better.
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” ~Psalm 139:1-7
God knows you and He knows me intimately, because He created us. He knows our thoughts, actions, responses, desires, hurts, fears, joys, and regrets. He knows what we’ve chosen in the past—for good or ill—but also what our future looks like.
There is nothing that God doesn’t know about us, and you know what? He’s here for all of it. He’s here to walk beside us. He won’t ever look at our history and serve us up just more of the same, because he wants us to GROW. He’s hoping we make choices that lead us closer to Him.
He’s also given us the freedom to choose for ourselves.
To Google, I’m a “user.” I’m defined by my likes and appetites, and I’m really just an economic unit. God knows me as something much more. 1 Samuel 16:17 says, “…For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
God knows my heart, the innermost part of me.
When life, like social media, tosses things in my path based on my history, God is showing me that I don’t have to choose them. I can choose to write a new history based on more than what I click on, but on an eternal identifier that REALLY defines who I am.
When I choose God, I am refining my uniqueness in a way Google can’t track. I create true individuality, furthering the gulf between what Google knows about me and what God knows about me, because Google doesn’t know everything.