by Guest Columnist Marie Drakulic
A very dear friend of mine does not own a cellphone. She has a landline. Remember those? It is the kind of phone that you have to plug into the wall and have to stay in the house to use! She says cellphones drain too much energy. Crazy, right? Well, maybe she isn’t so far off base.
I should have known I had a problem when my email stopped working on my phone. I actually had to go to the computer to bring it up and read it. Oh no! Perish the thought! It was only a glitch in the server, and a couple days later it was fixed. Yet, I wasted a lot of time fussing over the minor issue. Shortly after that, this verse from 1 Corinthians started rolling around in my mind:
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12 ESV)
“I will not be dominated by anything.” Another translation uses the word “mastered.” I came to realize that I was being mastered by my smart phone. Not so smart, huh?! It was practically glued to me 24-7. At home, it would follow me to every room in the house. When I went out, it was either in my hand, my purse (attached to my shoulder), or in one of my pockets. It even ended up in my bed next to my pillow sometimes at night! As I prepared to listen to my pastor’s Sunday sermon on fasting, I knew that I needed to spend some time “unplugged.”
As I write this, I am in the middle of a week away from my phone. Sure, I have used it to make ordinary phone calls, and a few times I have used my “smart apps,” but I have, in the Lord’s strength, denied myself the ease and dependability of using it every waking moment. Here are a few things I have learned:
- My smart phone CAN’T do everything, and I CAN function without it.
- Some people really do appreciate a phone call rather than a text message.
- It is more important for me to enjoy spending with my kids than making sure I post about them.
- I don’t need to reach for my phone before I reach for my Bible or bow my head in prayer in the morning.
- My iPhone is not I AM.
Please do not misunderstand me; I am not saying that smart phones, tablets or advances in technology are bad. I am only saying that, for me, my iPhone had become a god in my life. Wow, that was hard to write . . . and hard to admit. How could something so material, so breakable ever become greater than He? There are many beneficial uses of a smart phone, but they had become a weight in my spiritual walk with the Lord.
Is there something weighing you down today? Maybe you don’t struggle with smart phone overuse like I do. Maybe your struggle is with food or the TV or work. None of those things are wrong on their own, but when they become distractions from time with the Lord, when they become little ‘g’ gods in our lives, then we have a problem. Take a look at what the writer of Hebrews said:
. . . let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us . . . (Hebrews 12:1 ESV)
In a few days, my phone will become smart again, and I will plug back in. Yet, I pray that I have learned to reap its benefits without letting it master me. God is God alone. May I always recognize that “every good and perfect gift comes from above” (see James 1:17) and meant for use to His glory. And just maybe, I can convince my friend to at least get an iPod so she can have all those “really cool” apps, too! 😉