Sanctifying Our Smartphones

bible reading day 84

If you’re new here this week, on Mondays, we focus on the series, Faith Hub: Where God and Technology Connect.   Last week, we discussed how social media requires grace too.

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What does “Sanctifying Our Smartphones” actually mean?

It means being intentional about smartphone usage as Christians.

A few weeks ago I bit the bullet and traded in my 3 year old free phone for a smartphone. I know I’m late to the party on this, but there were many reasons that I didn’t want to upgrade. I did have a five year old itouch that I used in the same manner as many people use their smartphones. Until my two year old decided to baptize it in the toilet…. Whew- ok, I said all that to say:

As Christians, we are privileged to live in the age of modern technology and we need to be sure we are intentional with the privilege.

Did you know there are more than 1 billion smartphones in use worldwide?

Nielsen ranks smartphone usage for March 2012 as 50.4% of all US consumers.

As Christians, welcoming the age of smartphone usage is critical for growing our faith and spreading the gospel.  My children already show signs of modern technology acceptance of which I never dreamed.  My two year old is so accustomed to touchscreen technology that she tries to change the channel on the tv by touching the screen.  Obviously, our house is not quite up to that cost level of technology. 🙂

The next generation will integrate technology in their daily lives beyond our current imaginations.  For that reason if no other, now is the time to become intentional in our smartphone usage as their examples of modern Christian living.

Technology shines the greatest when used as a resource to build relationships.

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 How then do we become intentional in our smartphone usage as Christians?  What does  it mean to “sanctify our smartphones?”

Sanctifying our smartphones means we are setting them apart for God’s glory.

Yes, they are tools for daily practical use.

But they can be tools for daily spiritual use.

I’ve been reflecting heavily on how to be  intentional with smartphones and I came up with this list of  5 ways to be intentional with smartphone usage as a Christian. Maybe you’ll get an idea or two about your own usage. Here we go:

1. Use reminders effectively.

Why not use your reminders to remember prayer requests? When Susie is scheduled for surgery at 2 pm, you could have your phone reminder prompt you to pray for her. Or set a reminder to pray at a certain time each day. Maybe you are part of a Bible study group in which everyone sets their reminders for the same time to pray for one another each day.

2. Eliminate unnecessary notifications- especially social media.

Control your social media notifications; don’t allow them to control you. Turn off any notifications by which you do not need to be interrupted. I don’t play Facebook games, so I turn off all notifications of game apps. I can’t tell you what is appropriate for you- but I do  recommend being intentional in your choices about interruptions. Too many interruptions make it difficult to be focused overall.

3. Download and use a Bible app.

I typically use the laptop for my daily Bible reading.  There are many online Bible websites: Bible Gateway, YouVersion, and BlueLetterBible, just to name a few. I love having easy access to many versions in two clicks if I read a verse I want to investigate further. 🙂 BlueLetterBible is my favorite of these three online Bible sites.

However, when I don’t have the laptop, I use the Olive Tree Bible Study app on my phone. If you’re looking for a Bible app, here’s a list of 5 Fabulous Bible Apps I Recommend.

4. Put your Bible app in a place of priority. 

My Bible app rests on the home page of my phone. Out of sight, out of mind- this is the reason I keep it where I can see it.

5. Dedicate the overall usage to God.

When my new phone first arrived, I stared at the box for a moment before opening it. Then after opening it, you may think I’m a little over the top, but I prayed over that crazy phone.

I prayed that I would remember relationship over resource.

That I would treat the phone as a tool, not a tangent, as my friend Karen Ehman says.

That I would have the discipline to control the phone and not allow it to control me.

That I would listen to the Holy Spirit prompting me when to put the phone down…and when to pick it up.  

6. Invite others to see the goodness of God.

The manner in which we use our phones will be an indication of the manner in which we live our lives.

Whether I’m tweeting a verse or extending a social media invitation to Bible study, texting my sisters or calling my husband, I always want the phone usage to be a resource and not a regret.

What ideas or recommendations do you have for “sanctifying your smartphone?” I’d love to read them in the comments!

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11 Comments

  1. Loved this post! I too set alarms as a reminder to pray! My favorite way to so this is set an alarm for the time that correlates with someone’s birthday. I get so in the habit of praying for a specific person at a specific time that even when my phone is not with me, if it is their birthday time they are in my prayers!

    My main suggestion is to disable the Internet browser that came with your phone and download a browser app that has strong filters. Having small children and knowing the evils that can be found easily on the internet I enjoy all the protection a child-friendly browser offers!

  2. It is amazing how comfortable children are with technology. My boys have been helping me with my computer, my camera and my phone for years, lol! I don’t have a smartphone but they did have to help me with texting, etc.

    I loved what you said here: “I prayed that I would remember relationship over resource.” That is so important because I’ve had lunch with people and ate in silence while they either talked on their phone or texted, and none of those situations were an emergency! Thanks for hosting today!

  3. Rachel,
    This is so good. I ADORE that you prayed over your phone…. and that is something I am going to start incorporating into my prayer life. When you said that a lightbulb went on for me – of course I should! It is with me most of the time as I go about my day. I want to be a Godly steward of the technology given to me….it’s so easy for it to get out of balance! Thank you, dear woman. Your words are a blessing!

  4. Like you said: control the phone, don’t let it control you.
    I also l0ve apps like YouVersion, RememberMe (Scripture memory aid), and devotional ones. It’s great to have access to all this Bible knowledge wherever we go! At least, it is when we actually use them! Like you said – it helps to set reminders for those disciplines.

    1. Thanks Elizabeth. Funny that it takes discipline to set the reminders in the first place. 🙂 Thank you!

  5. EXCELLENT! I see so many rejecting the use of modern technology and social media because they only see the potential negative. (especially my generation, sadly!) I LOVE how you encourage using it for God, and see it as a way to further God’s purposes! Thank you!!

    1. Oh, Thank you, Gina! Love having your perspective. Yes, there is definitely a technology usage age gap. Thanks for your comment!

  6. Oh, Rachel, I so agree!

    My kids are 12 and 14, and they take to figuring out electronics like ducks to water. I watch wee ones manipulate smart phones and their ability to use them frightens me. I see young minds being taken over by the glow of the screen.

    My grandmother feared that from television, but at least we couldn’t jam that in a pocket and take it along everywhere we went! 🙂

    Moderation makes the difference. Everything we do requires moderation — even the good things. Balance. Focus on what we should do, rather than what we want. When we put God first, the other things will fall into place so much easier, and we need to carefully watch … we give into our selves more easily sometimes than we know.

    Thanks for a great reminder.

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