God, please quiet distraction as I sit with you today. Amen.
28 Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor,
And ate sacrifices offered to the dead;
29 they provoked the LORD to anger with their deeds,
And a plague broke out among them.
30 Then Phinehas stood up and intervened,
And the plague was stayed.
31 And that was counted to him as righteousness
From generation to generation forever.
The Psalm you just read quotes a scene from Numbers 25 when the anger of the Lord fell on all Israel for their sin, expressed in sexual immorality and child sacrifice, as they “yoked themselves to Baal.” As I look at our world, I see our society, you and I, suffering under a heavy yoke. We have, in many ways unintentionally, yoked ourselves to a false god that constantly leaves us empty…the god of self. Worship to this god takes many forms, from buying more and more stuff, to consuming relationships for temporary feelings, to distorted sexual activities…we have all bent our knee in the worship of Me.
I say unintentional, because much of it has grown sharply in recent years through a new yoke…our phones. If you’ve been to a work conference, waited at an airport, or been to the mall you’ve seen the all too common picture of people crowding around a charging station to plug in their devices and remain connected to the lifeblood of self worship. Our devices are yokes of distraction. On them we are constantly receiving messages that sell us on a false image of the good life. On them we are tempted to engage in hateful debate that helps no one but promises to build our pride. On them we consume perverted content that is meant to entertain us, or even satisfy us sexually without the commitment of marriage. We have removed sex from self-sacrifice and told ourselves, “It’s not hurting anyone else.” We are constantly checking notifications, constantly scrolling feeds…we are addicted. We are yoked to this new worship.
To this tethered generation Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30
Simplicity: Make your smartphone less smart
- Take a moment to prayerfully confess sin to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas you unknowingly have yoked yourself to worship of a false god.
- Next, ask the Lord to guide you in an exercise of simplicity.
- Make your smartphone less of a distraction in your life
- Prayerfully consider what is essential and nonessential on your devices
- Turn off notifications, remove social media, install content blockers (such as accountable2you.com).
- Consider how you can use the time once lost to social media or entertainment instead engaging in the presence of God.
- Tell a brother or sister in Christ the steps you have taken, asking for support on the journey.
Jesus, thank you for your grace which allows there to be no condemnation for those who are in you (Rom. 8:1). I ask that, as I yoke myself to you, I would find rest rather than the emptiness I feel when yoked to the worship of myself. Thank you for your grace, and for the strength you provide by your Holy Spirit (Eph. 3:14-21). Amen
Written by: Gavin