How to Get Free, Faster and Better Connection
How does modern technology affect our intimacy with God?
It has a larger screen, faster processor and slimmer design! “Bigger, faster and slimmer” is the unifying tagline of the newest trend of tablets and super phones. We need the newest phone because if we don’t have it, we are slower than everyone else. But what if your "bigger screen" actually lets you see less of God’s Word? What if your "faster processor" doesn’t let you process God’s wisdom? What if "slimmer design" actually means slimmer understanding of what God has to say?
"How we perceive the Word of God is constantly changing because the medium is always evolving."
As the apostle John stated, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1 (NIV).
The Word of God will never change, for we know that Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. What has changed over the course of human existence is the communication of God’s Word. How we perceive the Word of God is constantly changing because the medium is always evolving.
Let’s imagine that we are a Christian person in 100 A.D. We would depend on hearing the Word of God rather than reading it since literacy only belonged to higher-class individuals. Our relationship with the Word of God depends on a communal aspect taught by the early leaders of the church such as the apostle Paul. Let's fast forward about a thousand years or so…
If we were a Christian person in the 1400’s, we would still be attending communal services but hearing the Word of God solely in Latin. However, only the highly educated are well versed in Latin. How can a common individual have a strong relationship with God if he doesn’t know Latin? Thank God for the invention of the printing press and the Reformation, which allowed Biblical scriptures to be printed in the language of each nation. God has made a way, through technology, to enhance our relationship with Him. The Word of God was able to spread vastly through the improvement of communication.
As the rate of literacy progressed in the early 20th century, we can now have personal Bibles, and therefore read and meditate on the Word in our own homes.
"[Bibles] have become dust collectors, novelties, and trophies of our Christian faith."
As technological mediums change, Christians have been able to adapt with it. Even with the invention of television, Christianity was able to thrive by broadcasting their Sunday sermons worldwide.
Welcome back to the present. Where is your Bible now? Many of us still have the physical copy on top of our bedroom headboard. However, they’ve become dust collectors, novelties, and trophies of our Christian faith. Where do we actually read the Word of God? Do you read it on your Twitter feed, on your Bible app, which has a “verse of the day” tab, or your Pastor’s Facebook status?
I am not against sharing the Word of God via social media since it is a powerful and relevant tool for evangelism. However, social media could also be responsible for decreasing our intimacy with the Word of God.
"Is our contentment with the quality of intimacy we have with our friends translating over to our relationship with God?"
Since the invention of the Internet, which eventually evolved to the cosmos of Facebook, the quality of relationships has diminished. Our urge to catch up with our friends is satisfied by simply checking their pictures and viewing their "status posts". We are content with the communication we have through our chat boxes and their 140-character Tweet. Where has intimacy gone?
Yes I know, it’s a busy life, and social media is convenient for our lifestyle. However, is our contentment with the quality of intimacy we have with our friends translating over to our relationship with God? Are we satisfied with Joyce Meyer’s daily Tweet, or your Bible app's verse of the day?
Technology is awesome. Writing this article would have taken days without the ability to delete sentences without whiteout and spellcheck. However, don’t let the innovation of technology change the quality of your relationship with God.
In an article written by Nicholas Carr entitled “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”, he argues how the Internet has rewired our way of thought: “Most of the proprietors of the commercial Internet have a financial stake in collecting the crumbs of data we leave behind as we flit from link to link—the more crumbs, the better. The last thing these companies want is to encourage leisurely reading or slow, concentrated thought. It’s in their economic interest to drive us to distraction.”
"Hook up to the Holy Spirit for better, faster, more enriching connection."
Although Carr’s statement specifically targets the Internet, it can also apply to our relationship with our handhelds. We may be reluctant to admit it, but we are a distracted generation, with the incessant need to program our phones for reminders and “push notifications”. I appreciate having the ability to whip out the Word of God without having to carry around my five-pound Bible. But from my experiences, the Bible app on my half an ounce phone has taken a toll on the way I read God’s Word, not to mention my shrinking biceps. Currently, I limit my Bible app usage for references or quick reminders of God’s daily Word.
If you insist on using your tablets and phones for daily meditation, I suggest you enter with a prepared heart, knowing that a conversation with God cannot be rushed and needs concentration. Or go a step further by turning off your connection to the world, all Wi-Fi, 3G, LTE etc., and hook up to the Holy Spirit for better, faster, more enriching connection.
"But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Matthew 6:6 (NIV).