You like to have a cell phone – but does the cell phone have you?

Let’s get something straight from the beginning…

I do have a cell phone.  I do text.  I’m not a paranoid “technology-is-evil” wacko!

But I do have concerns.  They flow out of my own experience – personally, and in dealing with my kids (who have cell phones and texting and facebook, and all that stuff).

My main concern is this:  Is Jesus the Master of the technology in my life, or is my technology the master of me?  It may sound like a silly question, but I don’t think so.

Think about it for a moment: Why does a buzzing box in my pocket warrant immediate attention, no matter what I’m doing?  Seriously, no matter what I’m doing.  When I look at it objectively, it’s seriously ridiculous!  I could be in a conversation with my wife, in the midst of a project that desperately needs to be finished, beginning to succumb to the anesthesia for a brain surgery, or even preaching a sermon (if my phone was on me at the time)… and that electronic vibration in my pocket would be an instant demand for my attention… and I know from experience that I don’t always resist it.  Who’s the master and who’s the slave?

It’s nothing new… when I was a kid you’d see this scene quite often in my house… the phone would ring and everyone in the house (except my dad) would yell at the top of their lungs, “I’ve got it!” and make a mad dash for the phone, trying to beat everyone else to the phone.  OK, maybe my mom didn’t dash to the phone, but I do remember her yelling like the rest of us.  I can’t count the number of times a conversation, television show, or chore was interrupted by the harsh warble of the phone… and our desire to answer it!

OH!!!!  If I could pay attention to the Spirit of God like I do the vibrations and beeps of my cell phone!  If I could stop and pay attention to His voice the moment I sense the nudge… If I could stop and pray when He convicts me of the need…  If I could… If I could…

I believe I can – by His grace.  Technology is like food, or other possessions.  It can be abused, or it can be submitted to the Lordship of Jesus, and used and enjoyed in such a way that it brings Him glory.  John Piper has a very good bead on that idea…  The grace of God is sufficient for me, and for you.  His power is perfected in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9).  We must attack these weaknesses and our proneness toward these particular sins, relying intensely on His grace to help us.

What about you?  Is Jesus Lord, or is your cell phone Lord?  Here are some self-check questions to help you examine your life.  The scenarios given in the parentheses are possible indicators that you might be out of balance.  Check with the Lord to see what He thinks…  Ask someone close to you what they think…

  • Are the technologies in your life (texting, cell phone, email, internet) truly a benefit to your life, or are they distracting you from your primary roles and tasks in life?  (Ever late for work because you stayed up too late watching that newest movie?  Ever miss an appointment or forget a responsibility because you were busy surfing the web?)
  • Are your technological conveniences causing you to become more calloused and less considerate toward people? (Ever check a text message “beep” in the midst of an important conversation?  Did you reply to it on the spot?)  Said another way, Are you treating people with contempt and technology with devotion?
  • Most importantly, are you honoring Jesus’ role as Master, or are you allowing yourself to commit electronic idolatry?  (Do you check your email, texts, etc. first thing every day, or do you make your time with the Lord a higher priority chronologically?  Have you ever texted in the middle of a worship service?)

I’m curious what you think about this issue…. feel free to comment!


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