SCROLL is it time to power down to power up?

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I was stressed. Scroll. I needed something to numb the pain in my life. Scroll. I was bored. Scroll. I wanted to escape my reality. Scroll. I was thoroughly addicted. Scroll. The problem with scrolling on social media, is that there is never an end point to the scroll. It just keeps rolling. Like an endless conveyor belt of friend’s photos, advertising, videos and ideologies pouring into our minds; it just keeps coming—if we let it.

Many of us are so connected to our ”smart” phone that we can’t go anywhere without it; even the toilet!

Satan uses many tactics to draw us away from God; our source of life! He wants to disconnect us from God and destroy us. His enticements look so good on the outside; so fun, so alluring, so entertaining, but at the end there is always a sting, a bite, and finally death and separation from God. The Bible says, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19).

Is it possible that Satan is using these glowing screens to keep us under his ”sway”, so that we miss out on eternity?

Many of us now, me included, are “shooting up” with the drug of media! We scroll to escape, to numb our minds, to disassociate from painful reality. We binge-watch movies to try and fill the void in our lives, but it only leaves us more unfulfilled than before.

It wastes our time, leaves us feeling lethargic and in a ”fog”, and makes us more irritable with the people around us, because we are constantly trying to get back to another media ”hit”. Constant social media use is causing an epidemic of distraction; we can’t focus on anything anymore because our minds are so full of ”stuff”.

If the devil can attack our minds, and infiltrate us through this way, he can weaken us and destroy us in all areas of our lives. Our mind controls our will and our choices. The things we allow into our mind will eventually shape us into the person that we become. 

I want you to seriously consider this: just how much power and control are we allowing these smartphones and devices to have over us? How much demonic content are we allowing to subtly seep into our lives because of our need to scroll? Yes, I’m scrolling quickly past those unsavoury, inappropriate posts. Sometimes I might watch a video on a gnarly topic just so I know what I shouldn’t be doing, and oh, and I can pass over a little swear-word here and there in that YouTube video, because I really want to see what happens next. It’s a slippery slope.

Many of us as Adventist Christians are viewing content on our devices that is not Christian, or true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). It’s entertaining; it’s alluring.

Even ”Christian” content must be weighed carefully: Is it biblically based, and does it uplift Jesus Christ and His Word? Or is it all about delving into the ”terrible” realms of darkness and leading us astray in another way?

The Holy Spirit began convicting me about my media usage. I was using the ”scroll hole”, as a friend put it, as an escape. I was wasting valuable time, and it was affecting my relationships with my children and my spouse. I was preferring the escape of my phone, to dealing with messy reality with the people I loved. And it was scary how much mental rent it was actually taking up in my head!

So I did it, I bought a ”nanna-phone” (no offence to any nannas). One of those old style phones with a poor-quality camera, and big buttons that you have to push multiple times to punch out the letters of the alphabet to send a text! And I used it for a couple of months as a detox from my smartphone. I could only make phone calls and send text messages on it. The results were amazing; refreshing! For the first few days, I kept going back to my phone constantly to “check it”, but because there was nothing to check, I soon realised that I didn’t need to check it constantly. 

I ended up calling more people and having meaningful conversations with them. Texting was too much work! 

My creativity came back, I was less irritable, my mind felt clear and I had room for deep spiritual thought; I could connect with God better. I went back to my smartphone after the detox, and slowly drifted back into my old patterns. 

Again I felt the strong conviction of the Holy Spirit, telling me that I was allowing my phone to become an idol, and so I asked my brother to set a password on my phone, so that I can’t access Safari on it, and I have also deleted my social media apps off my phone. I can still access the things I need, and I use my computer in the evenings to access the internet. Now I can happily leave my phone somewhere for hours without feeling that magnetic pull to constantly check it. I have downloaded the Audioverse app as well, so that I can listen to meaningful sermons and podcasts on topics of interest, to help fill the spaces in a healthy way, when I have a social media craving.

Here are some things to consider:

Do we interact more with our ”friends” online than with our spouse who is lying in the bed next to us, or our child sitting on the couch next to us?

Do we ”love” our friend’s photo on Facebook or Instagram instead of taking the time to call them and have a meaningful conversation with them? (Calling would take too much time out of my busy schedule of scrolling and watching YouTube videos).

Do we use the iPad or our smartphone as a virtual ”pacifier” for our children, not realising the detrimental, longterm effects that this can have on their attachment and development? Not to mention the addictiveness of it, and the struggles they will have to face in their own lives, because of it.

Most of us won’t or don’t know how to appropriately manage the use of our smartphones and devices. Maybe part of it is that deep down we don’t want to let it go, or limit it, or realise the addictiveness of it, because we love it.

If you are really struggling with media addiction, reach out. Accountability is very important—if you don’t have the self-control to switch off your phone or device, then ask someone for help.

Consider very seriously: how much time am I actually spending on my phone/device? Is my media usage affecting my relationship with God?

If that is ringing an alarm-bell for you dear brother and sister, can I plead with you to do something now. Don’t just think about it and keep scrolling by—make a change, do something! Don’t waste your whole life staring at a screen, while the world is passing by. 

When we stand before God’s throne, do we want to regretfully realise that we wasted so much valuable time on the things of the world? The only true and fulfilling help that there is, is in the Living God, our God, the One who is just waiting there for us to connect with Him. Please Lord, “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way” (Psalm 119:37).

The use of media is not all ”doom and gloom”. There are many people who are using media to create uplifting and compelling content that is drawing people closer to Jesus. Praise the Lord! 

May more of us become Christ-centred content creators; little lights in the darkness. God used many Bible verse posts on Facebook to convict me, as I was scrolling by.

When trouble comes, when bad things happen, when I’m disappointed, when I am sad, when I am angry, where will I turn for help? Is it time to disconnect from our devices and reconnect to our Creator God? 

Scroll. Power off. Knees on the floor. Bible open. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Carly Kochanski is a full time mum and singer/songwriter and lives in Murwillumbah NSW.

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