A group of students at Adelphi University gave up their smartphones for one week in an effort to break them of their near universal addiction. It was an experiment conducted by their professor that yielded some predictable results. The students talked about getting sounder sleep and increased productivity along with improved relations with their friends. They saw the world in a different way than normal; they experienced their surroundings in a way they had not prior to their smartphone fast.
Certainly, smartphones are one way we’re pushing back the fall. God told us before and after the fall to image Him, take dominion over the earth, and create. That’s what He does, and we do the same, although in a different way. We have speed limitations, so we create bicycles, cars, and jets. We have communication limitations so we create mail, telephones, and smartphones. The younger generation has much less appreciation for the astounding things a smartphone can do. I talk to people all over the world, access information all over that same world, conduct business, pay bills, purchase goods and services, listen to music, watch football, trade stocks, read books, power giant televisions and speakers, and so much more.
Of course, smartphones offer certain opportunities for sin in various forms. Smartphones give us great opportunity to waste time, ignore persons with whom we could otherwise be engaged, miss the beautiful diversity of God’s world as it goes by without our notice, and so much more. Bad can turn downright ugly when one uses his smartphone in a voyeuristic, invasive, or combative way. We can fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others in a haughtiness that works both ways. We either gloat over our successes or become jealous of the good fortune of others.
Be Smart with Your Smartphone
The simple fact is that we just need to be smart about our smartphones. Such a statement is no mere piece of practical advice, but rather a principle rooted in the call of God upon our lives. We’re to do all that we do for the glory of God. How we use our smartphones and how much time we give to them matters to God. Here are some foundational precepts that will help us to do that – to be smart for the glory of God.
First, make sure you redeem the time. We need to distinguish between a legitimate use of time vs. an illegitimate. That doesn’t mean we can’t use our device for entertainment some of the time. But it does mean that we can’t use it for entertainment most of time. There are many, many things God has given us to do, and appropriate time must be allocated for each one of them. Think of those things as spokes on a wheel. Each spoke represents something we must do as we live in God’s world. At the center of the wheel is the glory of God. How do I do this thing that I’m doing for God’s glory? That’s your question.
Second, be present when you’re with others. Not only do you miss out on what’s real, or the enrichment of relating to a loved one, but you hurt those you ignore. You say to them your phone is more important. And then when you wake up down the road, whether its weeks, months, or even years, the regret can be overwhelming. God’s grace is sufficient for even that, but you don’t want to miss out on what’s best regardless of how good your web surfing may be.
Third, enjoy God’s world to the max. Don’t miss out on the beach, the mountains, or a sunny day in the park. Don’t miss out on that concert, that evening walk, or the tennis outing with your doubles partners. Don’t miss the fullness of God’s multifaceted, vibrant, and stunning world.
Now, that’s smart.
Dr. Dean and Christi Johnson invite you to learn more about God, His world, and yourself. Listen to their podcast, True Worldview, and find other helpful resources there as well.