Sunday morning. Getting ready for church. What's on your 'church packing list?' Nice clothes, perhaps a water bottle or travel mug with your favourite beverage, cough drops, Kleenex, a notebook, a meal for the potluck after the sermon.... have I missed anything? Maybe this will jog your memory:
"...Well, it's not like the entire sermon we'll need our Bible for- just a specific passage. Maybe a few verses. I can just share with whoever is sitting beside me."
Does that sound familiar? It does to me. My Bible is big and bulky. It's a little bit heavy- especially when I'm walking around after church trying to gather up the rest of my siblings and herd them out the door. It's a big of a pain to be carrying everywhere and have to put down on my seat every time the worship team tells us to stand. Is it really that big a deal to leave the Bible at home once in a while, especially since the verses are often put on the screen, and we can just share with out neighbor? Many of us even have a Bible app on our phones! Maybe we don't need to bring our Bibles every Sunday....
But do we ever hesitate to bring our phones and iPods out of the house? Even if we know our friends probably won't be texting us- do we leave it at home? No. We are always eager to hear from them- always anticipating another text, call, notification, or other type of 'beep.' How can we be so eager to hear from our human friends, and so indifferent towards hearing from God? We wouldn't dream of leaving the house without some sort of way of communication in order to receive very simple, everyday, average messages from friends and family, but we often find it a pain to bring along the Message that brings hope and freedom.
I know that technology is often used at church to look up passages quickly and effortlessly. I'm not against these apps whatsoever- they're a great invention, to be honest! But what happens when our friend's text message pops up in the corner of the screen? Be honest with yourself- do you ignore the text and continue to read the Scripture, or do you take a quick break to see what this person had to say? If it were me, the distraction of the little message bubble would easily draw my attention away from the Bible app.
What ever happened to entering into the throne room of Grace with just one motive- to worship? What ever happened to having the single desire to hear the voice of God ALONE, rather than the voices of our peers? When did the Bible become so boring and mundane and uninteresting that a text saying "See you after church" or "Could you pick up some bread at the store?" or "We should hang out later" became more exciting than having a special revelation from the Holy Spirit?
We never go anywhere without our technology that links us to all mankind- but we hardly ever bring the Book that links us to the God of the Universe. Who knows when we will be called to witness? It could be at church, but it could also be at the bus station. It could be at youth group, but it could also be at the mall. If the time comes and we are needed to evangelize, yes, we may have our phones. But what about the actual literal Gospel?
I'm wondering how many times I've missed a message from God because I opened a message from my classmate. I'm wondering how many more hours I've spent chatting with friends than reading God's gift to me- His own Word.
2 Timothy 3:16~
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching,
for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
that the man of God may be competent,
equipped for every good work.
But [Jesus] answered, “It is written,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes
from the mouth of God.’”
The Word of God brings freedom. The words of people bring distraction. The Word of God brings truth. The words of people often bring gossip and lies. The Word of God is nothing but LOVE. The words of people are self-seeking and self-promoting. The Word of God is a light that guides us. The words of people are often tainted with sin.
And how often do we actually keep the Prayer Line open? Though we continue to hang up and call back, God's end is always free. He is always wanting to talk, but we restrict His conversation hours to morning, afternoon, and nighttime... maybe edging in a special session before a test or trip. It's not a real conversation anymore- it's more of an update for Him and a couple bless'ems.
1 Thessalonians 5:17~
Never stop praying.
Wow. Got it. I'm going to challenge myself for this new school year starting tomorrow morning, to call God in the morning, opening up the line. But I'm not going to hang up. For me, 'Amen' is not going to be a 'Good-bye,' anymore. It's going to be a 'Wait a second.' It will be a 24/7 prayer, so that God is always free to tell me something. I don't want to block my heart off from Him anymore, limiting Him to the times I have set aside for devotions.
Grade 11 starts tomorrow. I'm turning devotion to a verb, prayer to a lifestyle, and I'm sticking a Bible in my backpack. God, I'm turning the conversation over to You. Because I'm listening now.