A couple of years ago, I had a cell phone that I really liked, except for one nagging and recurring problem… battery life. The phone really did work great and did all that I asked of it, but every day I could see that the overnight charge that I put on the phone lasted for a shorter and shorter period.
I took the phone back to the place where I purchased it, since I had only had the phone about a year. I complained and told the guy, “Seems like it should last longer through the day.” He checked my phone for bugs and games and extra stuff, but found nothing there that would explain the problem. He handed the phone back to me and said, “You are just going to have to recharge more often!”
I have never forgotten those words. He didn’t intend them in any larger way. He was just “handling” my complaint by explaining the obvious answer. If my current way of doing things was not working, I would have to start doing things in a new way that would address my issue and solve the problem. He did not address the fact that concerned me most – why was this phone not holding a charge?
However, his almost prophetic answer became something excellent for me to ponder. If my current method of “recharging” isn’t working, perhaps I should re-align my methods to meet my current demands!
I learned to look for places to charge my phone every where I went! I was always looking for an outlet, even if I was just going to be there for just a short while. I bought another couple of chargers, and even got a spare car charger so that I could plug up while riding with someone else! I made it my goal to keep my phone charged enough so that I never saw the dreaded “critical battery life” warning flashing at me in bright red light.
Often don’t we start to see the “critical battery life” on our spiritual batteries as well? The stresses and strains of life and the constant need to continue to grow means that we are having to regularly evolve and change and add new “apps” and functions to our already over-loaded devices (us). This causes us to drain our spiritual reserves faster than before, and our times of refreshing and recharging often do not last as long as we think they should. We find ourselves complaining to God himself, “Why does this not do what it used to do for me? My charge should last longer!”
I hear the Lord often tell me, “Joe, if you want your spiritual battery to remain in the green, you are going to have to recharge more.”
We must consider our current methods and start to evaluate if the type of “charging” that we have been doing is working well enough for our present conditions. What that means for most of us is that we have consider a concept that we have been avoiding like a diet and a gym membership – spiritual disciplines.
Most of us grew up attending church, participating in activities with other kids, and going to church camp in the summer. Those times of intensive concentrated study and evaluation helped us get through the school year, and usually produced a late night or two as we stayed up and talked to our friends at camp and opened up with each other about how we had run out of “spiritual battery” a little early and made some poor choices. We would encourage each other, commit to do more during the next year (retreats and such), and wish each other well until we reunited the following summer, hopefully with a better story to tell. These “mountain top” experiences were often enough to keep us alive and growing in our faith because we had people around us in our home church (parents and concerned leaders) that provided lots of quick charging in the form of devos, classes and activities on a regular basis.
After graduating from high school and going off to college, I learned that the method of spiritual growth that I had built in my younger years would not get me through the challenges that I was facing as a young adult. The behaviors and patterns that I had set up to help provide me with sufficient “charge” were failing me… and I was starting everyday with a terrible message “insufficient power”!
Spiritual disciplines provide what every Christian needs – regular times of talking to God, listening to His word, and being shaped by our Christian family.
God wants us to have the strength that we need to get us through the challenges that await us in this life – challenges that He is aware of, and that we have yet to even see! He is trying to get us ready and keep us strong, if we will use the means that He has provided to do that. Often the local church will provide times of Bible study, worship and extra activities for us to participate in – but we have to show up!
Often we get so busy with our lives, just like with our phones, and we are unwilling to “put it down” long enough to recharge it properly. Charging our phone means not using it for some short period, and I have seen people literally break out in hives to think that they might be untethered from the umbilical of life that their phone represents for even a short period of time. In the same way, we have to become dis-engaged from this world and engage with God in order to recharge ourselves spiritually, and some Christians just can’t seem to find the time to do it!
If we are to grow in our lives with Christ, we will have to take some time and evaluate where we spend our time and energy, what we care about most, and how that is recharging our spiritual lives. I think some of us could make improvement in this area – probably most of us.
Put down the phone. Spend some regular time with God. Read, study, ask, seek and knock. He answers, if we are still there to listen!
Recharge regularly, and even “all the more as you see the day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:25. Keep your “chargers” handy (Bible, prayer, Christian fellowship), and use them everywhere you go. Seek power, and look for it wherever you happen to be.
Keep going, and growing.