There are a lot of cell phones in the USA. Based on Pew Research done in 2014, there were 327,577,529 cell phones. Our entire population in the USA in 2014 was only 317, 874,628! Believe it or not, the USA only ranks third among nations owning cell phones. China and India, with their massive populations, rank first and second with 1.276 billion and 1.017 billion respectively. That’s a lot of phones! So what’s the problem? The problem is cell phone addiction. Wait a minute. Are you saying people can become addicted to a cell phone? Yes! Easily!
You see it every day. So do I. People looking down at their cell phones . . . constantly. They seemingly can’t go for long without checking their cell phones to see if someone sent them an email, a text, posted something on their Facebook page, sent a tweet on Twitter or something on Snapchat or Instagram, or the trendiest social media of the day. Golfers check their cell phones with every stroke often delaying play and frustrating their playing partners. Meetings, plays, sporting events, films, and concerts are interrupted by the all-intrusive cell phone. At a restaurant I watched as a non-custodial father sat with his 8 year old son. It was his weekend to have his son and the boy desperately wanted his dad to talk to him, to pay attention to him. Dad, however, was on his cell phone. No time to connect with his son and build a relationship. After all he might miss some important business deal and that takes precedence over his son.
Can it become a form of addiction? Can we become slaves to our phones? Can they become the master and we their slaves? If you find yourself searching your cell phone relentlessly for updates and new news, you might be addicted. If the thought of giving up your phone for a week or even a day stresses you out, you might be addicted. If you find yourself using your cell phone during meal times instead of interacting with your spouse or children, you might be addicted. If you leave your cell phone at home charging and forget to take it with you causing you to panic, you might be addicted. Cell phone addiction, like any other addiction, enslaves us demanding our time, energy, and love. The cell phone has become an idol in our lives demanding our worship.
What’s the answer? How can we break the hold of cell phone addiction on our lives? Start by intentionally putting boundaries around using it. For example, turn off all cell phones while driving, eating meals, at public events, or on dates. Only check cell phones for a limited amount of time each day or only at certain times of the day. Resist checking it constantly. Pray and ask the Lord for His help in breaking the power of cell phone addiction in your life. The Apostle Paul tells us that, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12). Jesus and Jesus alone is to be our Master and Lord. Nothing else must be permitted to master us. Weaning yourself from the insidious grip of your cell phone on your life will be painful and hard but necessary if you want to be free.
May the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bondage Breaker, strengthen you for the fight,