This transcript is taken from a Stand in the Gap Today program originally aired on May 18, 2023. To listen to this program, please click HERE.
Sam Rohrer: Hello and welcome to this Thursday edition of Stand In the Gap Today. And today I want to pose a question to all of you listening to me right now. I know you’ll not be able to answer it quickly, and I did actually advise you not to. Now, it’s a question that’ll require, I think, a great deal of prayer and serious thought beyond this program today in order to answer it honestly, because this question deals with something that to most people I would submit has become an addiction, something that most people feel they can’t do without. Now, the question touches on the important biblical areas of priorities, stewardship of time, love of oneself and others. It’s a difficult question because it really enjoins the subject of worship and whether this particular activity moves me closer to God in worship or toward idolatry and greater independency from God.
The question I ask, if considered seriously may prompt a heated discussion at some point with your spouse. And if you discuss it, which you ought to with your children, it will require great wisdom as they may likely respond with great emotion and possibly at least initially with some hostility. And I’ll say upfront, I am asking myself this question anew right now, though for many years I’ve made modifications in my lifestyle as a result, but still sense the deleterious effects of this particular activity on my spiritual life, thought life, and frankly, view of the world. And when I share the question in a bit, you’ll know what I mean, but give me just a little bit more background on this before posing the question.
It was about a week ago that I read a research article from Paul McClure with Baylor University in Texas. The title was Faith and Facebook in a Pluralistic Age: The Effects of Social Networking Sites on The Religious Beliefs of Emerging Adults. And then if you were listening to this program last Friday with Isaac and Dr. George Barna and myself, his recent research, we identified and applied the absolutely staggering findings that prove an historic departure of Americans from God into a religion of syncretism led by those who professed to be born again Christians. And this was during the past three years under the pandemic, yet this group, by double digits in the last three years, actually ran from God into the arms of idolatry. It was incredible. Listen to that program if you did not hear that.
So how and why this happened is a part of the question that ties into the findings of the 2016 research report I just cited from Paul McClure at Baylor. Then about a week ago, I learned of an individual, Dr. James Spencer, who’s the president of the D.L. Moody Center located in Massachusetts, and he initiated a program, a campaign a few weeks ago entitled Go Dark, Shine Bright. And it was directed at trying to produce some awareness of the problem I’m going to talk about identified in the survey that I had read about and augmented by George Barna’s research. And for disclosure purposes, I’ve only just met Dr. Spencer. We haven’t talked in depth, but he has initiated a response to the problem at hand, and I wanted him to join me today.
So before I welcome him in, let gram emphasis. Here’s the question. Willing, ask yourself this question. “Am I willing to disconnect with all social media and put down my cell phone or iPad and never pick it up again?” All right? “Am I willing to disconnect with all social media and put down my cell phone or iPad and never pick it up again?” That’s the question. Well, the title I’ve chosen for today’s program is this, Social Media Addiction in a Digital World: Consequences and Solutions. So with that, let me welcome in right now, Dr. James Spencer. James, thanks for being with me today.
James Spencer: Yeah, thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Sam Rohrer: On this matter of social networking involved internet, social networking sites, platform SNS, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other things, it’s relatively new, but it’s also a global phenomenon. That’s where I’m asking this question, we’ll follow it through the program. Now, I know you’ve not specifically asked this question what I’ve read, but you have identified this whole thing as a problem and for which you’ve initiated some go ahead and ask you the question, which goes to the heart of today’s prime solution, which I want to get into specifically in the last segment. But before I get into it, tell me a little bit about who James Spencer is in the D.L. Moody Center’s mission?
James Spencer: Sure. I came to the D.L. Moody Center in 2018 from higher education where I really specialized in online education. So the digital world wasn’t foreign to me. I did earn my PhD in Theological Studies with an emphasis in Old Testament from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. And so my background is much more in the theological studies realm, although I tend to be a pretty vigorous researcher and I read a lot and I keep up with current trends in other areas. And I would say that this specific trend that we’re talking about today on social media is very practical and present to me because I also have… I’m the father of three children, all adolescents, 17 year old boy and two 14 year old girls. And so these are real practical matters for me.
