Smartphones are changing us.
According to recent research, 94 percent of us have one, demonstrating the device’s status as an essential tool for living today. Forty-six percent of men and 55 percent of women check their phone before getting out of bed each morning. More than half do the same when trying to fall asleep at night. The younger we are, the more likely we are to spend much or all of our free time on the phone. More than half of millennials admit that their phone makes them more distracted in life.
Here’s an antidote: according to Science Daily, engagement with the natural environment is a significant contributor to life satisfaction. Hiking regularly in a forest or otherwise spending time in nature is a proven factor in overall happiness.
Clearly, we need help in dealing with our chaotic culture. Consider a new transgender “fact sheet” produced by Harvard University. According to the document, the concept of gender is “fluid and changing,” can be expressed a number of ways, and can change on a daily basis. The office that produced the “fact sheet” hosts several annual events at Harvard, one of which is a “Queer Prom.”
Of course, sexual issues are not limited to homosexual or transgender concerns. New research indicates that 68 percent of men who attend worship services regularly also view pornography on a regular basis. In addition, 76 percent of religious young adults, ages eighteen to twenty-four, actively seek out porn. A ministry devoted to freeing men from pornography concludes, “Never before has such a large portion of the Church lived in contradiction of what we believe.”
Our culture is convinced that all truth claims are personal and subjective, elevating tolerance as the apex value of our day. Anything you do that doesn’t hurt me is now acceptable morality. Obviously, we cannot find truth in a society that doesn’t believe truth exists.
How should we respond?
I was reading Leviticus 23 recently and was impressed by its beginning: “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the people of Israel and say to them . . .'” (vv. 1–2). This is the consistent pattern of Scripture: God speaks to his prophets or representatives, then they speak to the culture. “Thus says the Lord” is the prophetic claim to authority. Human words cannot change human hearts, but divine revelation marks us forever.
Thus, we can expect the enemy to do all he can to keep us from hearing the voice of our Lord. Satan mocks human attempts to accomplish divine purposes, but he trembles before the authentic word of God. If Jesus needed time with his Father (Mark 1:35), how much more do we?
Now consider this powerful warning in Ecclesiastes 7: “Say not, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask this” (v. 10). Hearing from God yesterday is not sufficient for the challenges of today. Since Jesus is “the living bread that came down from heaven” (John 6:51), our souls become famished if we do not spend time at his spiritual table.
What was the last word you heard from God?