One of my favourite pass times is surfing. I distinctly remember on one occasion being dumped and swallowed up by a huge wave. It would have been no longer than 20 seconds-but it felt like I was drowning- as I frantically struggled to reach the surface for a gulp of fresh air.
In the same way, the digital revolution has swept into our lives like a giant tidal wave, having a huge impact on our spiritual vitality, our personal lives, our homes and the church. Over the past two millennia, we have gone from papyrus to paper to pixels.
Amid the bombardment of noise, images, and ceaseless distraction, it can feel like as Christians our spiritual health is drowning. Our souls feel shriveled up, yet we yearn for a breath of clarity and wisdom, on exactly how Christians are to navigate their way through this 21st century that has gone technology mad.
From the beginning of time, technology has played a crucial role, with God gifting mankind the ability to invent things that serve humanity.
Upon catching my breath, one of the lessons I have learnt is that technology itself is amoral, having no intrinsic morality. From the beginning of time, technology has played a crucial role, with God gifting mankind the ability to invent things that serve humanity. I saw the benefit of this a little while ago when I posted John 3:16 on my Facebook status, well over 100 unsaved eyes would have, at the very least, glanced at its message. Consequently, technology can be used as a gift to glorify God. Although technology is amoral, I realised however, technology was not morally neutral. Just like it can influence me to do the right thing, it can also be a powerful stimulus to do the wrong thing. This became apparent during a point in my life when I was struggling with my walk with the Lord. Rather than pouring my heart out to God in prayer, and bathing in his Word, I would desensitise the reality of my spiritual state by immersing myself in the constant distractions of the web. Thus, the very thing that God gave as an external gift to use for his glory, became an idol that dethroned Him from his rightful rule in my heart.
So amid the confusion of a rapidly changing world, no matter what technological fad or device comes along, certain principles have abiding significance. Technology itself is not evil, but its use has both tremendous opportunities and yet grave dangers. May God grant us discernment to think biblically and use wisely our technology in ways that honour His name.
Steven Kilner is married to Jodie and has three sons, they have a eight year-old, a six year-old and a three year-old. They attend Canterbury Gardens Community Church. Steven is studying theology at PTC and Jodie is undertaking a diploma in Nursing.