The D.L. Moody Center really exists to echo the message and ministry of D.L. Moody in today’s world. D.L. Moody was concerned with the proclamation of the gospel, but also concerned with challenging and encouraging God’s people to take up their responsibility as Christians, to do God’s work and to be useful to him. And so initially we started out as an organization that was really concerned with preserving the property where D.L. Moody was born and lived when he was in Northfield, Massachusetts. And so we still do that. We have several old historic buildings out there that we are preserving and taking care of. We do some tours and hold some events there.
And then we also have a digital archive project that helps us preserve some of his writings that wouldn’t be found in books and things like that. And increasingly, we’re trying to move toward helping, and in that encouragement and challenging aspect of really helping Christians to take up their responsibility, recognize what’s distracting them from serving the Lord and helping them to clear that distraction away and to really give their attention to God.
Sam Rohrer: And that’s perfect because it ties right into the campaign you’ve established, Go Dark, Shine Bright. Now, a little bit less than a minute, so you can’t go real long, but set it up, describe it briefly, what were you trying to do? What is it? And then we will explain it further as we go through the program.
James Spencer: Sure. What we were trying to do was figure out how is it that we can get God’s people to pray more and to read God’s word more? And what we realized was that prayer and God’s word are often in competition with some of the things that we’re doing on social media, endless scrolling, linking out everything, even some of the online shopping. And so what we decided to do was to challenge God’s people to set social media aside for five to 10 days and really focus in on prayer and God’s word. And then after doing that, after doing a go dark portion, we ask them to shine bright by going back onto social media with testimonies about how God’s met them during their fast. And so the Go Dark, Shine Bright program is as simple as that.
Sam Rohrer: All right. And that’s fantastic because that sets it up, ladies and gentlemen. You’ll get a flavor now of where the emphasis is today. It’s our involvement, I say addiction by most people to this digital world, this thing we carry in our hands called a smartphone or an iPad. This thing we feel we absolutely can’t do without, right? That’s what we’re going to talk about today because it does have consequences across the spectrum, spiritual life and physical life.
Sam Rohrer: Well, for just joining us today, my special guest, first time here on Stand In The Gap today is Dr. James Spencer. He currently serves as president of the D.L. Moody Center in Massachusetts. And the theme that we’re discussing, and we are by no means going to be comprehensive on this theme, but it’s a theme that I think all of us can identify with. The title I’ve chosen is this, Social Media Addiction in a Digital World: Consequences, we’ll talk about those now, and Solutions, we’ll talk about some of those in the last segment. But without dispute, the entire world would acknowledge that between the internet, the availability of handheld computers in the form of smartphones, computers, even smart watches and more, communications, once cumbersome and slow has become, well, frankly instantaneous.
The advent of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and all the others have made information immediately available on a global scale. And since knowledge is power, the control of this information has become a fine art, I’m going to say of evil propaganda. They are the ones that are in control of it right now. Worldview shaping and highly developed brainwashing techniques are now clearly visible. I think we all have seen how effective they are, but we don’t really realize just how deep they have gone. But to those in control of these mediums, these social networking platforms and all, lies can actually be presented as truth and very cleverly or truth questioned or undermined, as did the Devil with Eve in the Garden of Eden, or as we have witnessed these past years, truth and truth tellers can be literally shut down. Canceled is the word that was developed, right? Certainly ridiculed, shoved to the side as unworthy to be heard.
But not only is our perception of reality shaped by social media and the internet, so are our interpersonal communication skills and human relationships which are so important. And herein lies the consideration. Is this technology good for mankind generally, or is it creating harm? Now, if good, how is this measured? And as we say here, got to define the term. So if it’s good, how’s it measured as God would define good? If harmful, can this be measured also? Can I as a Christian do as well or better without it? And hence my question I posed in the last segment, “Am I willing to disconnect with all social media and put down my cell phone or iPad and never pick it up again?” And you say, “well, I don’t think that’s the choice.” Well, just consider that question. I’ll explain that a little bit more but are you willing? Am I willing?
