The upgrade path
If we can't turn the clock back – why as Christians do we seem to want our old lives back?
The iPod has proved an extraordinary invention that has turned the music industry upside down. Back in the Seventies and Eighties, I had hundreds of albums and cassettes. Truth be told, I still have quite a few. But if someone had suggested I could carry my entire music library around with me, to listen to whenever I wanted, I'd have laughed.
Now, with music easily available in a digital format, our whole approach to it has changed. Instead of laboriously recording mix tapes from vinyl onto cassette, we can now easily construct playlists from our iTunes library. I've discovered music I had forgotten about, and new music I would never have otherwise heard. It's brilliant.
On my iPad, I can download countless books to read at my leisure. Actually, we still find we prefer to read physical books, but the point is: we now have a choice.
Creative genius and interactive technology have changed millions of lives, mine included. Lots of benefits have resulted – and lots of dangers have to be faced.
We can't turn the clock back and pretend it never happened.
But isn't that exactly what we do sometimes as Christians when we try to live as if we'd never met Jesus?
In Paul's letter to the Colossians, he talks about how we should live now that we belong to Christ. He talks about all the stuff we used to do and say, that we should now be leaving behind:
"Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator."
The reality is that all of us are new creations – the old has gone, the new has come! Our old selves are like Betamax videos: old technology that won't work with a new operating system.
So my challenge to myself, much as I love vinyl and books and classic old technology, is to remind myself that in Christ I am a completely new creation. I'm not what I will be – yet – but I'm not what I was. I'm a work in progress.
And for all of us the challenge is to let Jesus change us, day by day, piece by piece, until we become all we were intended to be.
Even the iPhone 5 can't do that.