The following article is by Josh Gulley. Josh is the son of preacher man, a high school music teacher and member of the church in the same county that I live in, but he’s not a member at Keltonburg…hey, everyone has to have a flaw or two 🙂 Hope you find his words of warning helpful:
iPhones or iDols?
Cell phones can be wonderful tools. They have made the world smaller by allowing us to communicate more quickly and conveniently than has ever been possible. Using smartphone technology we can do almost anything, from paying our bills to controlling the lighting and air conditioning in our home while we’re not there. It has made life much easier—no longer must we waste all that energy opening the door or peeking out the window to check the weather: we can do that with just a few touches of the screen. Jesting aside, they have become a useful addition to our lives, and I imagine that there are some children of God who have (as I suppose we should) given Him thanks for the blessings cellular technology has brought to our lives.
As with every other good thing, however, cell phones can grow on us like warts. Days and weeks pass before we realize that we are touch-screening our lives away. Some of us have perhaps had the experience of turning around and driving miles back to our homes because we were almost to our destination when we realized our phone was not on our person. We feel like the earth’s rotation will stop if we are without our phones for an hour or two. At some point we cease using our phones because our phones are beginning to use us.
I personally do not have a smartphone (yet), but I know the description above can be true based on simple observation and experiences with other technology. As a teacher in a public school, I constantly have to remind students to put their phones away. If I do this at the beginning of class, within two or three minutes of giving that direction I will see somebody holding their book in just such a way to hide their phone from my sight. I am afraid some of them are drifting into a world where they depend on having that gadget in their hand the way we as humans depend on food and shelter.
One of the Psalmists wrote, “Blessed is the man…whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night” (1:1-2). How many of us are guilty of spending less time reading God’s Word than we spend texting, pixing, flixing, and surfing? Would our spiritual lives be better or worse if the quantities of our phone time and Bible time were suddenly switched? Would there be fewer empty pews if we swapped conversations about apps for inviting people to worship? I’m not advocating the cancellation of our cellular contracts here. I’m just asking whether we are occasionally guilty of letting our gadgets become gods that we exalt above our Creator.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9—“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 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. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” What if the world looked at the body of Christ and said, “There’s not a one of those people who you can talk to for more than three minutes without them making some kind of reference to Jesus. It’s like they can’t live without Him. One of them told me the other day that they got halfway to work and turned around because they left their Bible at home.” God, give us the hunger to allow Your Word to swallow us up instead of our phones or cars or homes or jobs or music or magazines or movies or clubs or sports or fitness plans or 401k’s or whatever it is that is diverting our attention away from You.