Okay, James, since you felt a need to initiate a campaign, which you just set up on the other side briefly, Go Dark, Shine Bright, where people at least fast for a season from social media and internet involvement, which I want to go into more detail in the last segment, I’d like to know from you what you believe to be the greatest problem or concern perhaps created by the… I’m going to use this word, the near symbiotic connection of humanity with the smartphone and the immediate access to information of all types because this is a real different challenge, isn’t it? So talk to me about that if you could.
James Spencer: It is very much. I think if I had to pin it down to one main root cause, I’d say the problem is related to attention. And by that I don’t mean our diminishing attention span, which is also probably a concern. But what I mean is the way we actually attend to the world, what we identify as relevant and important because what we attend to is going to condition the way that we relate to the world, and to a degree, it limits what we end up having a relationship with. So as we’re interacting, as I usually say, the world is becoming increasingly proficient at telling stories that deny and diminish God. And so if we continually interact with those stories and we continually give them our attention and we seem to think that they are relevant and important, I think it’s obvious that we’re going to be led down a path where we begin to see the world and relate to the world as if God is not active and present.
That’s a real problem for Christians. It’s a real problem for everyone. And we see this in a lot of the search statistics. When people are interacting on the internet, many of the things that come up on the top 20 Google trends for let’s say 2022 are not religiously themed ideas. They’re not Jesus or the Bible or anything like that. They’re more like Twitter and porn and money. And so what we’re seeing is that the internet, as much potential as we may think it has is social media, as much potential as we may think it has, they really are driving adverse effects and adverse content into our brains.
Now, I also tend to think that when we think about this in terms of attention, the more we attend to social media and the message that we’re hearing there, it stands to reason that we’re going to attend to other things less and less. And so given the amount of misinformation and disinformation on social media, the fake photo shoots that are used on Instagram, the filters that are used to create idealized, fictional realities of what folks look like and some of the sensational topics that have more sizzle than substance, it just feels like social media is drawing us into a world of unreality as opposed to a world of true reality. And as we continue to give that our attention, I think that is going to increasingly provide those informational problems and thought problems that we have.
The only other thing I would say is that that attention, because it comes through screen mediated devices, these are not interpersonal in a physical face-to-face sense, those screens are doing things to us that we don’t always realize that they’re doing. There are a lot of studies that show depending on when you use the screen, how you use the screen, how you have your notifications set, that these things are doing things physiologically in your brain, that they are activating hormones in your brain in much the same way that drugs would, that we would avoid so as to not become addicted. Things like cocaine or heroin, where they have a chemical effect on your brain, and we know what that chemical effect is. These things like notifications, some of the other features of social media have those similar effects.
Sam Rohrer: And James, to add to what you’re saying, I think that’s excellent, quick overview, you highlighted, I’m going to pick out there time, that which gains our attention. Wherever we spend most of our time, ladies and gentlemen, is going to have the greater influence so that that’s one. You said it, but it’s also the content, that which draws us into that which is not reality as an example, or pornography is a major, major issue because of the internet and the access in your hands. So you have all of that.
Another one, James, I’ve noticed, you comment on this, is that if the content and the worldview shaping that happens on our phone and via the internet, if it was to be forced upon people, people would say, “I’m not going to do that.” But the thing I think it’s most interesting is that when we use the phone and the way these programs are set up, we are actually giving ascent and consent to every step along the way. So we are actually sitting there almost like saying, “Shape me. Go ahead. I’m willing to be influenced.” Comments on that because that’s a big part as well, isn’t it?
