August 2, 2021
Made by Human Hands
Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. But their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands (Psalm 115:3-4, NIV).
Friend to Friend
About nine years ago, I wanted to convince my husband James that I needed a smartphone. I had been carrying around a flip phone for years, but I really wanted one of those shiny new smartphones.
“Why isn’t your current phone enough? Why do you need a new phone?” he asked practically.
“Um,” I mumbled like a busted teenager. “When I’m out with my friends, it’s embarrassing when I don’t have one. They all take pictures with their phones, and I’m always hoping no one notices that I keep my clunky old phone in my purse.”
James wasn’t convinced that a phone was a legitimate addition to our budget. Months later, I realized I could take credit card payments on my phone which would help me with work. That did the trick! We drove to the store to pick out my shiny new object.
Finally, I had arrived. Bursting with pride, I set the sleek phone down on my desk and started to work. A few seconds later, I picked up the phone. Had anyone texted me? Should I install an app? It didn’t take long for me to realize this phone could easily become a snare to my productivity – and to my soul.
That’s because we’ve come to expect more from our technology and less from ourselves (and God). I can look up meanings to words in an instant, find the best place for tacos near my home, use my GPS to go on a road trip, and look up medical advice instead of going to the doctor. I don’t need to pray and ask for guidance; I can just look up the answers on my phone.
But the most advanced phone can never come close to the knowledge and power of Almighty God.
Psalm 115:3-4 (NIV) says, “Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. But their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands.” Psalm 135:15 (NIV) repeats this saying, “The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by human hands.”
Man-made idols didn’t satisfy people in ancient times, and our phone idols certainly don’t satisfy us now.
The phone is supposed to be a help, but often it’s a hindrance. How easily I depend on search engines for knowledge and advice instead of turning the pages of my Bible. Sure I can start looking up a Bible verse on an app, but before long, I’m distracted and responding to texts instead.
Have you ever heard of “nomophobia”? It’s the fear of being without your mobile phone. Researchers at Iowa State University developed a questionnaire to determine whether or not you suffer from nomophobia. Do you identify with statements like:
I would feel uncomfortable without constant access to information on my smartphone.
Running out of battery would scare me.
Friend, I don’t want to have nomophobia. I want to be more afraid of relying on my phone too much and on God too little. Perhaps there was an upside to that old clunky phone I had for years after all.
What is something you can do to prevent your phone from becoming an idol in your life?
Dear God, I do not want to rely on my phone or my screens for comfort or connection. Forgive me for seeking knowledge on my phone instead of the Word of God. You are the leader of my life and the true source of wisdom.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
How do you feel when you don’t have your phone with you?
Think of something you can do to create space between you and your phone. You might charge your phone outside of your bedroom overnight, begin the day with prayer instead of picking up the phone, or hold a loved one’s hand while walking instead of holding your phone.
More from the Girlfriends
What if your kids or grandkids are addicted to their phones? Visit Arlene’s Happy Home University to watch her new documentary, Screen Kids: In Their Own Words.
© 2021 by Arlene Pellicane. All rights reserved.