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Addicted to the Screen

Addicted to the Screen

Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in his room of pictures? Ezekiel 8:12

The newest update on my smart phone now gives me a weekly total of my screen time. I was a little alarmed to find that I’d tallied over two hours last week. Though I do read my Bible on my phone, I doubt that I spent two hours in the Bible. The phone has crept in to now become a significant part of my life. I really don’t want my TV to start giving me a similar weekly total.

Though they didn’t have television or smart phones in Ezekiel’s day, it’s difficult to read his prophetic vision in today’s passage without seeing the parallels between the Israelites and us. In the vision, God showed Ezekiel how his people were driving God out of their lives (Ezekiel 8:6). The abomination described involved images of foreign gods engraved on a wall. In the vision, Ezekiel observed his people sitting in a darkened room, worshipping the images on the highlighted wall. They sat alone, in the dark, staring at images, driving God from their lives.

I know I’ll sound a little legalistic, but we’ve slipped imperceptibly into the same behavior. When we spend hours a week – or hours a day – at anything, we choose to find some joy and meaning in that thing. The more time we invest, the more we rely on it to fill our deepest needs. The problem of course, is that we were made to find satisfaction, not in a screen, but in God.

No one sets out to find their happiness in the phone, but the drug addict does not set out to find his in a pill. Addiction happens as we give increasing time and effort to a thing. Then, when the depression and anxiety of the screen – or the pill – sets in, it’s too late. We are enslaved.

Like anything, we must examine our screen time to see if we are investing more in it than we are in our relationship with God. If the screen is driving God from our lives, we must choose which is more important. Then, we must do what it takes to live accordingly.

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