James Spencer: It really is, and I think it goes to a point that I try to drive home on in every conversation I have about this, is that we are still in control of the technology. I don’t have to pick up my phone, I don’t have to click an app to get on social media. I don’t have to do any of these things. I can survive without them. It’s just a matter of not doing something that I’ve gotten accustomed to doing. And so we have a lot of responsibility here, and I think that’s particularly true now. I think at the beginning of this whole thing where we had the internet, we had social media, there may have been some voices who were calling for concern, but nobody really deeply understood what these platforms could actually do to us. Now we do.
The APA just put out a mental health advisory for adolescents and social media use earlier this May, and they’re pointing to these adverse effects that social media has on the adolescent brain and they’re trying to mediate it, I think through more of a policing mechanism. But what I would say is parents, if you have adolescents, just get them off social media. Why put them in harm’s way? And I think those are the aspects of it where now that we know, we have a responsibility to relate differently to these platforms than we did before. We know they’re not helping us, so why are we on them?
Sam Rohrer: And that is a question I want to ask you. We’ve got about a minute left before the end. If not an addiction, and I’m going to say it pretty much is definitionally, but if not, why do people find it so hard to give it up? Are we using this iPhone and this mechanism to run from reality or why is attraction so deep?
James Spencer: I think there’s a concept that I’ve run across in the medical literature called reciprocal reinforcing loops. And basically, the idea is just this. We start to focus our attention on one thing, and as we continually focus and narrow our attention in on that one thing, our lives start to narrow in on just that one thing as well. And so our whole lives become about staying informed, being engaged, getting that next like, having that next positive comment or making that next comment to defend our position. None of which in the big scheme of things probably matters that much, but we just get so entrenched in it that we can’t stop.
And so I think it’s a learned behavior that results in something that is addiction like and has the same or very similar chemical responses as other addictive chemical dependencies that we might try to avoid in the first place.
Sam Rohrer: All right, so ladies-
James Spencer: So I do think it’s addiction.
Sam Rohrer: Okay. So ladies and gentlemen, have you thought about it like that? Can you put down your phone and not pick it up again? Could you imagine life going on without it? Okay, it’s addiction or addiction like for most people.
Sam Rohrer: Well, if you’re just joining us right now, we’re in the midst of a… I’m going to say one of the most practical focuses that we’ve dealt with because it’s an issue that impacts us all. It’s our involvement with social media or connection to our iPhone or our iPad or the relationship with other people that we develop when we punch it out with our finger rather than talking to them, looking at their eyes as an example, whatever that may, the idea, because we’re all using this. And my guest today is Dr. James Spencer. He is president of the D.L. Moody Center in Massachusetts, and they have a website. If you want to go there, moodycenter.org, moodycenter.org.
But continuing into this, well, it’s a phenomenon, this magnetic attraction, it seems to us and our iPhone, this desire for immediate information, never to be left out, to some extent an escape from reality for many, a drug-like effect, as Dr. Spencer said in the last segment, but it goes beyond now. Let’s talk about some further consequences. Taking it back because Scripture deals with all of these things. I was trying to think about what is the real heart of this issue? Well, throughout Scripture we’re confronted with God as truth. The Bible is God’s written and absolute truth. He establishes it as such, that is truth. We’re confronted with the reality of Satan, the great liar, the father of lies, the great deceiver whom Scripture describes as a roaring lion on one hand, roaring about seeking the souls of men to devour and take to hell. That’s a reality.
On the other hand, the devil and his demons also masquerade as angels of light, actually presenting evil as good and darkness as light. They mock and they slander truth and the God of truth and truth itself, and they do it so convincingly. That’s what deception’s all about. But the world itself, the Bible tells us and the flesh, the world, the flesh and the devil compete for the hearts, well, of all men, but what’s really the competition for? It’s for the worship of all men because God created in mankind innate desire to worship. The question is what will be the focus and the object of man’s worship?
