Are your screens moving you closer to Jesus or further away? This is a question we often overlook in our technology-driven world.
SCREEN'S IMPACT ON FAITH AND LIFE
In Romans 12:2, Paul, one of the writers of the New Testament, reminds us not to conform to the patterns of this world but to be transformed by renewing our minds. While Paul didn't have smartphones in mind, he understood that what we invite into our lives can shape us positively or negatively. Our screens, which now consume nearly seven hours a day for the average American and even more for those under 35, are undoubtedly altering how we live.
It's astonishing how these devices are disciplining us. Whether we realize it or not, our phones and screens are reshaping our lives. The average American checks their phone 344 times a day, and 89% of us reach for our phones as soon as we wake up. We even use our phones in places like the bathroom, with 75% of people admitting to it. More concerning is that 69% of us have texted someone in the same room rather than engaged in face-to-face conversation. Our teenagers spend an average of 3.5 hours a day on social media, which has been linked to increased rates of depression and anxiety. Screens exert a powerful influence over our lives, and it's crucial to assess whether they are drawing us nearer to Christ or leading us further away.
THE HIGH COST OF CONFORMING TO THE NORM
Paul's warning in Romans 1:23 about worshiping idols made to look like people, animals, and even logos speaks directly to our screen-dominated culture. In the pursuit of conforming to societal norms, we have become addicted to our devices, leading to unprecedented stress, anxiety, and restlessness. Our families and children are exposed to content never meant for their eyes, and the consequences are dire. This is precisely what happens when we conform to the patterns of this world, as Paul described two millennia ago.
Our attachment to screens has become a mental health pandemic, especially among youth. The statistics are alarming: excessive screen time doubles the likelihood of clinical depression or anxiety, while obesity and mood disorders also significantly increase. With the average teenager spending a staggering seven hours daily on their phones, we are witnessing a generation at risk. The prevalence of pornography, easily accessible online, further underscores the challenges we face in this digital age.
BREAK FREE FROM CONFORMITY
As parents, we hold the key to breaking free from the conforming grip of screens in our families. We must recognize that our ultimate master is not a smartphone but the glorious, ever-living God of the universe. He offers us a life transformed, not conformed to the patterns of this world. It's time to commit that these devices will no longer discipline us and our children. Our faith calls us to a higher standard, one where we prioritize our relationship with Jesus over our screen time.
Peter's warning in 2 Peter 5:8 to stay alert and vigilant is more relevant than ever. The enemy seeks to use technology to draw us away from Christ, making it essential that we model healthy habits with our phones and screens. Privacy on the internet is a myth, and we must be cautious about where we invest our time. Setting boundaries, such as turning off phones during meals, date nights, and vacations, is crucial to experiencing the peace of God at a pace set by Him.
We can't escape the fact that we will let people down in life, but we don't need to be imprisoned by the fear of disappointing others. Instead, we should aim to please our Heavenly Father above all else. Like the intern Michael, who found redemption and freedom after years of addiction and self-doubt, we can shake off the dust of others' expectations and opinions. Focusing on God's approval allows us to break free from conformity and live transformed lives. Let us commit to this journey, trusting in the God who loves us unconditionally and empowers us to be our true selves in His service.
For more encouragement, support, and tools to equip you, we encourage you to check out these additional resources:
- MESSAGE: To watch Liquid Church's entire message on "Redeem The Screen" from Part Three of our new series, "Parenting In The Twenty-First Century," Click here.
- LIQUID APP: There are positive ways for you to use your phone, by downloading the Liquid App for devotionals, prayer, worship, and more. Click here.
- MESSAGE: There are four distinct parenting stages that are influenced by the ages and requirements of your children, all designed to foster a deep sense of compassion and love for Jesus. Which stage are you currently experiencing? To watch, "The Four Stages Of Parenting" in Part Two of Parenting In The 21st Century. Click here.