Stewardship of Our Technology

I find it interesting that as I peruse the plethora of quotations regarding technology, the overwhelming majority of them are negative toward it.  I recently returned from a trip to Old Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts, which is a town set in the early to mid 1800’s.  To put it into perspective for the person fuzzy on time periods, the era was before Dr. Quinn ever ventured out to Colorado, so if you thought she was rustic…this goes beyond Dr. Quinn’s time.

Just to give you my brief but poignant perspective.  My girls are nine and seven and the ride to the village was a tiny bit over one hour.  My wife made sure they packed their portable DVD player and headphones so they could be entertained on the way up to the village.  I wasn’t going to pack the DVD player because I thought sure they could entertain themselves for one hour.  Yet, I was going to listen to music while I drove for an hour.  But it wasn’t going to be just any music.  I was looking forward to listening to strictly Celtic music off my I-phone® using my Pandora® app.  Imagine driving on a “long” drive with no DVD players and no radio?  What would we do?  Talk?  Play creative games?  Nap?

We rode a real stagecoach while at the village.  It seated nine very uncomfortably, and there were no radios, no DVD players built into the ceiling.  These trips weren’t trips that would be done in about an hour.  Families took long trips in these with “nothing” to do except maybe talk or play with toys that required imagination.  Have you noticed the toys coming out lately?  Instead of playing creatively with the toy, they’re made electronically now and the only interaction needed is to hit a button and then WATCH the toy do its thing.  I have very little doubt that one day it will be recognized that much of the increase in childhood neurological issues stem from these types of technology.

These are a few examples of how technology — used the way it was intended to be used — can have a harmful effect on our families, our children’s cognitive and intellectual development, as well as plainly making us soft.  Might I remind you…that can happen when technology is used properly.  How about the effects of technology used wrongly.  How harmful and detrimental can that become?  Remember, stewardship is using something given to you by another for the good of others whose good you are responsible for.  Watch how you use technology…it can be very devastating if used the wrong way and for the wrong purposes.  Richard Buckminster Fuller, engineer and architect of the geodesic dome, said, “Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons.”  Might I add that we are using technology in all the wrong ways.

First Corinthians 10:31 tells us that whatsoever we do, we should do to the glory of God.  Colossians 3:17 follows that up with a reminder that whatsoever we do in word or deed, it should all somehow be done in the name of Jesus.  But you won’t have to think too long to see how technology is being used wrongly today.  I’m not even talking about “Big Brother” watching you from afar or spying on your phone calls.  I’m talking about the everyday items we have at our fingertips, literally.  Smart phones and tablets and pads and the like are weapons of destruction if used improperly.

Let’s look specifically at 1st Corinthians 10:31.  “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”  Remember the standard.  Jesus never sinned.  So, if Jesus were going to be joining you in an activity that might be even the slightest bit naughty, He would opt out.  So, whatever mischief you may be planning, can you do every part of that to the glory of God?  Not when it comes to intentionally hurting someone, or spreading stories, gossiping, or plainly lying.  Colossians 3:17, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.”  God gets even more specific and leaves no wiggle room…word or deed…spoken or written words…and deeds.  That’s pretty neat that God covered the misuse of social media thousands of years ago before it came on the scene.

For instance…Facebook® and My Space® are loaded with opportunities for words to be sent that can either edify or hurt.  Words can be loving or laced with hate.  You can use your knowledge of intimate matters to direct your prayers privately for an individual, or you can be a tailbearer as spoken of in Proverbs 11:13 and blast it for all the world to see.  You can use words to sow seeds of discord.  Not only that, but these social media sites allow for pictures to be uploaded, possibly taking a single moment in time out of context and if a picture is worth a thousand words, in the wrong hands, they can be a thousand words worth of lies, hate, and discord.

In fact, the interesting thing is that in Proverbs 6:16-20, all of the six things the Lord hates can, in fact, be done with today’s technology:  An unleashing of pride; shedding of innocent blood (figurative when thinking about character assassinations); an open door for the heart to devise wicked deeds; the spreading of lies and gossip; an avenue for planning and carrying out mischief; a destructive spirit desiring to sow discord.

Think about those six themes and then tell yourself how these ideas could fit:

Sexting:  Taking an immoral photo of a part of your body and texting it to another person.

Virus Creating:  Want to talk about malicious mischief?  Here it is.  These can be certainly harmful under the right conditions.

Pornography:  Today’s Internet technology is full of opportunities to acquire all sorts of information.  Sadly, it’s also a gateway to soft porn straight on through to hardcore.  This damages so many facets of physical, emotional, spiritual and familial health.

Vile and Impure Viewing:  Just because it isn’t porn doesn’t mean it’s good to look at.  We get desensitized to evil by allowing evil images to bombard us daily, to the point where it doesn’t even phase us at times.

Hacking:  That’s the technology person’s equivalent to breaking and entering.  Being malicious and entering someone else’s computer to alter documents, and send emails, among other activities.

None of these aforementioned activities (and there are numerous others) can be done to the glory of God, nor can they be done in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Yet that is what our technology affords us in the way of opportunities to sin.  Remember this though, according to Numbers 32:33, your sin will find you out.  Not only that, but God reiterates that same sentiment in Galatians 6:7, warning us that He is not mocked.  Not only will your sin find you out, but you will reap the consequences of such actions.  Technology used for evil will reap heartache for that person doing the mischief.  And I’m sure many of us have either our own stories to tell establishing that as fact, or at least know of others to which that has happened.

There’s no-nonsense advice from God’s Word that is very effective against doing stupid things with technology.  “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).  But it’s not enough just to walk in the spirit then sit in front of the computer while your heart races and the devil tempts you with thoughts of mischief only a click away.  No, you have to walk in the spirit and not walk near the computer for a long time, or at least sit down with an accountability partner committed to keeping you safe.  Romans 13:14 says just that, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”  Did you catch that?  Put on Christ!  Walk in the Spirit!  Don’t fulfill the lust of the flesh!  Oh yeah…don’t give yourself the opportunity to fall.

If you gossip and lie and spread rumors and sow seeds of discord among the brethren and you’re having a hard time stopping, sure, getting “prayered up” and walking close to the Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit will help, but sitting down unattended in front of the computer before God’s gained that victory will lead to more failed attempts before you begin to see God’s victory in your life over that particular technology sin you’re involved in.  An alcoholic who wants to remain sober won’t go and buy his bottled water from the cooler in a liquor store.  That would be stupid.  So too would keeping the technology that plagues you at your reach at any moment (computer, cell phone, I-pad®, tablets, etc…).

I’ve had my share of technology problems, and it’s taken a long time to reach the point where I can be alone at home logged into my computer and not do things I shouldn’t do, nor go to websites I shouldn’t visit.  But that didn’t happen immediately.  Early on (more than six years ago) it was one step forward and three steps backward as I would struggle with wanting to do the right thing but end up doing the wrong thing. Now I praise God in my prayers and my quiet time with Him that I’m able to function “normally” on the computer…though I don’t let my guard down and risk doing something stupid and losing all that God and I have accomplished together to this point.

I’m here to tell you that you can go from using the computer (and other technology) for bad, and reach a point someday where you use that same technology for good.  I went from immorality and pornography to writing articles for my ministry devoted to strengthening the family.  I’m proof that God can indeed help you overcome your misuse of technology and teach you to become a better steward of that aspect of your life.

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