Here we go again, entering another school year. School has changed a bit since I was a student. It is incredible how technology has progressed and created such new and powerful ways for us to learn things. It’s amazing to me that I can carry in my pocket an overgrown, credit-card-sized device that I can use to instantly call my friends in Kenya halfway around the planet, and not only talk to them but also video chat with them live–any time I want. It’s a great privilege to be able to use such amazing technology.

But there is a downside to that same technology, because I can also lie in my bed at night, when everyone else in the house is asleep, and watch movies and see pictures of all kinds of things.

When I was a kid, I used to have to sneak porn magazines into the house and hide them under the mattress, then sneak some time in the bathroom to look at the pictures.

Not anymore. Now you can share and be shown all kinds of garbage by your classmates while eating lunch or listening to the teacher give some boring lesson. 

It is so much more tempting now than it was years ago. The world around us also has told us that things that were generally considered unacceptable and bad years ago are not really bad anymore, like using near-naked women in advertisements.

Back in the day, bra commercials used dummies to model bras and you never saw a real person on TV doing it. Those days are long gone. The world sets an “acceptable” level of stuff that is always changing, so you can be sitting on your computer doing homework and get pop-ups or video ads that years ago would have gotten a movie an R-rating.

So with this great advance in technology comes a greater responsibility to resist the temptation to follow “acceptable” standards that lead us down unprofitable paths. At the very least, if you are supposed to be writing a research paper, don’t instead be looking at Rhianna’s butt.

Romans 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is –his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

It pays off for us in many ways. You not only get more homework done, but you also get help maturing in life in general by learning self-control and perseverance.

1 John 2:16-17 “For everything in the world–-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”

Some things change, like the world’s standards. But others remain the same–and those are the things we need to focus on this school year. . . and beyond.