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Our Souls + Our Screens



Because the world of information can be tapped into at any moment, it has invaded every moment.

What do we run to when we’re in pain? What do we do when we’re uncomfortable? The truth is, that many of us tend to look for ways to distract ourselves from what’s really going on within us, usually through technology.

Ben Stuart challenges us to turn away from diversions and toward intimacy with Jesus. What if we sat with our Creator in moments of discomfort rather than numbing our pain with distraction? If we stop to listen, we might find that God is trying to speak to us.

Key Takeaway

The atmosphere has changed through technology and it's causing unique challenges, we must adapt if we are going to survive. We have to learn to seek God before we seek our phones for distraction and validation. There's not much blessing that He wants to give, so we need to cultivate ways to hear Him.

The atmosphere has changed, so we are going to have to adapt to survive. There's been a massive shift in technology that has diminished our vibrancy. And it has all happened incredibly quickly.

  • Internet was not widely available until the mid-1990s
  • Laptops become a thing (1995)
  • Email shows up (1996)
  • Nintendo 64 (1997)
  • Google was born (1998)
  • Texting across networks (1999)
  • Camera phone (2002)
  • Facebook launched (2004)
  • YouTube (2005)
  • Twitter (2006)
  • First iPhone (2007)
  • Instagram (2010)
  • Snapchat (2011)
  • The word "selfie" was invented (2013)

People are carrying the World Wide Web around in their pockets at all times. The vast majority of people report panic if they don't have their phones on them.

There are obvious upsides to technology. Truly so many opportunities. The problem isn't having access to the internet everywhere, it's that it has access to you. Because endless streams can be tapped into at any moment, they have invaded every moment.

The barrage of information has not made us more intelligent.

IQs, attention spans, friends hanging out, dating, and productivity are all stats that have steadily been dropping.

But here's what is increasing: rates of depression, lack of sleep, dating apps, and STDs. There is a serious lack of social skills because texting has replaced having to talk face-to-face. There is also a lack of commitment to anything and everything because it's much easier to cancel plans when you don't have to see someone's disappointment.

Not only are we disconnected from each other, but from ourselves.

The constant connection has kept us from self-reflection. It used to be that we would stop and think at a stoplight or night. When left alone with our thoughts, we gain insight, that leads to self-awareness which leads to innovation and a change in our life. That solitude used to lead to prayer.

How many billions of prayers have been lost because in our solitude we've substituted our phones for our Maker?

Mark 4:1-20: Parable of the Sower and the Seed.

What keeps us from God? The enemy slowly squeezes out our need for God with the desire for other things. It chokes the blessing in our lives.

Why do we do this?

We do it to avoid discomfort and numb pain. We go to our phones for validation, comfort, escape, and distraction, not for information. We're addicted.

What do we do?

1) Re-embrace salvation instead of validation.

God told Hosea to marry Gomer who would be wildly unfaithful to him. God used this as a picture of what we do to Him. So she went out and embraced every possible vice that she thought would make her happy. Finally, she ends up on a block being sold as a slave and can't even get the going rate. Hosea pays full price for her and brings her home and tenderly cares for her as her husband.

God did that for us. We have chased everything and He paid the full price to save us. In Hosea 2:14-16 He says he will speak tenderly to us and be our husband, providing for every need. God comes towards us. Jesus pursues us. He takes us out into the wilderness because there's no distraction there.

He calls us to the wild and quiet places because speed is the enemy of depth, quickness the enemy of quality: the solution is the cultivation of quietness with Jesus.

2) Pursue restoration instead of distraction.

Jesus had a pattern of having tons of interaction and then getting away. See Mark 1:35 and Luke 5:15-16. If you're never being led beside still waters, then you are not following the Lord. The Shepherd makes us lie down in green pastures. Jeremiah Burrows, a Puritan said, "Never pour wine into shaky vessels." You still it first and then pour. It's the same with us. God has blessings for you, but you need to be still and calm.

Ephesians 1:9-10 speaks of God's "kind intention of His will." He purposed to purpose to adopt us as sons. One purpose is volition, the other purpose is emotional. He delights in it!

Come home and hear your Father's voice again.

3) Prioritize communion, not just connection.

Be with the people of God. Chase a depth with God and a depth with others. It's so much sweeter than anything found on a phone with people you'll never meet.


"Because endless streams can be tapped into at any moment, they have invaded every moment."

Ben Stuart

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Scripture References

  • Mark 4:1-20
  • Ephesians 1:9-10
  • Mark 1:35
  • Luke 5:15-16
  • Psalm 23
  • Hosea 2:14-16
Ben Stuart Ben Stuart is the pastor of Passion City Church D.C. Prior to joining Passion City Church, Ben served as the executive director of Breakaway Ministries on the campus of Texas A&M. He also earned a master’s degree in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Donna, live to inspire and equip people to walk with God for a lifetime.