“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He departed and went out to a desolate place, and there He prayed.” -Mark 1:35
The other day my wife said to me, “I wish we could return to the pre-technology life. Things were really easier then, though the labor was harder.” Is this true?
Milking cows, doing chores, putting three meals together each day without time-saving gadgets? Cleaning without a vacuum or an electric washing machine? Really? It took so much time. In contrast, we save so much time with modern technology!
However, we must also consider life with smartphones and iPads, which tie up hours with phone calls, emails, news, and games. We must also recognize that the amazing ability to carry an entire library or entertainment platform in our pockets on a gadget often results in excessive time engrossed in what it provides.
I am currently culling all of my library and my large collection of many, many books. I asked my son if he wanted a quite nice series of a dozen hardback, colorfully illustrated do-it-yourself books for building or fixing anything and everything in your house. “Oh no, Dad, I just google anything I need to know!” Duh!
Has technology truly made our lives easier and less time-consuming? Or does the massive time-saving cause us to fill our lives with many, many other things? Are we, as one wise writer put it, “amusing ourselves to death?” Are we just saving time to fill our lives with many extraneous, non-essential things provided by modern technology?
I personally remain stupefied by the saints of past ages before technology – people like Luther or Calvin, who wrote hundreds of amazing books in hand-script without computers or Internet. They wrote not with ball point pens, typewriters, or computers with Word, but with quill and inkwells. They composed books not of whimsical, trivial, time-antiquated matter, but books of deep, intelligent, and timeless subjects, transforming soul and spirit; books elucidating Scripture, teaching God’s nature and attributes, and shepherding and feeding sanctification within their readers.
Technology large and small allows you to travel farther and faster, while keeping you well-fed, entertained, and occupied; doing burdensome tasks in moments instead of hours; keeping you in touch with many people and multi-tasking in many arenas.
But are we truly more invested in eternal things? Are we better enabled to become more and more sanctified, dying more and more unto sin and living more and more unto righteousness? Are we growing in grace and drawing ever closer to the Savior?
The manner of true sanctification and closer fellowship with the Lord seems to eschew technology. Such seems to not be a technology thing; it is rather a spiritual thing. It is heart, soul, and mind engaged with God. It is a matter of seeking time and meditative quiet so that, even in alternate moments of noise and clamor, fellowship is neither inundated nor excluded. Prayer is not enhanced by technology. It is wholly separate from technology or non-technology. Technology is a distractor, neither an aid nor a multiplier of holiness.
Rather, it is a matter of following the example set by the Lord in His earthly life: drawing away from the hubbub of life to be alone with the Father, entering into the intimacy of your spirit relating to God and being genuinely filled with His Spirit. Technology knows not and does not naturally encourage this.
Use of technology means you are interacting with someone(s) or something(s) other rather than your spirit drawing near to the Spirit and your soul conversing with and loving the God who is without distraction. Such was maybe more possible in pre-technology days, for it now necessitates more rigorous discipline and highly habitual isolation from technology’s grip on you.
The quiet thrall of yearning to be filled and being consequently satiated with Him cannot be equaled by all the finest and newest technology in the world. It simply fails to satisfy the hungry heart. He says to you, “My kingdom is not of this world!” And so it is.
Technology can be a blessing; it can also be a curse. It can introduce a cacophony of evil into your life. It cannot necessarily be escaped as a part of this modern life, but it can be avoided as the distractor to becoming more Christ-like. It must save you time for drawing near to God, not for being immersed in the world. It is a difficult task because the temptation to be drawn away from fellowship with God and His Son is only a touch away.
The discipline to find time for God is more difficult in a technology age. You must keep that truth in the very front of your mind and constantly order your life to Him, or your regrets will destroy you. Fall in love with God, not technology!
“Jesus, I am resting, resting in the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart. Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee as Thy beauty fills my soul, for by Thy transforming power Thou hast made me whole. Jesus, I am resting, resting in the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart.”
(First verse of Jean Sophia Pigott’s hymn, “Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting,” 1876)