In 2007 the first iPhone was introduced. Now, a little more than 10 years later, everyone has an iPhone. Or maybe an Android if you’re not at Apple fan.
The telephone has changed from something that used to hang on a wall, to something that was cordless around the house, to something everyone carried around, to a mini computer that has advanced AI & a beautiful glowing screen that captures your attention for hours on end.
What if I want to ask you to take out your phone & turn it OFF for the next 20 min?
Could you do it?
How many of you immediately thought, there’s no way I can do that!?
For many of us, that would seem impossible because we are addicted to our phones!
Did you know that there is now a clinical name for people who are addicted to their phones? It’s called, “Nomophobia.” Literally, the fear of being without your phone!
You Might Be Addicted to Your Phone if…
Several years ago, Jeff Foxworhty came up with incredible comedy around the idea of… You might be a red neck if…
I’m not nearly as funny as Jeff, but I was thinking this week,
If you’ve ever felt your phone vibrate in your pocket only, it didn’t. You just imagined it did. And it felt so real! …you might be addicted to your phone.
If the first thing you see every morning & the last thing you see each night is your phone, you might be addicted to your phone.
If your phone dings, beeps or buzzes from across the room & you immediately go to check it regardless of what you’re currently doing, even if you’re in the shower, you might be addicted to your phone.
If the last time you were without your phone you, never mind, you can’t remember the last time you were without your phone! …you might be addicted to your phone.
If you can’t remember the last time you went to the bathroom without your phone, …you might be addicted to your phone. By the way, remind me to never borrow your phone to make a call!
Times have changed.
Technology has changed. The question we have to ask is, How is technology changing us?
It wasn’t one of my finer parenting moments but I can promise you I will never forget it.
I had come home after work that day & found my son playing in the front yard. I was home from work, but, like a lot of you, my work had followed me home.
On this day, someone was emailing me about their concerns about something. I can’t even tell you today what it was. But I was standing in my front yard with my son. I was physically present but I couldn’t have been farther away.
The whole time I’m engrossed in my phone & trying to deal with this person on the other side of the screen, my son is talking to me, begging me to play with him. I kept putting him off, trying to deal with the person who was not physically present but to whom I felt obligated to answer right then.
But here’s why I still remember this particular day. Because I heard my son say these piercing words…
“Dad, will you put down your phone & look at me? Play with me.”
I wish I could say that was the only time something like that happened. But here’s what I was reminded of that day…
Whenever you say YES to one thing you automatically say NO to another.
So what, in practice, we are saying YES to & what are we, by default, saying NO to?
Here’s what I’m not saying. I’m NOT saying technology is a bad thing. Technology is a good thing.
So this is not about becoming ANTI-technology. This is about becoming PRO-relationship.
Technology, like so many things, is another good gift from God. So many wonderful things happen everyday in our world because of our advanced technology. The question is, How do we use technology in a God-honoring way?
The First Technology
From the very beginning technology used in the wrong way separated people from people & people from God.
In Genesis 11.1-9, we find this ancient story.
At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. As the people migrated to the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there. They began saying to each other, “Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.” (In this region bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.)
Now I’ll admit that they weren’t able to draw up a digital 3D computer design with animation detailing what this project would look like. But, the bricks & tar they would use would be their technology.
The definition of technology is “The application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes.”
These people had learned how to make bricks & how to use tar as mortar to hold them together. Again, this technology wasn’t bad. In fact, it was very good. The question was how would they use this technology?
This entire story hinges on the next verse. Listen to what happens next…
Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.”
How would they use this technology? To build a city for themselves & to erect a tower to the heavens FOR THE PURPOSE… & here’s the catch… for the purpose of making their name great, to make them famous & to keep them connected… from ever being scattered or separated.
For their benefit & for their glory.
I know what you’re thinking… it sure is a good thing we don’t do that! Whew!
But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.”
In that way, the Lord scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city. That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where the Lord confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world.
When God saw the people he created, the people he loved & the gifts he had given them used for their personal gain & their personal glory, God stepped in.
Whenever we use the gifts of God for our own fame & our own glory we will ultimately fail & find ourselves still wanting.
What about you?
If you’re anything like me then you probably talked yourself into getting most of the technology you have because it would make life better for you & your family.
But let me just ask you the question… Has your technology improved your relationship with your spouse? With your kids? With your family? With your friends?
Do you feel more connected now to the people who matter most than you did before?
You see, I think this same truth still applies today. I think we want technology to create & improve those relationships that matter most… we don’t want to be scattered from the people we love.
But what happens is that the technology we adopted to improve those relationships ends up being the very thing that causes the separation we were looking to avoid.
So maybe the question you need to ask is this… What do you need to disconnect from that is of little importance so you can connect to what matters most?
Real connection with real people starts with a choice to be present with the people who are present.
So what if we put our technology back in is proper place?
What if those people whose names we’ll never know had used their technology differently? What if they had set their minds to making much of God & using their technology to keep them connected in real relationship with each other?
We’ll never know. BUT – we have an opportunity to live differently!
I think if we put technology in its proper place we have an opportunity to make Jesus famous & stay connected to Him & to each other!
We have an opportunity to use the technology God has given us in a God-honoring way.