(This is post #4 in our new Manhood and Technology Series. You can read the prior posts here: Manhood and Technology || Introducing a New Series, the Two Views of Smartphones article, and the Why I Kissed Social Media Goodbye article)
By Chris Crane
From MacBooks, iPhones, and iPads to Skype, Snapchat, and Instagram, we have become a society dependent on various gadgets and gizmos. It doesn’t take long to look around and see how technology dependent our culture has become. While the digital age isn’t bad in itself, with any good gift from God, it can quickly and subtly become a serious problem. So, as Christian men, how can we faithfully use these gifts while at the same time guarding against some of the dangers that can be present in our digital world? Four things come to mind.
Posting Without A Cost
In the digital world, anonymity thrives. With websites and apps that let you sign up for an anonymous profile, it can become fairly easy to deceive others and portray a false character. However, nothing is really anonymous. In Luke 8:17, Jesus says, “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” While anonymity certainly is an issue and a serious one, I think an extension of this issue is more prevalent amongst Christians. We’ll be “bold for Christ” online, yet neglect to meet our neighbors. If we’re honest, we desire obedience on our own terms; however, when we’re confronted with the reality of what Jesus’ own terms for faithful discipleship are, we aren’t so keen about that.
The gospel shatters this sense of cowardice by declaring that not only are we fully accepted by God on the basis of Christ’s merit (Eph. 2:1-9; Titus 3:3-7), but we have been empowered by the Holy Spirit with a holy boldness to lay our lives down as servants who testify the greatness of God in Christ (Acts 1:8). Furthermore, why do you have any reason to fear man when your Father in heaven never leaves you nor forsakes you (Deut. 31:6; Heb. 13:5-6)? There will always be a cost to following Jesus, small or large. There will always be push back and rejection. Stand firm.
Besides cowardice, pride is also harmful and devastating to our souls (Prov. 16:5, 18; 21:4; 26:12; 30:12). We can easily become like the Pharisee in Luke 18, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men…” (v. 11). With the increased capacity to share our thoughts – informed or otherwise – comes the increased potential to look down on those who aren’t like us. Our natural inclination is to justify our pride while also justifying our critical view of others.
This type of attitude can become apparent as bloggers try to build their platform. Be honest: any time you start a blog, you want people to read it. If you didn’t, you probably wouldn’t have one. At the same time, we need to be very careful about how we go about establishing our voice amidst the abundance of blogs in the blogosphere. Several weeks ago, Kyle Worley provided some helpful wisdom with his article here on Manual concerning platform building. He wisely reminds men that all platforms are “bestowed. They are gifts and privileges.” As we make all these plans for our platform, remember that the purpose of God giving us a platform is so we can “shout the name and glory of God.” If the Lord gives you the gift of having a wide influence, use it well. Be humble and remember that it may not last forever.
Resist the Urge to Say Something
Over the last several years, blogging has become increasingly popular. Everyone and their grandma have a blog now. However, one temptation with bloggers, especially young men, is jumping on top of the latest controversy bandwagon and sharing their two cents. They want to do battle with the latest cultural or ecclesiological issue. Brothers, don’t be that guy. If you blog, you need to ask yourself, “Is this a hill worth dying on? Is this an issue I should address or should I remain silent on this one?” Certainly, there are times to speak, but seek the Lord for the wisdom to know when that is. We can’t die on every hill.
John Frame, who serves as the J. D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, shares some helpful wisdom on this point, worthy of our consideration:
“When there is a controversy, don’t get on one side right away. Do some analytical work first, on both positions. Consider these possibilities: (a) that the two parties may be looking at the same issue from different perspectives, so they don’t really contradict; (b) that both parties are overlooking something that could have brought them together; (c) that they are talking past one another because they use terms in different ways; (d) that there is a third alternative that is better than either of the opposing views and that might bring them together; (e) that their differences, though genuine, ought both to be tolerated in the church, like the differences between vegetarians and meat-eaters in Romans 14.”
Men, remember Jesus exhortation in Matthew 10:16: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Fight the good fight, but not every fight. Sometimes silence is wisdom’s best tool.
Starve Your Addiction
With all the distractions the digital age has brought our way and some we may welcome in ourselves, we need to be able to identify when it is time to unplug and starve the addiction, or the slow formation of one if left unchecked. In his book The Shallows, Nicholas Carr noticed the slow and steady attachment technology was having on him:
“I began to notice that the Net was exerting a much stronger and broader influence over me than my old stand-alone PC ever had. It wasn’t just that I was spending so much time staring into a computer screen. It wasn’t just that so many of my habits and routines were changing as I became more accustomed to and dependent on the sites and services of the Net. The very way my brain worked seemed to be changing. It was then that I began worrying about my inability to pay attention to one thing for more than a couple of minutes…[My brain] was demanding to be fed the way the Net fed it – and the more it was fed, the hungrier it became. Even when I was away from my computer, I yearned to check e-mail, click links, do some Googling. I wanted to be connected.”
Brothers, Christ has provided for us all we need, including His Spirit, who produces in us self-control (Gal. 5:23) and also who gives wisdom to those who ask for it (Jam. 1:5). As we pursue mature manhood rooted in our affections for Christ and biblical fidelity, we need the proper balance of acceptance towards technology and a critical eye towards it, lest men of God fall into the trap of slothfulness and lust. When we use God’s good gifts, remember to heed Paul’s instructions to the church in Corinth: “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Cor. 16:13-14). We can’t afford to do otherwise. There is too much at stake.
 Kyle Worley, “Biblical Manhood and Pursuing “Platform”,” The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (December 18, 2013), accessed January 10, 2014, http://cbmw.org/men/manhood/biblical-manhood-and-pursuing-platform/.
 John Frame, “Reflections of a Lifetime Theologian: An Extended Interview with John M. Frame,” interviewed by P. Andrew Sandlin in Speaking the Truth in Love: The Theology of John Frame (ed. John J. Hughes; Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, 2009), 106–10
 Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing to Our Brains (New York: Norton, 2011), 16.
Chris Crane has formerly served as the College Intern at First Baptist Church Irving and in leadership for Dallas Baptist University’s Encounter Ministries. He holds a B.A. in Biblical Studies from DBU. Currently, he serves as one of the Middle School Small Group Leaders at Lake Highlands Baptist Church and is pursuing a Th.M. from Dallas Seminary. He writes at chriscrane.net. You can follow him on Twitter @cmcrane87.
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