12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You by Tony Reinke

Human connection is at an all-time high. We connect instantly with friends, family, businesses and strangers, no matter their location. Most people are always within digital reach, and our phones are becoming smarter and scarier. The average cell phone user unlocks their cell phone 110 times per day or 4-5 times per hour[1]. Not only are we using technology more, but it develops faster than we can even process. The level of technology we carry in our pockets or throw in the bottom of our purse is astounding. Our lives are charging forward at break-neck speed, but is it good for your spiritual health? 

Tony Reinke sets out to untangle his love of technology and his relationship with God. His focus is keeping our world-view Christ-centered while still interacting with the world today, technology and all. For me, this book is a little different than most Christian books on technology. Reinke understands the necessity of technology in today’s world and advocates for its use in a responsible and God-honoring way.   The book is broken down into 12 ways in which smartphones are changing us and undermining our spiritual health and 12 life disciplines we need to preserve our spiritual health. Reinke doesn’t just point out the problems but provides solutions.

12 Problems:

– Our phones amplify our addiction to distractions (1) and thereby splinter our perception of our place in time (12).

– Our phones push us to evade the limits of embodiment (2) and thereby cause us to treat one another harshly (11).

– Our phones feed our craving for immediate approval (3) and promise to hedge against our fears of missing out (10).

– Our phones undermine key literary skills (4) and, because of our lack of discipline, make it increasingly difficult for us to identify ultimate meaning (9).

– Our phones offer us a buffet of produced media (5) and tempt us to indulge in visual vices (8).

– Our phones overtake and distort our identity (6) and tempt us toward unhealthy isolation and loneliness (7).

12 Solutions:

– We minimize unnecessary distractions in life to hear from God (1) and to find our place in God’s unfolding history (12).

– We embrace our flesh-and-blood embodiment (2) and handle one another with grace and gentleness (11).

– We aim at God’s ultimate approval (3) and find that, in Christ, we have no ultimate regrets to fear (10).

– We treasure the gift of literacy (4) and prioritize God’s Word (9).

– We listen to God’s voice in creation (5) and find a fountain of delight in the unseen Christ (8).

– We treasure Christ to be molded into his image (6) and seek to serve the legitimate needs of our neighbors (7).

As the mother of a small child, I am easily distracted by my phone after a long day at work, or even while at work. The list of things I do on my phone every day would be embarrassing if I took the time to list it all out. Mark 4:19 reminds us, “but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” How much time am I spending on my phone compared to time spent worshiping, studying, discipleship, loving my family, mothering, or working as for the Lord?[2]  Tony Reinke’s book was a gut check for me to remember to look to Jesus as I run the race set before me.[3]


[2] Colossians 3:23-24

[3] Hebrews 12:1-2

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