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What are you using your smart phone for?

Internet, smart phone and everything that comes with them - what is a Christian approach?

In the last fifty years, the advance of technology has accelerated at an incredible rate like never before. It changed the world, and that forever. Who in the 1960s, dazzled by the transistor radio (small for that time and able only to play radio stations) could ever imagine the smart phone? And who in the 1980s playing Pac Man could have envisioned the graphic quality and complexity of a game like Call of Duty or Halo? The same goes for those playing bulky VCRs; could anyone have conceived of a service like Netflix or Hulu?

No one could.

It has all gone so fast, and before us the world has changed, and changed radically. One area that has the most revolutionary impact on our everyday life, is the invention of internet, smart phone, and everything that comes with them.  The question is:  how should a Christian think about all this technology, and is it a force for good or bad in a Christian’s life?

The Bible doesn’t have a position on technology, except to say that there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9), and there is not. Two thousand years ago they didn’t have cell phones or the internet, but in fits and starts there have been times of great invention that have transformed the world. In the 1400s, for example, both the printing press and the gun were invented, as well as a new world discovered. The world has never been the same since.  And of course, throughout history, one constant has never changed: men have always had a human nature that lusted after evil things, and no amount of technology could change that.

Stewards over what we have

We as Christians are stewards of all that we own, and that includes technology. Technology can be a great benefit to us, or it can be a gateway to hell itself. Regarding the use of internet and smart devices, we can use technology to build ourselves up in the Lord – as you are doing by reading this on the web – or we can use it to pollute ourselves, and perhaps in the deepest manner. We can use technology to connect with other believers and build them up in hope and faith, as we are also built up. Or we can use it to engage in online anonymous relationships, where we are one person in the day and another person at night. We can use technology to connect via social media in a wholesome way to other Christians or to become pointless exhibitionists, posting the most insignificant thing in our life; or even voyeurs, interested in looking into the windows of others via social media.

It’s not that internet technology is used only for either Christian purposes or to do the evil. It can be a real help and benefit in other ways:  to connect family members and friends who are separated by vast distances, even continents, help households to organize their busy lives with shared calendars and the like, and many other purposes that are both wholesome, harmless, and practical. The important thing is that we never allow sin to come in via these mediums.

Remember what is important

But there is a danger in technology, such that that it must be managed and watched over, lest it consume our lives. Paul said, “I will not be in enslaved by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12) Use of internet can be addictive, and the Smartphone is never far away, near to us even when we are asleep.  The danger in this is that we don’t take proper time to “ponder the paths of our feet” (Proverbs 4:26), to reflect on our lives in a thoughtful way and to get the Lord’s thought on important matters, in prayer. We have to take time for God and make time for God, and technology can easily steal our time with pointless amusements and distractions.

In the end, the battle is the same, whether we live in 320 AD or 2017 AD: we have a flesh, but our great and holy calling is to be the bride of Christ, and anything that helps us attain our calling we should esteem. But anything that hinders, we should discard, and if we are weak and something leads us into sin, we should cast that aside immediately. (Matthew 5:29-30) Every Christian can find what is right for themselves in this area.  (Romans 14:5) Whatever we do, whether with technology or other things, we should do in faith – for “What is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23) – in order to further our calling and to be a help to others.

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