Three Signs You Might Be Worshiping Your Smartphone

Description

True worship is far more than raising your hands and singing louder than the people next to you.

One moment their hands were raised in worship. The next moment those same hands were texting. Worship. Text. Worship. Text.

I was trying to focus on the music, lyrics, and the Creator to which they pointed. But each time I saw a screen light up – or heard the ding, ding of the woman’s phone next to me who wouldn’t put her phone on “vibrate” – I got more and more frustrated. It wasn’t just one teenager. It was a bunch of high schoolers and adults. More people checking their phones than not checking their phones.

I couldn’t believe it. I was ready to go off.

Then it happened. The phone in my pocket vibrated. Without even thinking, I reached in and checked the text. My head shook at my own hypocrisy. Ugh.

The Scripture:

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. (Romans 1:25 NIV)

The question:

What created thing are you worshiping?

I love technology. Gadgets. Social media. You name it. It fascinates me. And if I’m truthful, sometimes it takes a hold on me too tightly.

As I worshipped with 7000 other people last Thursday night, I was reminded of the power of “created things” to take our thoughts away from the Creator.

Obviously, this isn’t just about technology. (I’m guessing the Apostle Paul didn’t text much.) Lots of created things vie for our worship. Our bank account balances. Our “stuff.” Our reputation. Our vocation. Our physical appearance.

I’ve been thinking about the signs that accompany my worship of God. Also thinking about how these apply to the created things I’m tempted to worship. Here are some of the signs that accompany worship:

  • It occupies an increasing amount of brain time. (Thoughts) – The more I authentically worship God, the more I think about Him when I’m not in what I would deem a “worship experience.” If God is the object of my worship, He occupies my thoughts. Frequently. 
    How often does this happen with other created things? How often do I think about technology, my stuff, or my reputation?
  • I am in reverent awe. (Feelings) – The emotions that accompany worship certainly aren’t the whole picture. But they aren’t unimportant either (as some would have us believe). There is a reverence and awe that accompanies worship. 
    Sadly, more often than I’d like to admit, that reverence and awe is focused somewhere other than God.
  • The idea of going even a day without it is nearly paralyzing. (Devotion) This is the one that cuts the deepest (for me at least). Not only does the idea of going a day without worshiping God not paralyze me, it happens all too regularly. But when it comes to our “stuff,” are you like me? Have you ever driven away from your house without your cell phone and felt panicky? Do thoughts of what-am-I-missing happen when you’re in a place where there is no cell reception or way to access Facebook, Twitter, or texting? Could you go a whole day – or week – without ever turning on your car radio or putting on headphones?

I have to constantly evaluate my worship – of the Creator and created things – through the lens of these three signs. When my thoughts, feelings, and devotion are stronger toward things, I’m headed down a dangerous road. I guess that’s why the first two commandments of the Big Ten (see Exodus 20) are all about who or what we’re worshiping.

Question: What are some other signs that we are worshiping someone or something?

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