Yes, I’ve surrendered my life to the Lord, and am continually reminded of what that means, the areas of my life that includes on a daily basis. My children, my finances, my home, how I spend my time, my husband… why should I be shocked that it would also include… my phone?
I’m reading Francis Schaeffer’s book No Little People. In it he speaks of each culture having something in it that conforms them more to the world and less to God.
“And do not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will o God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2
Schaeffer says, “There is a world spirit which has existed ever since men revolted against God. It’s characterized by man putting himself at the standard of everything, making himself the standard of value. There is diversity in the unity of the world spirit and each age manifests the spirit in its own way. The basic attitude is always the same, but its particular manifestation in each generation must be sought out.”
What is it for us? Today? The spirit of the world that creeps in and steals our joy, and steals our time away from God and things eternal. The spirit of the world that makes us think this world is our home, when in fact it is not. This spirit that is so glaringly subtle. I say glaringly because isn’t it obvious? And subtle because it is so normative that we hardly think it’s the world at all. Social media testifies to it the best… this me-centered approach to life, this endless barrage of information, much of which we do not need to know, and is not helpful and yet we can’t take our eyes off of it. So many voices crying for our attention that our hearts, minds and souls cannot pay attention to the One Voice, the only voice that matters.
In my time reading God’s world on any given day I’m embarrassed to say how often I get distracted, by a text coming in, something I remember I need to check online, check to see if it’s done, write a note to myself in my phone. Then I just casually look to see what’s going on on facebook, or instagram or whatever your social media pleasure is. That look that lasts 20 minutes too long and I can’t even remember what it was God was bringing to my mind as I read His word 20 minutes earlier. That intimate moment lost. Other voices have crowded in.
So surrender. Surrendering involves the laying down of rights, the giving up of things you hold most dear, the entrusting to your Creator that which you want to hold onto most, that you would trust Him with how He leads you with that thing, that person, that dream. A surrendered heart says “I want to do it your way and not my way”. Our children, our dreams, our marriages, our jobs, those seem the most obvious… but our phones? That which I hold most dear seems a strong phrase for something so obviously material and yet so essential to our everyday lives, such a part of our very being that many of us (I know not all) would be afraid to acknowledge how deeply we must stay connected to the outside world and friends we’ve only met but once… but wait… what happened to their cat? I must know. NOW. And I don’t even like cats (so sorry cat lovers).
So we must surrender that which keeps us from being quiet, which keeps us from sitting and staying and listening to God’s word. A surrender of saying “You Lord be in control of my phone habits. Lord, I want to listen to you in regards to social media.” It’s not a throwing away, though perhaps that would seem a lot easier, but inevitably the heart would only be moved to another distraction instead of a growing habit of obedience to the Spirit in all things we are entrusted with.
It’s a “God be glorified in how I uses this material object. I relinquish my control, my rights to do what I want and do what you want with it.”
So today, I’m surrendering my phone, consciously for the first time. It will be a daily surrender, just as it is with every other area God brings to my mind, my family, my future. A daily awakening of my heart by the Spirit to what it means today when I gave my life to Him many years ago.
You could say “well there is so much good online”, I don’t disagree, but for me (perhaps not for you) the proportion of which the distractions outweigh the good I digest is embarrassingly large. Right now I’m simply asking the question: what transforms me to the world most right now?
If I’m honest it’s the distraction that comes from my phone, the countless barrage of information, others’ grand vacations, pretty outfits, Pinterest ideas… All of a sudden I’m discontent with my dresser that must now be refinished. A million ideas and thoughts running through our minds, some Biblical, many not. And so many of these move me closer to the heart of man and further from the heart and ways of God.
Right now I’m a voice that perhaps you will read, be challenged by and then move onto another voice… but are we living in such a way that we are surrendered to His voice, listening to His voice above all the others?
What is it that keeps you most attached to the world, that keeps you most from hearing His voice? Surrender that thing. Bring it under the Lordship of Christ. Let Him be Lord of your singleness, your marriage, your finances, your children, your dreams and hopes… and let Him be Lord of the small things too… like your phone.
“Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in! Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O gates, And lift them up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in! Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.” – Psalm 24:8-10