How Should the Believer Relate to Smart Phones and Social Media? (Part 2)

Part 2 of 3:  The Mind and Heart Influenced Delayed Gratification James 5:7-8 “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.” James commends an unnatural habit to us: waiting for what we want. This is an example of what psychologists call delayed gratification. Delayed gratification is the ability to resist an impulse for immediate reward to receive a more favorable reward later. This is very difficult for most of us. This is the reason why my kids have a hard time waiting until Christmas morning to open their presents (ok, I have a hard time waiting too). Given a choice, we would rather have a reward now rather than later. Psychologists call this delay discounting. The farther away a reward is, the less value it has to us. Hence, the saying, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” It is better to take what you can get now than to risk trying for more in the uncertain future. Psychologists almost universally agree that delayed gratification is a key characteristic of successful people. As the English proverb says, “good things come to those who wait.” Psychologists also believe that while there are some innate differences in our tendencies toward delayed gratification, our ability to practice delayed gratification can be heavily shaped by our environment. It is a skill that can and should be learned. What is concerning...

How Should the Believer Relate to Smart Phones and Social Media? (Part 1)

The influence of social media and smart phones in our lives is top of mind for all of us.  Scott Bangert walks us through this relevant and concerning topic in 3 successive articles, commencing with today’s introduction. You’ll want to read and reflect on this helpful and thorough approach and then tune into articles 2 and 3 coming up in the following weeks.  Scott provides some in-depth thinking on the subject and covers areas such as addiction, concentration, sleep, predators, etc. for your consideration. Part 1 of 3:  The Mind and Heart Ensnared Solomon says, “There is nothing new under the sun.” While I believe he is correct, I have to admit to some wavering doubts when I think about how much life has changed since the first iPhone was released in 2007. I have friends who frequently talk about throwing their phone in a lake, and while I can understand their perspective, I can’t say that I can personally relate. I love my phone. I would part from it only for an upgrade. I definitely did not associate phones with anxiety and fear. That completely changed when my children started asking for phones of their own. When I was a kid, one of the biggest dangers I was warned about was guns, and my parents made me take a gun safety class before being allowed to handle one. Today, our kids face a different danger: we have to decide when to give our kids smart phones or allow them on social media. This certainly seems like a much less consequential decision, but despite their innocent appearance, I think...