“All things are lawful for me but not all things are helpful; All things are lawful but not all things are edifying” (1 Corinthians 10:23).
We live in a world controlled by the internet. My grandmother, if she were alive, would say we are consumed by it. I, at 50 years old, even find myself speaking of times of old when life was simpler. I tell my kids of the times when the greatest gift teenagers could get was their own telephone line in their bedroom, and it was attached to the wall…with a long cord to make us mobile. I remember when call-waiting was implemented into mainstream America and we thought it was the coolest thing ever, when we dialed 411 for information and POPCORN for the time, and when the touch tone phone became the “thing,” but those days are long gone, and the Smartphone and all of its features have taken over our lives.
We do everything on our phones from banking, bill paying, scheduling appointments, confirming appointments, taking pictures, storing pictures, and staying in touch with friends and family. We even monitor our homes and start our cars with our phones. They are really smart. But most of all, we tweet, chat, post, laugh-out-loud, like, frown, cry, and create comedic videos, memes, comment and read blogs with our phones. There is no doubt about it, our Smartphones have made everything in our lives convenient, but at what cost?
“All things are lawful (or permissible) for us, but all things are not edifying” (1 Corinthians 10:23).
In these times, I cannot seem to have a conversation with my teenager without her head being buried in the phone. I noticed while sitting in church a few weeks ago that there were many eyes focused and heads bent and buried in these tiny computers that allow us to mentally go everywhere and anywhere in the world. We can escape any situation through our phones-even church service. I am just as guilty and try to justify it by telling myself I’m doing a good thing by telling everyone I’m in church-I’m witnessing! Yeah, right! (I don’t think so).
I recognize that I spend a lot of time on my phone communicating with my friends, but what are we really talking about? Is it edifying or just time consuming or even worse, gossiping? Am I encouraging them to keep pushing forward for God, or am I creating a playground for Satan and his demons? This is a very good question. The Bible tells me to glorify God in all I do, not the Devil.
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth but that which is good to the use of edifying that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).
I confess that when I’m bored, I scroll. When I can’t sleep, I scroll. Stopped at a traffic light, I scroll. Waiting in line, I scroll…I scroll… and scroll… and scroll. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is grab my phone to check the time, turn off the alarm, and if there is a message, notification, or missed call, it starts there- a day of distractions. I heard a preacher say, “What the Enemy cannot destroy, he distracts,” and boy am I distracted. While I am free to peruse the internet and live my life between cell towers and Wifi stations if I desire, is it really beneficial? For me it is not. While not all of my time on my Smartphone is wasted or useless, a lot of it is.
So, I began to think, (or maybe it was a nudging from the Holy Spirit), “What would happen if I decided to unplug and go dumb for a while? What if I made a conscious decision to do away with my Smartphone, laptop, and PC for everything except business? What if I decided not to google, make a post, or share a pic? What would happen? What would I do with the time? What would I hear from God? Would I even spend more time with God, or just fill it with other distracting things?”
Of course I thought of all of the reasons it would not work, too: How would anyone get in touch with me? What if it’s an emergency? How would I know what’s going on in the world or in my communities? I “NEED” my phone.
But my reality is no one really needs me as much as I‘d like to believe. That’s pride. My children are all grown up. My youngest is 18 years old and very independent. Besides, we live in the same home, so if she really needed me she could “wait” (Oh No!) to get me at home or call her father. I have a work phone (yes, a Smartphone), so if it’s work related, it would ring. My mother is with my sister so whatever she needs, my sister can handle.
I can really do this if I want to, but do I really want to? Or I can make excuses for the addiction and continue.
“But I beat my body and bring it into submission lest by any means, after I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected” (1 Corinthians 9:27, NHE).
When I am more concerned with the number of “likes” and “shares” I receive on a post, picture or comment; or want to make sure everyone sees my cute outfit’; or “have” to take a picture of the food I’m eating; or check in on my location, I am distracted.
And I was not saved for distraction!
This was not part of the deal. I gave my life to Jesus Christ to be a Salt and Light to this world, not self-absorbed and consumed with my own life. I was drafted into God’s army to be vigilant of the enemy, not distracted by his smokescreens. I am determined to glorify God with my thoughts and deeds, which is why I work on it daily. I’ve said this before, “God is not looking for perfection, only consistency.” Thank God!
During my time in this life, I hope to edify others through the testimonies of God and His power in my life, so as I write this blog, I am unplugged. It has been two days now, and I am still functioning. I have not been on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or in any chat groups, only engaging in the internet and technology whenever necessary which is mostly for work purposes; although I had to “plug in” to write and submit this post and uphold my commitment to this blog. Other than that my phone has been turned off. I am officially, prayerfully. gratefully, faithfully and humbly dumb!
I know in this cyber-sensitive society it’s hard to imagine life without our Smartphones, emails, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and I am just as curious to see how this goes. At the end will I be able to testify to great revelations and deliverance from God, or identify yet another hang-up or habit in my life to overcome? Am I able to resist the pull of modern day conveniences, and dodge the pitfalls of the enemy? We’ll see. Check back in Friday and I’ll tell you how it went.
Freedom is the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.