Friday, October 5, 2018

My Cell Phone

A few weeks ago I waited in line at the post office.  One behind another, people stood, all the way to the door.  Behind me, a man remarked, “I didn’t know it was Christmas already.” After checking my phone and responding to a couple salient texts, I watched as my phone battery died.  Closing my eyes, I prayed a few moments—the line wasn’t moving anyway and everyone stood stock still like people do in elevators, not looking anywhere but forward.  Then I reached into my purse and got out my Bible.  What a blessing to meditate on God’s Word while standing in line!

I’m glad my phone battery isn’t the greatest these days, because it helps me to remember my priorities. 

Years ago, when I was a little girl and would call my grandma, I would sit at the kitchen table and talk on the phone, whose cord came from the wall. Now, we take our phones everywhere.  I think sometimes we should let them sit somewhere for a day, or at least for a few hours, so that we make sure they don’t become idols to us.

Is Jesus the first One we “text” on a daily basis?  Is His the first voice we hear, His text the first one we check?

Are our desires satisfied in His Word?

If not, why not?

Within the last several years, I’ve watched as cell phones have progressively occupied a more prominent place in believers’ lives.  So frequently do they intrude into our relationships with people that many don’t seem even to view them as a disturbance any longer. 

More and more, our cell phones have become intrinsically connected to life.  And, while I’m grateful for the way my phone allows me to communicate with people, several weeks ago, I began to consider my phone from a slightly different perspective.

I never want to treat my phone as a first line of defense.  It is only a tool in the hands of the person holding it.

The phone, in the wrong hands, can become a tool for evil.  But more subtly, it can become god-like as it occupies our present tense in a way that only the "I Am" ever should.  Another individual’s input, another person’s perspective--can reach inordinate status as we seek these before we wait patiently at the feet of our Savior.

In our longing for approval, we see how many likes a Facebook post received.  We wonder at a comment offered about a friend’s wedding.  Diversions are endless.  The phone too frequently increases one’s ability to become distracted by any number of things, good or bad.

And we rarely notice this less-than-ideal state where we too frequently live:  going about our lives, phones in hand, practically separated from a God who offers us the best counsel, the greatest fulfillment, the deepest satisfaction.

Too often, we let our phones occupy the place God alone should have.

They interrupt time with family. 

They become a means of escape. 

And all God wants is open, honest, sincere, humble hearts in love with Him, willing to do whatever He asks.

Too often, through all the noise, people stop hearing God as He blends in with the loudest voices in their lives.  He’s mistaken as a text message from someone we view as spiritual instead of actually seeking God, as He commands us.

He is the eternal God. 

Your Refuge. 

Your Rock. 

Your Hiding Place designed just for you, His special treasure, to find a quiet hide-out in. 

He is your Eternal Friend.

Do you treat Him thus?

My friend, a phone can offer assistance, help pay for your coffee, guide you on your route to an unknown destination—and surely can wield itself as a tool of good use in your hands.  And yet, I beg you not to forget the God of the Word.

The last month or so, I’ve been approaching my devotions differently.  Instead of reading my Bible using technology, where I can locate cross references easily and look up words in the original languages, I’ve been sitting down with a physical copy of God’s Book, reading it thoughtfully, meditatively.  I’ve let my devices and even devotional notebook sit idly by as the Word, thus imbibed, has slowly seeped into the soil of my heart.

These mornings, I’m savoring still moments in God’s presence.  In so doing, His Word has progressively found passageways into my heart and begun a more permanent etching of its laws within my soul as I’ve let it slowly, quietly travel there.

And I’m finding the stillness of His quiet voice in the chaos of a busy life, constantly screaming with demands.  I rarely reach for the Bible app on my phone, choosing instead the quiet text that doesn’t move with my finger.  Staying in the chapters I’m reading and letting the quiet, still words of an actual Book sit before my eyes has helped me.  I find myself far less frequently scurrying from a text in search of a cross reference here and there or locating a wise comment by a Biblicist of the past.  My response to His Word, instead of scrambling in a lengthy devotional entry, is offered mainly as a simple prayer, echoing from one verse to the next as the God of the Book confronts my life, comforts my heart, and captures my affections through His Word.  I’m desiring Him more, finding myself more satiated each day.

I don’t know where this busy, technologically-crazed world finds you.  But I beg you to sit still in God’s presence this day, letting His unchanging laws govern your heart as you seek to humbly sit before Him, gazing into the mirror of His Word.  Only that contains the power to change you progressively more into the image of Jesus Christ!

Instead of texting a friend about a problem you face, how about taking it to the Lord as you read His Word and then quietly waiting for His specific answer as you open your heart to His amazing text?  If the phone has become your line of first defense, so easily accessible, easy to connect—yet you haven’t borne your heart to the One Who created it and knows you intimately, perhaps some priorities need rearranging.

The God of heaven and earth longs to give us His finest and best.  Let’s not shortchange Him, as did the children of Israel.  He planned to give them honey, not just water, from the rock. To feed them with the finest of wheat, not provide them only with manna.  To satisfy them so fully that their desires were satiated fully in Him.

His heart cry for our fullest passion is seen in Psalm 81:13-17--
            “Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries.  The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied  thee.” 

May God help us to correctly order our steps in His Word and to offer Him first place in every part of our lives!