But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Romans 13:14)
Christians do not just coast through life like jellyfish floating in the current of contemporary culture. We live by the power of the Spirit and find our course by the word of God. We swim. Like dolphins, not jellyfish. Part of that course setting and power is expressed in thoughtful engagement with the digital realities of our day. Dangers included. Here are five.
1) The hook of constant curiosity
Digital devices offer a never-ending possibility for discovery. Even the basic operating systems can consume hours of curious punching and experimenting. Then there are the endless apps consuming weeks of your time as they lure you into their intricacies.
All this is very deceptive, giving the illusion of power and effectiveness, but leaving you with a feeling of emptiness and nervousness at the end of the day.
Resolution: I will strictly limit my experimental time on the device and devote myself more to truth than to technique.
2) The empty world of virtual (un)reality
How sad to see brilliant, creative people pouring hours and days of their lives into creating cities and armies and adventures that have no connection with reality. We have one life to live. All our powers are given to us by the real God for the real world leading to a real heaven and real hell.
Resolution: I will spend my constructive, creative energy not in the unreality of “virtual reality” but in the reality of the real world.
3) “Personal” relations with a machine
Like no other invention, a computer comes closest to being like a person. You can play games with it. It will talk to you. It will always be there for you. The great danger here is that we really become comfortable with this manageable electronic “person,” and gradually drift away from the unpredictable, frustrating, sometimes painful dealings with real human persons.
Resolution: I will not replace the risk of personal relationships with impersonal electronic safety.
4) The risk of tryst
“Tryst \’trist\ noun: An agreement (as between lovers) to meet.” Sexual affairs begin in private time together, extended conversation, and the sharing of soul, which can now be done in absolute seclusion through digital devices. You can think that “it’s just nothing” — until she (or he) shows up in town.
Resolution: I will not cultivate a one-on-one relationship with a person of the opposite sex other than my spouse. If I am single, I will not cultivate such a relationship with another person’s spouse.
More insidious that X-rated videos, we can now not only watch but join the perversity in the privacy of our own den. Interactive porn will allow you to “do it” or make them “do it” virtually.
I have never seen it. Nor do I ever intend to. It kills the spirit. It drives God away. It depersonalizes women. It quenches prayer. It blanks out the Bible. It cheapens the soul. It destroys spiritual power. It defiles everything.
Resolution: I will never open any app or website for sexual stimulation, nor purchase or download anything pornographic.