MUSINGS ON MOBILE PHONES

“A mobile phone is a wireless handheld device that allows users to make and receive calls and to send text messages, among other features” [taken on 24 Dec. 2019 from www.techopedia.com]. Some people just call them “a mobile” (without adding the word “phone”). In other locations, such devices are called “hand phones”, “cell phones”, or “cellular telephones”.

The amazingness of mobile phones – While it would be untrue to declare that every person in the world possesses a cellular phone, their widespread usage and influence is phenomenal. Those who lived and died in the pre-mobile phone periods of history would be astounded if they could be transported to our time and observe mobile phones in action.

Like money, mobile phones and all other forms of telephones are neither inherently godly nor ungodly devices. They are a material object, period. A person might use one of them in a fashion which pleases the Lord, or he might use it in a way that the Creator considers to be evil. In terms of perspective, mobile phones are not the Savior of the world, but neither are they “the mark of the beast.”

The potential benefit which mobile phones can bring to our lives – I possessed my first mobile phone ten years ago this month when a brother placed one in my hand and basically told me, “Use it.” Ready or not, a mobile phone became a part of my daily life.

Mobile phones are wonderful for communication. Back in the pre-mobile phone days, one had to wait until he could find a stationary phone in a private or public place. Not anymore. Mobile phones, if one has available service, are an extremely convenient way of communicating. That is one of their biggest plusses.

The introduction of smartphones really changed the world of mobile phones. “Smartphones can browse the Internet and run software programs like a computer. Smartphones use a touch screen to allow users to interact with them. There are thousands of smartphone apps including games, personal-use, and business-use programs that can all run on the phone” [taken on 24 Dec. 2019 from www.computerhope.com].

Because smartphones allow a person to connect to the internet, they give their users access to almost unlimited information . . . like an old-school set of encyclopedias at their finger tips. What a blessing. It might be using a GPS (Global Positioning System) for navigation, finding the nearest pharmacy, or sharing helpful information in a group chat with Christians.

On the spiritual side of things, a beautiful benefit of mobile phones is being able to download a Bible, Bible programs, and Bible-related articles. Smartphones allow us to listen to and watch Bible lessons. All of that has the potential to help us in our effort to grow in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18), grow in healthy thinking (Philippians 4:8), and be prepared to give a defense of our faith (1 Peter 3:15).

I personally choose to use a hard copy of the Bible because that works better for me. It gives me a better feel of context and I am much better in locating verses with a “regular” Bible. However, I do enjoy using my mobile phone to read the Bible when I have a few moments waiting on someone or an activity to begin. I could not count the number of times I have used my smartphone to review a lesson or access my personal study materials which I have stored “in the cloud.”

The potential destruction/distraction which mobile phones can cause – This side of the story deserves to be heard, too. As with other devices, a mobile phone can be used to access pornography, false religious messages, and unhealthy advice about a multitude of matters. While access to the internet can be a blessing, it also can be a curse. It all depends on how we use it.

Some things have suffered because of the use of mobile phones. People’s communication skills have deteriorated. It is not uncommon to observe this scene in a restaurant: a family of four – dad, mom, and two kids, each one staring at the phone in their hand and no one is speaking with others at the table. A lack of communication hinders, even injures, relationships.

Mobile phones, with the use of texting, have had an adverse affect on many young people’s grammar skills, spelling in particular. Far more serious, though, is the reality that, in general, those whose study of the Bible is done exclusively with a phone are not as strong in Bible knowledge. That may change in the future, but presently that is the way it stands.

Mobile phones can be a distraction during a Bible class or worship assembly. In such a setting, if a child of God is not using his phone for a spiritual purpose, but rather has it out playing a game or sending a text about some trivial, non-emergency matter, such action has the potential to be a stumblingblock to others. “Messing around” on a phone during a Bible class or worship shows a lack of reverence for the God of heaven, His word, and His people. Malachi 1:6-14 shows us that God is not pleased with irreverence.

As we engage in activities or use products which are helpful (like a mobile phone), we must not allow ourselves to become addicted to them. “All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12). The first love of our life needs to be the Lord, not a phone.

Roger D. Campbell

Share This: