It's easy to allow myself to buy into the lie that what I own is who I am.
The Apple store is one of the greatest places on earth.
I could spend an entire day within those walls, touching each iPod, Macbook and iMac in the store while I chatted with their fantastic employees or got technical answers from "geniuses" at the Genius Bar. I would spend hours trying out all the accessories, and making sure that I had read the back of every game and application made for my Mac.
It's true — I am a firm Apple supporter, and I have no shame in admitting this. I take a lot of time admiring Macs, researching Macs, using my own Mac, and wishing I could buy the new Macbook. Every time that I magnify my dock, or open iCal, or sync my iPod, record a song on GarageBand, or talk with friends on iChat I just can't stop loving Apple. I guess you might say I was addicted to them. But thankfully, I'm now in recovery.
So, hello there. My name is Tim and I'm a Mac user. Here's my story.
I Have a Problem
I have been convinced that only "cool" people use Apple products. It is almost a hard and fast rule that if you own a Mac, you are automatically on the "phenomenal human being" list. When you look at the lineup of Mac owners, there are some truly amazing individuals making their way onto that sheet of paper. They're fashionable, impressive, stunning, incredible, even awesome. Whenever I pull out my Mac in front of my friends I get that feeling that I am so much cooler (in a nerdy sort of way) than the guy across the room whose pulling out his dinky PC laptop.
It's the feeling of a Mac rush.
Or maybe that's my conscience screaming, yelling and waving a giant red flag in my heart. It's trying to tell me something. Sadly, I've been quite oblivious to my conscience for awhile. I put in the earplugs and put my hand over my eyes to avoid the ruckus going on in my heart.
Back to the Apple Store
I know there are people who love the Apple store just like me. I always wonder if they are addicted like I am? Do their lives revolve around their Macbook? Is their iPod implanted in their ears? Do they check their iPhone endlessly? Do they get a rush when they open iCal, or make a movie on iMovie, or upload pictures to Facebook via iPhoto? Do they ever wonder what is at the root of this addiction to technology?
I certainly wonder, especially as I hear the ding of Mail telling me that I just received my boarding pass for my plane flight coming up in a few weeks. And as I redeem my iTunes gift card, use TextEdit to write this article, and use Safari to surf the Web. Everything screams out to me that something is wrong, from my iPod being synced, to iTunes playing music in the background.
It's always during these times that I will lean back on my desk chair and stare at my bookshelves. There has to be a couple hundred books sitting on those dusty shelves. For some reason my eyes always go back to my copy of Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper. I can't stop looking at it. It's just another one of those giant red flags my conscience is waving around.
When I saw that book, I finally realized my addiction to Apple was so much deeper.
I understood now that an "Apple Addiction" is just one evidence of my greater problem with greed. Technology created by Apple just happened to be one thing that somehow in my sinful nature I believed would make my life better, or make me look better. Some think owning the great new PC will make them look better. Maybe it's how many games they own, or how well they play them. Maybe it's the friends people have, or the newest gadget. Maybe it's the house they own, the yard they spend all their time manicuring, or that job that they know everyone will be impressed with.
Each and every one of these things points to a heart issue, an issue of pride and greed.
Personally, I have to ask myself: What is supreme in my life? Is it the things that I own that are supreme? Is it the supremacy of Mac in my life or is the supremacy of Christ in my life?
It's easy to allow myself to buy into the lie that what I own is who I am. If I own a Mac, I believe that I am a better person that I once was. This is the lie the devil wants each of us to buy into, the lie that "stuff" makes us better people. But I mustn't believe it. I am not on this earth to get more stuff in order to be a better person. I am on this earth to be made less of as I make much of Christ.
Christ is supreme, not my Macbook, iPod, or house, car, job, cell phone or any "stuff" that I own. But living as if Christ is supreme is easier said than done.
Start Eating Locusts
One guy who lived out a lifestyle that made much of Christ was J.T.B — otherwise known as John the Baptist. You might know him as the locust-eating and camel-hair-covered prophet who lived in the desert. Not a exactly a neat freak who was concerned about what people thought of him or what he looked like. His entire life was consumed by one all encompassing goal — to exalt Christ.
John wouldn't be worrying about what car he was driving, what he looked like when he put his clothes on in the morning, or which type of computer he used. Those things would be totally irrelevant and inappropriate in light of his mission. It just so happens that his mission is our mission as well.
I love the story found at the end of John chapter 3. Jesus was with his disciples, and they were baptizing, and so was John the Baptist in a different part of the country. Pretty soon, all the people who had originally been going to see John the Baptist started going to Jesus instead. So John's disciples brought this problem to his attention.
"Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to who you bore witness — look, he is baptizing, all are going to him."
John answered, "A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness that I said 'I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.' The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the Bridegrooms voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease."
He must increase, but I must decrease. That should be each and every one of our own mindsets. It certainly has not been mine as I have striven to make myself look good through the products I buy, whether it's the latest Apple technology, or the clothes I have, or the car I drive, or the way I speak around people. Our mindsets are naturally driven to make ourselves increase in this world. We are here so that He can increase. And so that we can decrease.
I love what John Piper says in Don't Waste Your Life about another man who didn't waste his life exalting himself — Paul:
One thing mattered: "I will not waste my life! I will finish my course and finish it well. I will display the Gospel of the grace of God in all I do. I will run my race to the end."
Or he could say, "Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:7-8). One thing matters: Know Christ, and gain Christ. Everything is rubbish in comparison to this.
What is the one passion of your life that makes everything else look like rubbish in comparison? Oh, that God would help me waken in you a single passion for a single great reality that would unleash you, and set you free from small dreams, and send you, for the glory of Christ, into all the spheres of secular life and to all the peoples of the earth.
So that's my story. I was once addicted to Macs, believing they could make me such a better person. Yeah, that's pathetic, hm? But now, I realize, my Mac has shown me a deeper problem in my life — I wanted all the fame and the glory. I was worried about what I looked like and what I had here and now. My life has to change.
Now I must decrease so that he can increase more and more. I can start by e-mailing this article off to Boundless, closing my Macbook, and praying that the only image I'll be focused on is the image of Christ.
Copyright 2009 Tim Sweetman. All rights reserved.