Apple’s recent sales pitch for their iPhone stated, “Call it better, faster, and even more worldly.” Worldliness and godliness are opposed to each other. True, an iPhone isn’t worldly in itself. Technology is neither good nor bad. But technology has a potential (and a history) for trouble.
In our last article, we submitted some thoughts about listening to God: not a listening for a voice from heaven, but rather, a sensitivity to His Word as I meditate upon it and an openness to His guidance as I pray and seek His face. Listening to God also includes a sensitivity of conscience before God, being ready to change my ways when I realize something isn’t right in my life. Paul could say in Acts 24:16, “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.” Let’s look now at some ways to keep our conscience clear in regard to technology. The writer does not claim immunity to these things. They are real troubles for all of us, and we need to support one another and pray for each other.
Time trouble: Too much tech
You’ve heard it before, but it’s so important, you need to hear it again. At the end of the day, you ask yourself, “Where did the time go?” Did it go down the techno-drain, or did it produce something for eternity? In an iPhone survey by bimeanalytics.com, 33% of U.S. respondents said that they use their iPhone 30 to 49 times a day. That’s about once every 40 minutes.
Of course, we’re not talking 30 phone calls. As we already mentioned, iPhones have become useful for many things, from checking the weather to searching the Scriptures. But the next time you settle down to a game of Angry Birds, take a moment to ask yourself, “Is this going to matter tomorrow … next year … after this life?” (Matt 6:33; James 4:14).
“I’m bored, so I surf the web”
If you’re a bored Christian, then you’re missing out, and your Lord is missing out too.
Christians are leaving assemblies, citing lack of fellowship. Have you thought about giving someone a call or suggesting a get-together? What about a private Bible study or hymn-sing? How about visiting the elderly in a local nursing home (James 1:27)? The list goes on.
But maybe you’re the one feeling neglected and everyone else is “too busy.” Remember that God will never neglect you. Take that time you could waste on the Internet and, instead, invest it in time alone with God: get into His Word. Get to know God. Fellowship with other Christians is wonderful; fellowship with God is essential.
How long has it been since your neighbors received gospel literature? What about the cities nearby? Have you thought about organizing a get-together to spread God’s Word to those around you?
How is your Bible knowledge? Can you relate the major theme for each book? Have you made outlines of the Scriptures and studied their contents? Why be bored, when the best of all books is still unexplored?
Prayer is easily neglected. This is one thing we can do at any time, no matter where we are. Great men and women of God have always been men and women of prayer.
Check out lostsheepfinders.com for ideas on how to reach others with the gospel. The next time you are bored, remember that time is too precious to waste.
“I’m just too busy”
If it’s not boredom, it’s often busyness that robs God. We must never be too busy for God (Luke 10:41-42). If technology makes your life too busy for the things of God and fellowship with His people, then something needs to change. When invited, do you find yourself constantly saying, “I’d really like to come but …”? As your day draws to a close, ask yourself, “Have I meditated on something from God’s Word today, in the quietness of His presence?”
Is technology a tool or a toy for you? How much is a toy worth? The next time you look longingly at the latest gadget, take a moment to ask yourself, “Do I need it? Is this going to add treasure in heaven?” (Matt 6:19-20). Spending hundreds of dollars on items that help waste your time may not be the best investment.
As well, do you flinch when you see your cell phone bill? If you really need that phone time, you might consider using an app like GrooVe IP or research other options to cut down on those phone bills.
Do you bring your work home with you, or can you leave it at work? If technology is robbing you of your family time, think about the priorities God has given us. Yes, we are responsible to provide for our families, but not at the expense of those relationships. On the other hand, sometimes technology enables working from home, which can be of great benefit when managed properly.
Technology is a wonderful tool for spreading the gospel, but it can also have a very detrimental effect on others. Think about the following questions in regard to being a good testimony for Christ.
“Is this going to bring glory or shame to my heavenly Father?” (1Cor 4:5; 10:31)
“Can I do this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, with His authority?” (Col 3:17).
Did you know that watching movies through an app on Facebook may post a story to your news feed about what you’re watching without your knowledge? (Never view videos that ask you to share them with others before viewing.)
Remember Mr. Dryburgh’s five points to WATCH: your Words, your Actions, your Thoughts, your Company, your Heart. What comes in, often comes out. If you’re using the Internet or watching television, some of this is pretty hard (or impossible) to avoid. We do well to consider seriously if the risks are worth it.
When it comes to the Internet, there are some things we can do to help safeguard our eyes and thoughts.
A good, free tool to filter the content you and your family come into contact with on the web is K9 Web Protection (k9webprotection.com). Add time restrictions, make exceptions, force safe search, and monitor user activity. It also has an app option. This is only one program of many. Be aware! There is no perfect solution. Programs can’t look at pictures and tell you if they are bad or not. They can only filter out sites that are known to contain bad material. This includes sites like YouTube that could be used legitimately (although the writer believes no young child should be allowed to use YouTube unsupervised for long periods of time). This program enables the parent to give timed access to sites that may contain objectionable material.
YouTube allows you to turn on safety mode at the bottom of the screen. Check the box to lock safety mode for this browser and repeat for all of your computer’s browsers. As far as I know, once it’s on, you can’t remove it.
Chrome and Firefox browsers have a plugin/extension called Adblock Plus which filters out many advertisements.
Satan’s methods haven’t changed. From the beginning, his tactics have been to tempt and flaunt with the unknown and sensual pleasure, making it out to be something desirable–something you are missing out on, something that you ought to have but that God has withheld from you. Remember that to eat from that tree will spell disaster, and will bring ruin and devastation into your life. The garden with all its enjoyment of God’s blessings, the participation in His work, the fellowship with His people, and the communion with His person will be lost if you eat from that tree. Remember the first Adam and his fall, and honor the Last Adam and His sacrifice. The first tree meant certain death. Calvary’s tree meant death. Remember, also, that your old self died at Calvary’s tree (Rom 6).
It is habit-forming, mind-altering, detrimental to relationships, and simply disgusting. Pornography is responsible (at least in part) for the breakup of families and the breakdown of marriage relationships. Think outside of emotions and passions and see it from God’s perspective. Force yourself to think about the future ramifications of your present actions. Cultivate your relationship with the Lord, family, and other believers. Meaningful, satisfying relationships go far beyond the physical. We all need grace to be preserved from this trap that has ensnared many. Satan uses it just like he uses drugs and alcohol. “Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren” (James 1:15-16 NASB). Flee! Follow! (2Tim 2:22).
Christ is our perfect example
Satan tempted the Lord with the glory of worldly things, but Christ would not dishonor His Father nor bypass Calvary. Through death He rendered Satan powerless and procured eternal glory. All authority has been given to Him in heaven and on earth, and His are the glory and dominion forever (1Peter 4:11). We have been called to share in that glory, but we must have patience and be willing to suffer first. (See Rom 8:12-17).
A word on modesty (1Tim 2:9)
The world we live in has largely lost a sense of modesty due to many things, including advertising, television, and the Internet. Please do not contribute to this sensual, immodest world by posting your beach (or perhaps prom) photos on social media (we won’t address the other related issues here). By doing so, you tempt others to sin, and that is serious. Men respond to visual stimuli far more than most realize. Modesty is beautiful to a spiritual man and of great price to God. Remember that!
It’s Worth the Trouble
We have a good, giving God. “No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psa 84:11). Let your desire be to walk in His way, and His desire will be to bless and delight you beyond words.
-To be continued