Before I regale you gents with the technical details of how I’ve set up my own cellular device life, I wanted to quickly hit one more topic that makes up an important part of my philosophy around smartphones. Here it is:
I am (on some days more than others) trying to train my oft-plugged up ears to hear the very thoughts of God.
Please do not skim past this point as if it can be assumed. Alas, it cannot. You actually know very few people who walk through their life with this goal. Most people are happy to just avoid whatever tormenting thoughts go through their minds if they stop and listen for a moment. BUT NOT US. We are the lucky few who got woke up to the Truth and have direct line access to our Maker. This means we have a MUCH better channel to listen to… but tuning in will require some space-making, brother. He calls Himself the Still Small Voice for a reason. He won’t compete with the Netflix and Twitter blaring in your mind. He is not a hype junkie. He is patient and quiet and peaceful, like some kind of demure bird. And hearing Him requires shifting into a lower, stiller gear. (Stiller Gear is the name of my new band AND what Pittsburgh football fans spend their spare change on.) Stay noisy internally and risk blowing up the bird.
Now, do I hear the audible voice of God whenever I forego Candy Crush in a moment of potential boredom? No. Not necessarily. But thankfully, we have a roadmap for just that kind of hearing – it’s meditation! Specifically, meditation on the Word. The command that God gave his people in Joshua 1:8 is hard to skirt around:
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
So you needn’t wait for prophetic revelation. (Whew! That’s a relief!) Instead, you can just meditate on the Word and that will do just fine.
Replacing God with the Internet
Maybe you’re thinking, [read this in your mind like a Punk Kid] “Yeah yeah Abraham wannabe… But I don’t really need to wait because all of the answers I need in life are one search away. Heh heh! I don’t even need to wait until I get home to have access to the entire body of knowledge acquired by the human race up to now, dummy.”
Waiting on the Lord, as we said, requires quiet and still. But that’s not the only trap set by the device in your pocket (the electronic one… Heyo!). It’s also very easy to SHORTCUT waiting on the Lord and instead run to your five favorite internet publications when it comes time to stop and listen. A fantastic article from Tim Keller (yea, even from Abraham’s Wallet) is not an acceptable replacement for waiting on the QUIET voice of God. [Can I get an amen.]
If you’re like me, you may turn first to Google when you have a question. “Hey Google, what does God say about walking my daughter through long term illness” (I actually tried this query recently… sigh…). Of course, it is a good thing to look for wisdom. AND, there is plenty of wisdom (and lots of horseshit) on the web, but I propose a moment of pause to consider whether you’re tending to replace listening to the Father with searching the internet. I’m guilty of this with great frequency.
Jeremiah 33:3 – Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
Whoa. That sounds like something we’re not used to. Hear it? It’s called mystery. God comes to us and speaks in an inscrutable, faith-requiring way. The things He speaks are hidden things that are not obvious to a computer or a search algorithm or maybe even to the godliest teacher you have access to. They have to be gotten straight from this Mysterious Spirit that we worship. (And that is cool.)
Again, “hidden things” means they aren’t obtainable in a Google search, and I propose that our phones have taught us (yes, son, your phone is actively training you) that we always have the answers at our fingertips. When we take this false/thin learning into the spiritual realm, we end up exchanging the hard work of waiting quietly on the LORD for the easy and (ultimately) unrewarding practice of grabbing the first available answer from the web.
You can and should read about what it looks like to be a strong leader and a sacrificially loving husband. But none of that reading is going to tell you what your wife needs from you tonight. Her heart is full of hidden things that you’ll only unearth through time and intimacy. How you gonna spend all that money that we’re helping you to pile up with your advanced level budgeting? The better part of wisdom would be to consult with the One Who actually owns everything on that question.
So it goes with the LORD. Last we checked, He still smiles at the man who is willing to draw near to Him. Do that. Use the internet for its good resources, but remember that the Father’s heart only revealed to men and women willing to get it straight from the Source. Because we carry the opinions of the world around in our pockets nowadays, it may be easier than ever to substitute quick answers from “wise people” for the quiet, hidden things that come from Wisdom Himself.
If you ask, and He answers, say yes
The final thing I’ll say before moving on to pure Blackberry product pimping (see how I’m foreshadowing things to come? Smart.), is that if you’re going to go to the trouble of asking God what he thinks and waiting for the answer, be ready to say YES to anything.
In the course of this series we’ve tried to highlight some of the benefits that you might accrue through living without a smartphone, or even without any internet in your home. I’ve read the emails some of you have sent in – either noting that I’m a crazy kook for suggesting such a thing, or “wishing you could ever do something like that”. I’m here to remind you cowpokes that, in The Kingdom of God, EVERYTHING IS OPTIONAL. Otherwise, we’re just a bunch of rich young rulers and what are you even doing reading this blog? Go make a bunch of money and die already, if Jesus can’t actually save you from yourself.
Now, I am not saying that every good little Abraham out there must now prove his mettle as a man by ceremonially burning his smartphone (or for our Samsung owners – just waiting a bit). I’m merely issuing a strong admonishment to you: if you hear me talking about giving up the smartphone and it sounds like a bridge too far, stop everything and examine the submittedness of your will to God’s heart. Once you’ve worked that out, you’ll be free to make a judgement on your cellular device life (and perhaps to take advantage of our upcoming recommendation extravaganza with all the devices and services that you’ll need to smartphone-free living a delight!). Until next week… keep a close eye on this space, cat daddies. In the meantime, KEEP QUIET and WATCH FOR GOD.