In previous posts, I pointed out some of the challenges introduced into our lives through technology and how they impact us. But all is not lost. If we are able to understand how we are impacted by technology, we can do something about it. In this post, I outline some of the things I believe we are called to do in order to live faithfully with technology.
Live lives of “disciplined discernment.” We will not be able to live faithfully in a technology-saturated world without being disciplined. Additionally, it is equally critical that we are discerning. This allows us to embrace what is good about a particular technology, while rejecting to the negative aspects of any particular technology (Note: the term “disciplined discernment” comes from Tim Challies).
Always prefer face-to-face communication to electronic communication. The letters of the New Testament repeatedly affirm the writers’ desire to communicate face-to-face, instead of through letters (2 John 12; Hebrews 13:18-19, 23; 1 Thessalonians 2:17, Galatians 4:20). If we’re not careful, we will find ourselves preferring electronic communication. We need to appreciate electronic communication for its ability to help us communicate, but we must never use it as a replacement for face-to-face communication.
Be present while engaging face-to-face. Technology can lead us to prefer electronic communication, but it can also significantly impact the face-to-face communication we do have. Don’t fool yourself – being repeatedly interrupted with text messages during conversations will significantly impact your ability to relate with others. There are certainly times when it’s necessary to receive text messages, but these times should be the norm. Be respectful to others with the way you use your smartphone while in their presence.
Do battle against distraction. Many of us live our lives way too distracted, and this makes it difficult – and sometimes impossible – to hear God’s voice. We need to be able to listen, meditate, and hear God’s Word. In order to do this, we must fight against the distractions that are common to most of our lives.
Use technology primarily for “the table.” John Dyer uses the analogy of “the table” to describe face-to-face interactions. He writes, “Technology is for the table. This doesn’t mean that technology and the table are in opposition, only that everything we do with our tools – scheduling appointments on our phones, heating up meals in the microwave, reading updates from friends and family on social networks – should all be directed toward enriching the few, precious face-to-face encounters we have in our busy world.” Instead of using digital communication as a replacement for face-to-face communication, use it to organize and plan these communications.
Use technology in moderation. It is absolutely necessary to have some level of moderation when using technology. Without any limits, technology will consume many of us, destroying our ability to live faithfully to God.
Approach technology with humility. Certain technologies are destructive to the things we value most – our relationships with God and those closest to us. We must have the humility to acknowledge when technology negatively impacts what matters most to us, and have the willingness to make necessary changes in our lives.
Detect the Satan’s ways and run from it! David Wells writes, “The church is going to have to learn how to detect worldliness and make a clear decision to be weaned from it.” The devil is subtle, crafty, and he is always looking to destroy us. To counteract this, we must be able to detect his schemes and fight against them.
- What does it look like for you to live in moderation?
- Are you willing to acknowledge where technology has negatively impacted your life and your relationships?
- Are you willing to make the necessary changes?