Well, this competition has only been heightened with the advancement of internet speed of light communications, and it brings the heart of the issue to bear for all who fear God in our time. This is the question, who do we worship? Is it God or is it an idol to which we hold, which we cannot seem to cast aside? Now, in two examples I thought of, Jesus presented to his disciples and the people of the day, applicable to us I think to stay in this consideration. Matthew chapter 18, one place Jesus used the example of the attraction of the world in holding a priority over the necessity to be converted and born again. He said, “You must be born again,” and then you can back and you can read that, but the comparison was there.
If your hand or your foot holds you back from putting your faith in your worship in Jesus Christ, better to cut them off and enter into eternal life physically maned than to go into eternal death, though you may be whole physically. The example of Jesus and the rich man was another of the same nature. He said, “Are you willing to give away all of your earthly goods for the sake of eternal life? Or is your dependency and love for your earthly wealth worth more to you than eternal life?” And he went away sorrowful, didn’t he? Now, in both cases, did Jesus actually tell people, “Go cut off your hands or your feet?” He didn’t even tell the rich man, “Go give everything away.” It was a test to see what they were willing to do and if they were willing to give up what they thought was important for the moment to gain something eternal.
So with that in mind and that thought in mind, James, let’s go back in here. The 2016 Paul McClure research report that I referenced earlier on, he said something which caught my attention. He said this, “Using panel data from the National Study of Youth and Religion,” he said, “I find that emerging adults who use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and all that are more likely to think it’s acceptable to pick and choose their religious beliefs and to practice multiple religions independent of what their religious tradition teaches.” Went on to say, “These findings suggest that exposure to broader network through social media leaves us to increased acceptance of syncretism like beliefs and practices.”
Now, at the end of the day, when I have read that his report was 2016, it shocked me, James, because he was describing what George Barn has been recently testing about this great move of our young people in particular away from God. Although they think they are coming closer to God, they are moving away from God. It’s a big, big deal. Here’s my question. When such sources of influences are shown to produce so profound anti-God ideological and spiritual impacts, such as social media’s doing, and about these tests and what you’ve said, what argument can we legitimately make for the use of social networking sites? What do you say?
James Spencer: Well, I have a lot of trouble believing that there’s a case for the general social media use or the broad social media use that we see today. And what I mean by general use is that unintentional use that we just go out and hop on social media and scroll through for hours on end. I think that sort of use is indefensible really. So I don’t see there’s any reason to think that that sort of general use of social media is beneficial to us at all. I wouldn’t rule out the potential for more narrow targeted use cases for social media with more constrained circles of friends.
So for instance, I have a Snapchat group with a few friends that I work out with, and we live in different towns and we use it just to share pictures and videos with one another, motivate each other and hold each other accountable, but I have all my own notifications turned off. I only use it for that, and I really pull it up maybe once or twice a week. And so I think that there is something to a more constrained use case for some of these tools. That said, I also have difficulty believing that adolescent teens will stay within a narrow use case.
And so I just think that again, for adolescents, it’s probably better just to have them off of these platforms rather than on them and trying to cultivate a trust in them, not because maybe your teams are untrustworthy, but simply because these platforms are difficult to control. And I think it takes a lot of study and a lot of wisdom, a lot of self-control for us to really understand how to use them so that we are in charge and the platform isn’t moving us where I’d like us to go.
Sam Rohrer: That’s a great point, and we’ll talk a bit more of that in the solutions in the next segment, ladies and gentlemen. But to me, James, it’s almost like saying, well, you know what? The road in front of my house doesn’t have cars on it a lot. It’s actually a nice flat spot. It’s a good place for a child to sit and play perhaps, but if he plays the middle of that street, he’s going to get hit one of these times. So you don’t go play in the middle of the street. Having an unfettered control to something in your hand that puts you in contact with everything, the world and the flesh and the devil right now is controlling, it’s like telling your child, “Go play in the middle of the street,” to me because they’re going to get hit, and that’s what you’re talking about.
