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Gadgets Nag Us to Change Behavior

No matter how hard we try we just can't seem to shed our need to live by law rather than grace. A recent (2013) article in The Wall Street Journal explored the new wave of gadgets that will remind, cajole, pressure, threaten, judge, and nag us about what we're supposed to do and how to punish ourselves when we fall short.

For instance, a new smart-utensil called the HAPIfork measures how fast you eat while it prods you to slow down and chew. A company called Automatic offers a device that will chirp when a driver speeds, slams on the brakes, or does other things behind the wheel that your mother wouldn't like. For $50 you can buy a toothbrush that wirelessly tells a phone app how often and how long you brush your teeth. The phone app sends the user rewards and punishments based on brushing behavior. A webcam software program called PostureTrack will catch you slouching, and a website called Beeminder will tally fines for undesirable behaviors like not flossing or staying up too late.

One device user said that the digital nagging can "kind of run your life." Another user said, "It's now possible to have a device in the background of your life recording everything you do."

Possible Preaching Angles: (1) Law; Legalism; Grace—Although these devices may be helpful, they also sound a lot like trying to live by "the law." These gadgets "change" our external behavior by relying on pressure and threats. God changes our hearts not through performance but through his grace. (2) Holy Spirit; Conviction—This isn't the way the Spirit convicts us. The Spirit leads us into true growth and change through love, not impersonal pressure.

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