I love my iPhone. It does some amazing things that only a decade ago many people would have thought impossible from a handheld mobile device. But I have one major problem with my iPhone. The battery will not stay charged. I charge it over night, every night, yet when I use it too much to do all of those amazing things only the iPhone can, I end up having to charge it a couple of times throughout the day as well.
I didn’t have to charge my last phone — some old Nokia the size of a TV remote — nearly as much as I have had to since I got the iPhone. At the same time, that old phone wasn’t capable of doing the wonderful things the iPhone does, either.
I think the Christian life is a lot like the iPhone. Jesus did many marvelous things on earth, and He told us that greater things were still to come. He claimed that all authority was given to Him in Heaven and on earth, then He sent us on mission with that authority as our backing and giving us the Holy Spirit to guide us forward.
Here’s the issue. While all of us want to see God do amazing things in our lives and churches and ministries — all of those “greater things” Jesus spoke of — too many of us don’t want to take the time to plug in and in a spiritual sense, “charge our batteries.”
An interesting thought occurred to me as I was thinking about all of this this. Do you realize that the minute you pull your phone off of the charger, no matter how full the little battery gauge shows it to be, your phone has started to die? As soon as it’s unplugged from the source of it’s power, it starts to lose it’s charge.
In the Christian life, we are the same way. We “charge our batteries” by spending time in fellowship with the Lord, reading and meditating on the scriptures, praying, and listening for the Holy Spirit to guide us. And when we do that, we get the strength to continue on in the walk God has set before us. But, the minute we disconnect from spending time with the Lord, our spiritual batteries begin to drain. And if the batteries drain too much, it doesn’t matter how good or right the thing we are trying to do is, it will be fruitless because it isn’t done with God’s power.
Now, just like my old Nokia phone that did little more than make phone calls, if your Christian walk is only doing the basics of living the Christian life without any desire to see God move, you might can get by with only “charging the batteries” every so often and still run for a long time. But I believe that God intended us to be more like spiritual iPhones. We were meant to do more than just the basics. We were meant to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, magnifying the glory of God in every domain of our life, and the fact is, if we are going to be iPhone Christians, it will require that we spend a lot more time keeping the batteries charged.
Now, let me get a little personal. For the last couple of weeks I have been so busy between working my job, fulfilling my church responsibilities, and planning for the mission field, that I have had little time to do anything else, including think. I have felt like I am distant from God, and have made efforts here and there to connect with Him in prayer or finding a couple of minutes in scripture when I can, but I have not made the time for a sustained time of prayer or ongoing fellowship with him. On the whole, I have been very disconnected, and this is slowly becoming evident in the fruit I am putting out.
In talking to friends, some have pointed out that I am under attack from the enemy because of my current ministry transition and having my attention there, which I think is true. Others have reminded me that all Christians go through “dry seasons” as a part of their lives. I think that is also true. But I also realize that a lot of the spiritual, emotional, and even physical exhaustion that I have been facing lately boils down to the fact that my batteries are just about dead. I need to re-charge.
In the same way that you can’t run an iPhone by only plugging it in for a few minutes every day, you cannot live up to the fullness of the Christian walk God has for you without plugging in to Him often and deeply.
While it is easy for me to kill the batteries in my phone simply by using it too much without charging it, I have also noticed that it will always hold a full charge if I can keep it plugged in while using it. Now, while that isn’t a very profound thought, the same thing is true for us. If we will stay plugged in, we will always be charged. This is why the Biblical authors continually tell us to always be in prayer, always be offering thanksgiving to the Lord, always be worshipping, always singing and making melody in our hearts, etc. They know that for us to pull this”iPhone” life off, we must stay connected to our source of our power.
Now, while I know that this is “idealistic” of me to think that we can always stay connected to God in the midst of our hectic, everyday lives, I will simply say this. I used my old Nokia for many years and it accomplished what a phone should. But now that I’ve used my iPhone and experienced all that it can do, there is no going back to the old Nokia, and I will even make the sacrifice of carrying around a car charger or tracking down an outlet in an airport in order to be able to keep the thing running all day.
If you want to be able to do the things an iPhone Christian does and experience the wonder that God has in store, then you are going to have to make every effort to keep your batteries charged even when it is inconvenient to do so.
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