But let’s shift here. Go back and build out a little bit more. We’re talking right now about those things which mold and shape our worldview, our beliefs, our attitudes, those things, the way we interrelate with people and the why’s and the wherefores, but go back to what we talked about in the last segment. There are physiological impacts as well. So someone says, “Well, and I can sort out the content,” which I think is very difficult, but there are other impacts as well, the physiological, which even the unsaved of the world are saying, “Boy, oh boy, the impacts are showing up.” Build out some of those, please?
James Spencer: Yeah. So social media use, and the one I’m most familiar with is actually the research on cell phone usage or screen usage at night. So consistent usage of screens at night plays a trick on your brain. It makes your brain think that it’s still daylight out and that has physiological effects on the rest that you’re getting, the way that your brain… Your brain is not a muscle, but if you think about your muscles, anytime you work your muscle, you’re going to get maybe sore and you have to let that muscle rest for it to recover. Your brain has very similar problem. It works a lot during the day and it needs some time to rest and reset overnight. As your brain is on these chemicals because you’re on your phone and it’s not seeing it as nighttime, you’re not getting rest, you’re not getting sleep, and you are fooling your brain into keeping some of the chemicals that normally it would keep out during the nighttime in, we’re basically having a detrimental effect on our own mental health that we may not even know that we’re having.
And so it goes beyond just the… I get these little red dots with a number in them that come up on my phone and they’re notifications, and I feel like I have to answer those notifications now. And that’s part of the way that the social media develops an addictive cycle with us, is that there’s always something new to look at, something new, something new. It plays on that need for novelty, but it’s also just a basic physiological problem that we don’t understand what these screens are doing to us at different points of time.
Sam Rohrer: And James, that’s great. Ladies and gentlemen, the point is, again, as I said at the beginning, this program is not comprehensive. We can’t deal with everything in the short moment, but we are highlighting those things which are known and being viewed by, well, believers and unbelievers, can’t run away from them, but as believers, we need to take note because it is having a negative impact on those all around. Quick and back. We’ll talk about a few solutions.
Sam Rohrer: As we move into some solutions in the last segment here, building off of what my guest James Spencer said in the last segment, the physiological impacts. Here’s one that I saw, and you can find this, you can actually Google it and find it. It was done on secular TV not too long ago. A group of women and one doctor was talking with… they were talking with each other about the impacts of what we’re talking about now, the fixation to, the attachment to, the tethered nature, almost the umbilical cord nature of the cell phone in the hands of our adolescents. This is one that stuck with me, particularly impactful negatively on our young girls. This has stuck with me.
Now. I have five sons, they’re all grown and one daughter, but I’m concerned about our young ladies, our young men, obviously as well. But young ladies, ladies and gentlemen, need they say nine hours of sleep a night, nine hours. Chances are they’re not getting that at all, nine hours, but they’re also the ones that seem to be more attached to that thing in their hand. And when they’re looking at it before they go to bed, it’s not only messing up their nocturnal clock, as James said, messing up their whole sleep and everything, but getting less sleep. It is dramatically impacting in physiological ways, yet being determined, having a greater toll on our young ladies even than our young men.
So I just put it out there. These things are significant. All right, this is how we’ll wrap this up here. But all through scripture we’re taught that the revelation of truth, when truth is heard, it demands a response. When we hear a sermon from the pulpit and the word of God is preached, it demands a response because God has given every person a free will and because we’ll all give account to Jesus Christ one day, we all must choose not only what we do with Jesus Christ through faith in him alone, or we will deny him.
Like when Christ was on the cross, on his one side, it was a thief, and he said, “No.” The other thief said, “Yes,” and accepted him. We all will make a choice. Jesus himself says that the great majority of all mankind, though are on the broad way, which leads to death and hell, the great majority of the world is on their way to hell. Why? Because they have rejected the truth of God in God’s word. The narrow way leads to heaven. But Jesus says, “There are few on that road.” So it means there’s only a few who will respond to the truth when they hear it. Most don’t even want to know the truth.
So it’s why many people in reality consciously choose not to know the truth, because they feel like if they somehow don’t know the truth, then they’re not responsible to respond to it, but obviously that’s a lie of the devil, and that’s not true. We are responsible. So in this case, when we have now the information that’s coming forth, both as we observe, but in the substantiated research, all right, we’ve got to do something about it.
