Grateful for this one by Nicholas Davis.

I made the decision to purchase an iPhone years ago because I already owned a MacBook and an iPad (why not have the whole system, right?). Steve Jobs invention has taught me much about life and death.

As a whole, I’ve been pleased with how little effort it takes on my part to accomplish virtually anything I want (short of making me my morning cup of coffee…there’s no app for that). From searching to syncing, to going “paperless” by scanning print documents, handling finances from my phone, reading the Greek New Testament with a tap on the screen, scheduling my week/month/year, reminding myself about what I need to be reminded about (and hoping I’m still reminded), listening to podcasts, surfing the newspapers (did you know that I can read your local newspaper from my phone in San Diego?), reading entire books (I’ve read theology books, Les Miserables, and a fan-fiction Harry Potter book on this tiny screen—but it’s retina so it’s okay!), taking pictures and/or video of my wife and kids, updating and checking social media…and the list goes on and on and on. Oh, and did I mention that I can make a PHONE CALL, too?!

Like I said, I’m very pleased with the performance and limitless capability of this sleek, portable device. However, I did just notice something this morning: I have gone days, and sometimes weeks, and now even a few months without opening up certain apps. This may or may not be a big deal to you if you are an iPhone owner, but it’s a BIG DEAL to me.

Let me tell you why.

When I made this purchase, I was debating between Samsung and Apple. The helpful salesperson was trying to sell me on the iPhone based on the point that it has all of the wonderful apps—and mentioned this is a major reason why people go with Apple over Samsung right now. My response to her was, “That’s great, but I’m not buying this for all of the pointless apps, I’m buying it only to use for my specific purposes, which have a limited market right now, because most people don’t use their phone as a tool for advancing learning.” The salesperson (and her manager for that matter), didn’t really know how to respond. They simply nodded and changed the subject.

All of that to say, my initial aim in buying the iPhone was to use it primarily for learning. The question rises, “Have I succeeded in this goal 2-3 months later after purchase?” On the one hand, I glance at my home screen and think, “HECK YES I DID!” And then it hit me…while my phone is essentially a powerhouse for learning and accomplishing nearly everything I require as a studious person, I as the user of this device am incapable of using it in a truly productive way. Why is this? Because the home screen, just in how it is set up, allows for total disorientation in my brain every time I look down at my phone.

What do I mean by that? When I glance at this screen, I am immediately confronted with OPTIONS. And with these options, though they appear in helpful icon format and have text written underneath to tell me what each one of them is/does, I have already forgotten which one I wanted to use at that exact moment. Say, for example, I want to pick up that book I was reading last night. I go to my home screen and begin to search for “iBooks” but then, my eyes notice the podcast icon and I remember that I forgot to listen to that one Robb Wolf Paleo episode that I wanted to hear…and by the time I remember what I first set out to do, several hours have passed and I still didn’t do what I needed to do. This is but one example of the chaos that ensues on a daily—nay, hourly—basis.

The problem isn’t the iPhone, it’s me. While the iPhone simply and helpfully provides options that can generally be used to my benefit to help me as a human being, when I try to use it in this way it only harms me. It slaps me in the face with non-productivity. It tells me, “YOU HAVEN’T OPENED UP THIS ONE IN A WHILE.” It shouts at me, “ALL OF THIS YOU MUST DO!” And I can’t do it. I simply can’t bear the weight of all that it demands.

In this way, the iPhone is a perfect demonstration of the Law of God: “Do this, and you will live” (Lev. 18:5). Or what we hear from our mortgages, student loans, and even our phone bills: “Pay what you owe!”

But the reality of the human predicament—being fallen in Adam and guilty myself—trying harder to live according to this command only brings me death. I cannot do it. With all of the willpower I have, when the screen illumines I am still bound to click on something other than I first intended. I am a sinner, and I sin.

While there still is no mediator from Apple (and never will be, I might add!), God has provided the only mediator between us and God—and it is because of this perfect mediator, Jesus Christ that this very bad news from the iPhone and the Law of God suddenly becomes sweet news: “I have done this for you, so you may now live!”