God is the ultimate filter for every part of our lives—including technology
Technology is powerful—drawing you in, altering your world and expectations, even defining who you are. If you’re not careful, what you start out controlling has a way of controlling you.
There’s nothing quite like the power of saying yes. The ability to say yes is heady, immediate and satisfying. It’s the feeling of having the world at your fingertips. No matter what the latest “it” app is, with the slide of that finger, the press of a button or the click of a mouse, your options magically unfold in nearly geometric progression.
But with every yes comes a consequence: when you say yes to all this technology, you attach yourself to a digital umbilical cord that can be difficult to remove—even temporarily.
If you’re not careful, what you start out controlling has a way of controlling you.
We live in a world of ever-contracting technology. The endlessly possible has become the eminently portable.
Being accessible acquires new meaning with a
smartphone in your back pocket. Staying connected becomes compulsory, and expectations take a quantum leap toward the tyrannical. Off-line has become a dirty word; unplugged, the new leprosy.
I admit—I love this technology. It is the air I breathe. I tweet, and you can find me on Facebook. (If you feel compelled to check that out right now, you probably ought to keep reading!) I have my Droid smartphone (my “little computer”) with me at all times, and I spend hours every day on my “big computer.” I have multiple monitors. I have multiple email accounts that forward to each other so I always get my messages, which are also synched to my phone. I own a Kindle and an iPad.
So—I get it. I understand the pull, the excitement and sheer fun of the digital forms of technology. The promise and potential of all this stuff are staggering; the possibilities, functionally endless. That’s why it’s so easy to get swept away in a ride that takes you quickly to places where you truly don’t want to go—and to places you really do want to go but shouldn’t.
I am a true believer in harnessing the positives in technology. The ability to control a thing lies in your capacity to abstain from it. There are times you need to log off, power down, disconnect and untether yourself from all this stuff; it’s been called a “tech detox,” for lack of a better term.
Detoxing from all this technology can be hard, especially when the urgency of the separation is clanging in your head and pounding in your heart. You need to learn to be OK with just you. The best way to know how far out of balance you’ve gotten with technology is to simply turn it off for a while and disconnect.
No matter where technology takes us, we are responsible for our actions. We are responsible for our thoughts and our motivations. The ultimate filter for whether something is good or bad for us isn’t how we feel about it or how much fun it is or even how efficient it makes us. The ultimate filter for every part of our lives is God.
His rules apply to everything. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the Bible doesn’t matter in a digital world simply because it was written thousands of years ago on papyrus and animal skins. It does matter.
God is not ignorant of technology; it is His world and His creation that make it possible. He is the ultimate filter of what we do with whatever new technological gadget or program that is here today, as well as those that will invariably pop up tomorrow.
Gregory Jantz, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized author of more than 25 books and a mental health expert. He is the founder of the Center for Counseling and Health Resources, known as “A Place of Hope,” a leading health-care facility that is based in Seattle. This article is adapted from his latest book, #Hooked (Charisma House).