All right. Now, James, talk to me a little bit more about the Go Dark, Shine Bright campaign that you initiated, its goal again, go build that out, and how has it worked so far for those who have participated and done just that simple thing that you’re talking about?
James Spencer: Sure. So we started the Go Dark, Shine Bright campaign three years ago, and so far we’ve had 75,000 plus people join us in taking time, doing a social media fast for either five or 10 days, and then going back online on their social media accounts and testifying to how God met them during that time when they were off social media. And so we’ve seen it impact people’s lives pretty positively. We usually get back comments that folks feel closer to God, they feel less stressed, they feel less frustration, and ultimately that’s really where we want them to be.
The reason that we formatted the program the way we have by creating the fast and then having people go back out and testify is that what we believe is something akin to Malachi 3:10 where the Israelites have been storing food and keeping it from God and not doing appropriate sacrifices. And God says to them, “You’re robbing from me, but test me by bringing the full tithe into the storehouse and see how I’ll bless you.” And so what we think is that as people are robbing God of their attention, they’re stealing their attention away from God, we think that when they give that attention back to him, God is going to meet them as they do it.
And so it’s really important that people take the time off of social media to actually just step away from it and test God through this simple act of obedience so that he can show up and that they can get a glimpse of what it’s going to be like to be off social media and engaged with God and others. And so the spirit of the program is that. It’s about let’s not solve the social media problem just through little disciplines of guarding our time and making new habits in our lives. Let’s actually solve it by reconnecting with the creator God who is willing and able to do far more than we’re able to ask or think. So that’s the Go Dark, Shine Bright campaign in a nutshell.
Sam Rohrer: Excellent. And that can all be found at your website at moodycenter.org?
James Spencer: Yes. We’ve actually made it really easy for people, so they can go to godarkshinebright.org, and the guide is actually up. The campaign usually runs sometime in May where we do a coordinated social media blackout campaign, but the guide is up all year round and folks tend to download it and go through the devotionals for a five or 10-day period and just enjoy some peace away from social media.
Sam Rohrer: Yeah, that’s excellent, James. And ladies and gentlemen, let’s close this up. Again, let me go back to the question I ask at the beginning. Have you asked yourself, all right, “Am I willing to disconnect with all social media and put down my cell phone or iPad and never pick it up again?” Are you willing to do that? Now, does the Lord ask us to take and throw our phone out the window? Well, he may. But what James has recommended, a fast for five days or 10 days. That is a great way to actually find out, can I do without it? Can I control it? Well, I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. You may need to throw it out the window, but can I actually live without it for five days or 10 days? That’s a good test. But it starts with, “Am I willing to disconnect it?”
Because ultimately, at the end of the day, if we can’t imagine ourself living without that cell phone and that continual contact, I’m going to submit that that is the definition of idolatry because I need it more than my dependence upon God. I think of this, and I’m speaking to myself here because we’re all involved in this. We really are. But Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Well, I do know this, that whatever is the majority of whatever that flows into my eyes, into my ears, will consummate, will fill my mind and my heart.
And if I’m thinking on those things which are not driven from the word of God, then they are driven into the area where I am conformed to the world, and that’s what the social media dependence does. It conforms us to the world. And we know from the research that it is conforming a lot of people to believe that worship can be placed in something other than God, and they feel good about it. This is the danger. This is why we need to ask ourselves the question.
So thanks for being with us today. Hopefully we can all think on this thing and talk it over with our family, our children, certainly husband, wife, and just think about this ourselves. So thanks Dr. James Spencer from D.L. Moody Center, moodycenter.org. Thank you for being with me today. Great content here, very important. I’d like to have you back, if you don’t mind. We’ll pick up on some other things. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being with us today. Go to our website, standinthegapradio.com. Listen to this again and share it with a friend because I think they would benefit as well.