Are we becoming Gollum? But instead of a Ring, we are obsessed over a Phone? People everywhere are forever hunched over their phones. Caressing it. I can almost here them, “My precious…”

The average American spends 4 hours a day on the phone. We touch our phone 80+ times a day. Let’s call it what it is: ADDICTION. We are device junkies. I say, we, because I put myself squarely in the middle of this mess. I am equally enslaved. A modern take on Luke 16:13 might be: “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other. You cannot serve God and your iPhone.”

I am not a luddite. I’m not saying we throw our devices into the fires of Mordor. I’m just asking you to ask yourself: Does my device control me or do I control my device?

Quick test: put your phone in a drawer and leave it there for one day. Try to leave your house without it! Can you do it? I know exactly what you’re thinking: “What if there’s an accident or emergency?” You’ll be ok. If there’s an accident, someone will have a phone. It may even be the reason there was an accident in the first place.

It’s not the device. The device is neutral. “For the love of devices is the root of all evil” (sorta 1 Tim. 6:10). Its what we do with our gadgets that matters. I am using mine right now and hopefully for good. However, if its taking the place of God in our lives, then we need to step back and reframe. Do we use it or love it? Are we using it to be a positive force or a negative one? “Let your texts be always full of grace” (quasi-Col. 4:6) or “Let no unwholesome tweet come out of your devices, but only what is helpful for building up the one in need and bringing grace to those who follow you.” (Eph. 4:29-ish)

The devil is tickled pink about all this. Every second we spend on the phone is less time engaging others with the Gospel. He loves to distract us with shiny things. We are such easy targets. Its hard to be agents of reconciliation with our heads buried deep in self-made comfort bubbles. Its impossible to be effective Ambassadors if we can’t look up from our gadgets!

Gut check: place a pad of paper next to your phone. Every time you touch it, make a checkmark. Note the times you are on it. Then make a column and do the same thing with your Bible or prayer. Don’t get all legalistic about this and try to earn God’s love. We are motivated by Grace not guilt.

The first step is admitting there is a problem. We got a BIG problem here. And worse: What kind of future are we creating?

We’re not full-on Gollum yet. But its coming. There’s still some Sméagol in all of us. I hope.

Ref: https://hackernoon.com/how-much-time-do-people-spend-on-their-mobile-phones-in-2017-e5f90a0b10a6

Red Herrings

Red Herrings • Colossians 2
Red Herrings • Colossians 2

You’ve probably heard the expression, “red herring.” Fans of mystery know what I’m talking about. It’s used to describe something that misleads or distracts you from the actual thing. Red herrings want to send you to the wrong conclusion.

The origin of “red herring” is debatable. People say it came from the training of hunting dogs. Once the dogs were familiar with the right scent, their trainers would drag a fish across their path. Initially, the dogs would be diverted by the new scent. They had to be trained to ignore that scent and stay focused on the original scent.

There are so many spiritual red herrings in our lives. Countless things mislead us or distract us. There are far too many things that can get us off the right scent and following the wrong trail. Next thing we know, we are lost.

Note that the dogs had to be trained. It wasn’t something that came naturally. Obviously, the scent of a tasty fish would throw them off! It was enticing! Things that get us off the trail are things that are attractive. Only with training could the dogs recognize the wrong scent and ignore it. It takes discipline and instruction.

We are pursuing Jesus. Our goal is Christ. Anything that is dragged across our trail to distract us, entice us, or mislead us MUST be ignored! We must recognize or (church word alert!) discern that it is not the right scent and discard it! Only through constant prayer, study, and communion with the Holy Spirit is any of this possible. Praise God for the Holy Spirit, am I right? Without which, we would be like lost hunting dogs chasing after the wrong prey.

Good hunting and God bless!