Are you enslaved to your smartphone?
Ask yourself these questions:
Am I constantly checking my social media apps to make sure I didn’t miss anything? Do I feel the need to instantly look at every text as soon as it comes in, even if I’m eating dinner with my family or meeting with Jesus? Am I more responsive to the instant promptings of my phone or the instant promptings of the Holy Spirit?
How much time do I spend on my phone each day? Would it glorify God most if I spent less time or more time?
Tool or tyrant?
Smartphones can be wonderful tools, if used correctly. They can also become graven idols, to whom we bow down in homage, presenting our precious time, money, and attention. As Sovereign Lord, Christ demands our undivided service. He requires, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:2).
For many, their phone acts as a leash, jerking them at a moment’s notice, and demanding that they follow its orders. Christians should not be tied to a leash, for we serve Christ alone. The following seven strategies will help you to free yourself from the bondage of the smartphone.
1. Silence your phone during quiet time.
Mark 1:35 tells us that Christ went out into a solitary place to pray. Matthew 6:6 exhorts us to enter into our closet for private prayer. Both of these passages remind us that Christ values our undivided attention.
Are you so enslaved that you never can turn your phone on airplane mode or leave it behind you?
Which is your greatest priority? Is it Facebook, texting, or your relationship with God?
2. Set aside your phone for mealtimes.
We easily prioritize virtual relationships over real face-to-face relationships.
At mealtimes, you could put your phone on airplane mode or lay it in another room. If you’re afraid to miss emergencies, you could set up your phone to only ring after someone calls two or three times in a row.
Most texts and calls are not emergencies and can wait.
3. Remove negative influences.
Whether on Facebook, or at work, “Evil communications corrupt good manners.” Are your friends causing you to focus more on Christ or to compare yourself with others?
4. Use your phone as a discipleship tool.
Are there people you don’t see very often who need encouragement? You could disciple others through weekly Christ-centered phone calls and text messages.
In order to maximize impact, my brother Taylor has an encouraging message on his answering machine.
5. Go on a media fast.
Could you function without your phone for one week? Go on a media fast. If you cut out social media for a week, you’ll discover that the conversation moves on without you.
6. Ruthlessly eliminate all phone activities that don’t glorify God.
Because we will all give account for how we used our time, we should take our stewardship seriously.
Does it glorify God most to spend time enjoying your smartphone or memorizing God’s Word, reading a good book, serving others, and building real relationships?
7. Seek God’s best.
It’s possible to not be doing anything “evil,” but to sin by not pursuing God’s best. Don’t ask, “What’s wrong with it?” Ask, “What’s right with it?”
Will the time spent on your smartphone matter in the light of eternity?
What could you do in all the time you spend on your phone?
In the 5 years and 4 months that the average American spends on social media, you could climb Mt. Everest 32 times!
What eternal priorities could you pursue if you allowed God to free you from the bondage of your smartphone?
How much time could you spend investing in your family, being productive, sharing the gospel, and learning life skills?
If you want to truly evaluate your life ask, “At the end of my life, will I be ashamed to give an account for the time I spent on my smartphone?”
Is your smartphone your servant or your taskmaster?
Question: Which of these points resonated with you the most?