January 20, 2021
Many years ago, Cathi and I helped lead the college ministry. We really enjoyed that, except for one thing. The primary vehicle of communication for them at the time was Facebook, and I was not a fan of it. But, in order to stay in touch, I got on. After turning the leadership over to someone else, I got off Facebook and do not miss it. I was on Twitter for a while. It seemed a little more manageable, initially. Then I got off that too. I never bothered with Instagram, TikTok or anything else. I am not saying that they are wrong, I am saying that I don’t remember a time after being on social media where I found myself loving Jesus more.
This week, I was talking with a friend who decided that he had had enough of social media and was going off-line for a while. He said that his tension level and sense of anxiety not only went down, but he was surprised to find that his attention span increased. Think about this. The average person checks his phone every 4.3 minutes. Let’s say that you only check your phone every 10 minutes. In the course of a 16-hour day you are still checking your phone 96 times! If you are average, you are checking your phone over 200 times every 16 hours. Since your phone is telling you what to think, what to feel, to be envious of others, to be dissatisfied with your life, to hate people who disagree with you, etc., well then of course you are going to be anxious, on edge, and stressed. And what is more, you will have the attention span of a gnat.
Every ding of your phone is demanding your attention, and, in some cases, affection (if that sounds like worship, it's because it is). If you have a panic attack over losing your phone, then that should be a clue to you as well. You are allowing your phone to train your attention span. This has a detrimental effect on your ability to read God’s Word without distraction, pray without losing your train of thought, listen to teaching and preaching, and stay engaged. If the government declared that the Bible was illegal, you would rightly be alarmed and incensed. The government won’t need to do that, though, since most people are distracted and owned by much lesser things.
We are still in January. It is still a month for new beginnings. You can make this year a year of faithful Bible reading. If you are wondering where you can get the time needed for it, you might want to start with reducing screen time (or like my friend, take a break). And while you are at it, I want to encourage you to memorize the last two verses of Jude. This will ensure the long-term effect of this series in your life and in ours.
May mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you,
Sunday’s text: Jude 5-7