It doesn’t matter where we are: the grocery store, a child’s music recital, in the middle of dinner or even at church; when we hear a beep or chime, we instinctively grab our phones or tablets to see who needs us, or to find out what information we might be missing out on.
Whether you are a teen, a twenty-to-forty-something, a youth pastor, missionary, layperson, or a senior pastor, the effects of technology on our time with God are important for each of us to understand.
I am typing this article on my MacBook Pro, my iPhone next to me is ready to notify me of any incoming texts or phone calls, and my iPad is open with my notes. We live in a technologically saturated world. That’s the reality!
While all this technology can be a great help, it can take up tons of our time with God. Many of us spend countless minutes that we never used to use to check Facebook, update Twitter, and play the latest free game in the App Store. Time spent with technology affects our time with God, and it is changing the way we spend time with God.
The way we view sermons, articles, and books has changed forever. We see this change every morning on Facebook and Twitter. If it’s not worth a tweet or status update, then it’s not worth listening to, reading or hearing about. Many feel that others might not think they are very close to God if they don’t post a Bible verse or spiritual quote each morning.
Are we a generation that is looking for a quick-hitting devotional thought rather than sitting down with a cup of coffee and putting in the time and effort necessary to really meet God?
We wake up to the sound of our alarms (which also happen to be our phones), and upon waking up, we notice the dozen or so emails and texts that have already accumulated since we put our head on our pillows. As we open our laptops or get our tablets out to spend some time in the Word, we are quickly reminded of those unchecked emails. What could have been a quiet hour spent meditating on Scripture has turned into a spiritual battle for our attention. Those who live on a constant technological diet will always be haunted with distractions.
Apps are being created by the minutes to get things done better and faster! Multitasking and efficiency are expected of us in our modern world. But when these things creep into our devotional lives, we do ourselves a disservice.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (HEB 4:12), and it must be taken seriously without feeling rushed, hurried, or pressured.
When we open the Word of God (in physical or digital form), we are to approach it with fear and reverence. We must acknowledge the weight it holds and its power to change our lives. We should guard ourselves from skimming through our devotional book or Bible passage just to see which quote we can use to post or tweet. God’s word was not given to us for a status-filler; it was given to us to break, shape, and mold us into the image of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Let’s strive to ignore emails, blogs, and messages until our meditation fills our hearts with God’s wonderful Words.
What to do?
So what can we do in the midst of a distracting world? How do we make our time with God a top priority? Here are some ideas that can help make your time with God less distracting and more fulfilling.
- Put it in your calendar. Schedule your meeting time with God. It may seem silly at first. When your phone chimes to remind you that it is time to meet with God, refuse to miss or reschedule that time.
- Get good location. Find a place where distractions will be minimal. Don’t choose the dinning room table if that is a pathway to the kitchen or bathroom. Don’t choose the living room if the TV is on. Choose a place that is free of distractions and watch your meditation skills increase.
- Avoid the media touch-base. Just don’t do it! Don’t check emails. Don’t check Facebook. Let the text message wait. My generation truly struggles with this as we seem to be afraid to go device-free for more than five minutes at a time. I think we can all give God a disconnected hour, or device free half hour, if we truly want to get to know Him better.
God is the great I AM. He is everything we need. God, not our iPads, is our strength. God, not our MacBook Pros, is our refuge. God, not our iPhones, is our hiding place. We must never allow technological toys to take our time, our focus, or our attention away from our wonderful Lord. As a product of the iPhone generation, I challenge those, like me, who are easily distracted by a multitude of iDevices to be committed to the great I AM. (Exo. 3:14, John 8:58; 6:35; 8:12; 10:10; 14:6; 15:5)