Does anyone remember what life was like before we all had smart phones in our back pocket? No? Me either. In the last 15 (or so) years we have gone from physically interacting with a geographically limited circle of friends, to virtually engaging with hundreds, sometimes thousands of friends, all over the world, daily.
Not only has our circle of influence grown exponentially, we now seem to be incapable of doing nothing. We have been trained to pick up our handheld devices any time we have a moment of inactivity. Waiting in line at a drive-thru? Facebook. Commercial break during the football game? Instagram. Time for bed? Let’s lay down and check twitter one. more. time. I mean, they are like LITERAL extensions of our bodies, right!?
One day I had a very disturbing thought. When I die, I will meet God, and guess what… I WON’T HAVE MY PHONE. (The horror!!!) Disturbing right? No, not the fact that I won’t have my iPhone with me in heaven… the fact that the thought of not having my phone actually gave me a few seconds of anxiety. I’m literally ashamed to say that.
What have I let this become? I think my body’s physically anxious response tells a deep-seated truth; one I hesitate to admit. I put more trust in my handheld device than I do in the maker of this universe. I can’t imagine being unable to call for help in an emergency, to reach my loved ones in 3 seconds flat, or to know how many mountain ranges there are in South Dakota! (Important stuff, right?) Have I let information and imagined control become my idol?
How many times have we heard our devices referred to as our “lifeline?” With it we can find the answer to almost any question we can think of. We can connect to people across the world with a just a few clicks. While these actions are not always “bad,” maybe it’s time we take a step back and ask some tough questions. Have we let the seemingly unending knowledge held inside our phones replace our need for God? Do we only seek God to answer the questions Google cannot?
If the answer is yes, we have some serious discerning to do. Here is a truth — the ONLY lifeline I need, or you need, is the Holy Spirit. The one who is far more capable and wise than any app on my phone. The Holy Spirit of God, the one who breathed the world into existence — it is Him that is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine… not your search engine. God knows the answer when we can’t even comprehend the question.
In all those moments of nothing when I choose to pick up my iPhone and fill my time with useless scrolling, I am choosing to fill my mind with the influences and the voices of the WORLD. Why do I not choose, instead, to fill my mind and heart with lovely things from God? To sing praises to him, to thank him for his love and mercy, over and over and over again?
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.Philippians 4:8
The world leaves me broken and depressed, but God gives me hope and immeasurable joy. So why is it so hard to choose God? I will proclaim my faith in Jesus day after day, but when it comes down to it, why do I so often choose the world in my actions? Maybe I am like the Israelites Moses led out of Egypt. Impatient for God to answer my prayers, relying on my own means of control instead. I mean, they saw FIRST HAND the glory and power of God, yet they worshipped a golden calf because of their own worldly influences. (If you’re not sure how that one turned out, well, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.)
How could they turn their back on the God who parted the sea to rescue them from slavery? Impatience? Arrogance? They didn’t want to wait. They wanted instant gratification. They wanted answers that God wasn’t ready to reveal. Sounds pretty arrogant if you ask me. It also sounds familiar. Could I have been one of them? Am I today? Do I have my own golden calf in my back pocket?
Here’s the thing… It wasn’t the golden calf that was the problem—it was their hearts. God wants your heart. He wants you to love him and seek him. He wants to rescue you and lift you out of the ashes. But God is so incredibly Holy, he cannot accept sin. We all have a choice, every single day, to love the world or to love the Lord—but we can’t do both.
I don’t know about you, but I think I’ve had my eyes on the golden calf for way too long.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.1 John 2: 15-17
God, open my eyes and reveal the idols I have created in my heart. Show me the sin in my heart that is taking me away from you and your goodness.