My phone stopped working last week. Maybe this is why I’ve been noticing so many people are on their mobile devices recently.
- The dad scrolling through newsfeed at his daughter’s softball game.
- The guy in the car next to me glancing back and forth between his phone and the road.
- The half a dozen tables of teenagers at the coffee shop with their friends—phones out, heads down, and fingers swiping screens.
Human beings feel a hunger for more, and this hunger is good. It’s put in us by God, and it’s meant to draw us toward relationship, toward fruitfulness, and toward God Himself.
Day to day, we’re tempted to bring our hunger to a million different places. And I think many of us are particularly prone to this temptation when it comes to the digital world.
The Internet gives 24/7 access to a truly astounding and ever-changing cache of experience, talent, humor, heart, information, personality, entertainment, and so much more.
Our devices can serve to help us connect deeply with others, do meaningful work, give cheerfully and generously, and develop and maintain spiritual rhythms.
It can also deliver a heck of a lot of competition to the real people sitting across the table and to God, too. He doesn’t promise on-demand answers or reprieve from life’s difficulties. In contrast, the Internet gives us a sense of tapping into something infinite, even though it doesn’t.
If you’re like me, you may often find yourself approaching the digital world in ways that get in between you and others, distract you from work, dimming your spiritual senses, spend time focused on things that matter very little to you (or perhaps things that matter but in ways that make very little difference whatsoever in the real world).
Being thrust into a time without my phone has been a good reminder that I’m a human being, made to connect not just digitally but physically.
My phone is working again, and I’m grateful. But I’m also keeping in mind Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians: “All things are permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial. All things are permissible, but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12).
At the end of the day, my mobile makes a great servant, but a horrible master. I need Jesus within me to help me discern between the two and to use it wisely.
Question: How do you use your mobile device to help you live meaningfully? In particular, are there things you do to help deal with the temptation to misuse it? Leave a comment here.