For those who don't know me personally, we have been home educating for the last nine years. Every year around March I attend a Christian homeschool conference with hundreds of other homeschool parents. This conference offers an endless amount of seminars for you to pick and choose from that cover subjects relating to homeschooling, parenting, managing your home, living a Christian life, and many other areas that just relate to life in general.
One of the first things I do after checking into the conference is sit down somewhere, go through the lists of seminars, and read the descriptions of each one. I map out which ones I plan to attend and at which times, so that I can attend all the ones I'm interested in. Every year I feel the Lord guiding me as I choose and every year they are always different. He always knows exactly what I need before I do. I leave the conference so refreshed and clear-minded on the direction I need to go, educationally and personally.
This year as I read through the lists of seminars, I was drawn to one subject in particular. There were many others that I thought would be interesting, but this one subject captured my full attention. I wanted to attend every seminar on this subject and I think I ended up doing just that.
What I'm sharing with you today has been poking me in my side to say for a while now, but just recently has started feeling like a heavy weight on my shoulders. I really feel like the Lord is convicting me, which means something has to change. It’s something that most of us are dealing with in our lives on a daily basis. You may not even realize the impact it is having on you and your family.
So, what is this subject I've been referring to? It’s my addiction (and probably some of yours) to my smartphone. Well, it’s probably not so much the phone itself, but some of the addictive apps that are on my phone. You see, I’ve been doing lots of research into the subject since I went to the conference in March. Did you know that these app/phone companies hire top neuro doctors to help design them to be addictive? This is why the top executives in these companies do not even allow their own children to have them. They know the harm that can come from these “smart” phones.
We hear all the time about how kids spend too much time on these phones playing games, watching videos, scrolling endlessly on social media...but what about the adults?? Yes, I agree the kids do need to cut back A LOT. But, is anyone addressing the problem with adults? I think it's harder for adults to acknowledge this problem because our phones are a tool. We use them to work, to research, to take pictures and videos, to listen to books or podcasts, to read our Bible, to do all the things we used to use ten other things for...but now we can do all of it in one little rectangular item we can carry in our pocket. I think adults also use phones, especially social media and games, as a way to escape the stress of reality. I have found myself scrolling on FB thinking “I’m just going to check my groups” and then an hour later I'm scrolling down someone's page that I’ve never met before and I don’t even know why.
I do believe that smartphones can be useful and are almost necessary in today’s time, but we need to be careful of how we are using them and how much time we allow ourselves to have that phone in our face. We, as a society and as individuals, have turned these small devices and the content on them into idols. I don’t even think we realize it because we only see it as a tool we use.
As I've been researching this and self-reflecting, I've pinpointed two things that the Bible speaks on specifically that relate.
2. Self Control
In 1 Corinthians 10:12-14 the Bible says, So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. Verse 23 says, “I have the right to do anything,” you say- but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything,” - but not everything is constructive.
Scripture teaches us that self-control is part of the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22 says, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 1 Peter 5:8 says, Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
I believe the devil uses our devices with our mindless scrolling to bring sinful things into our minds and into our lives. Adults and children are over exposed to the things of the world through this technology. We (I mean me) have to acknowledge that this little black rectangle is more than a tool… it's a distraction that has turned into an idol.
Maybe you don’t have a problem with your phone...maybe it's something else. I would encourage you all to do some self-reflecting. See where the devil might be attacking you. What are you making an idol in your life?
Let’s end in prayer today..
I thank you for this wonderful day. I thank you for loving me. I thank you for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. God, I just ask you today to be with me and anyone reading this. Help us to overcome and get rid of any idols in our lives. Give us strength to change and have the self control that you desire of us. Let us not be tempted by worldly things. Let all that we do be done for your glory and yours alone.
In Christ’s name,