Let me tell you something that happened to me one recent Sunday afternoon. I sent someone a WhatsApp with the hymn numbers for the evening service, then a few minutes later realised that I was flicking through Facebook. It happened without thinking. Not only was I mindlessly using social media (not a good thing any time), I was casually breaking the 4th commandment – ‘remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.’ (Exodus 20:8)
On this blog we’ve always tried to be balanced about technology. Smartphones, social media and the internet have both benefits and problems. They are tools that can be used rightly or wrongly.
Honesty is important though. It’s so easy to slip into bad habits without realising it. If you reach for your phone every few minutes, pull it out of your pocket whenever it beeps, or spend every spare moment scrolling through Facebook or YouTube, maybe you need to take a step back and review things. Many teenagers are totally addicted to their phones, but so are lots of older people as well. We’re all at risk of being phone addicts.
I’m not proud of where I found myself recently, but it has set me thinking. I suspect many of us would say that we try not to use our phones in the same way on Sunday as we do the rest of the week. We know Sunday is the Lord’s day, set apart to worship him, and as a day of rest for us. But, maybe you don’t think like this and you are on your phone all day on Sunday too.
Whatever your attitude to phones, Sundays and both together, is it time to take that step back and see whether we need to take some action?
Our attitude to Sundays says a lot about how we view God and how seriously we take our Christian life. Think about a couple of things:
- Sunday is God’s day and he has commanded us to keep it holy. This means set apart for God. It means keeping the things we focus on the rest of the week away from Sundays. This enables us to focus on the Lord and spend time in worship. It’s one of God’s top ten commandments – if we ignore it we are sinning.
- Sunday is a day of rest for us. In his wisdom, God has given us this for our benefit. It allows our spirit, mind and body to rest and recharge. If Sundays are little different from the rest of the week, we are denying ourselves the benefit of the rest that God knows we need.
Back to our phones – make sure you are not addicted to them full stop. But, also have a think about how you use them on Sundays. It is the Lord’s day and we need to be very careful to keep it that way. Do you need to make some changes? My experience shows that I do.
What can we do? Perhaps put your phone in flight mode on Sunday, or better still leave it in a drawer or switch it off. At the very least apply some discipline to your day such that you are not tempted to use your phone as you would the rest of the week. Pray that God will help you to be honest about your phone use and give you the willpower to make any necessary changes.
Getting into the habit of having ‘Switch-off Sundays’ may be massively beneficial, both spiritually and for our general wellbeing. Why don’t you try it next weekend?[A00154 – 22/04/2021]