Pastoral Reflection 8.9.15
Disconnected from God
The Internet broke this week for me. I was in Nashville and could not get online, at least from my iPhone. The reason is AT&T had a major cellular data outage over Tennessee and Kentucky. It was like I was living in 1987 for most of the day on Tuesday. The worst part of it was I didn’t know why my phone was not getting on the web until I finally got on wifi at a Dunkin Donuts (home away from home) and read about the problem.
As I’ve reflected on my experience on Tuesday I have seen a lesson for my spiritual life. Am I aware when my walk with God is not close? Would I notice if I went though a day without God’s presence? A week? A year? I knew something was wrong within minutes of AT&T’s network going down. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I knew that my phone was not connecting properly to the cellular network. The situation caused me to go through some diagnostics… off/on, reset, airplane mode, turning cellular data off/on, throwing my phone, saying ugly things to my phone, etc. (the last two were what I felt like doing but didn’t, thankfully). All I knew was that I was in the middle of Bridgestone Arena with no wifi and had no ability to email, Tweet, text, or search the web for useless information. The problem was obvious.
I realized how much less obvious the condition of my heart is when I am not walking closely with God. I often don’t sense the disconnect in my walk with God nearly as quickly as I did with my phone. It doesn’t send up red flags when I slip into the comfortable well-worn shoes of selfishness. It doesn’t cause me to freak out when I slip on the self-centered lens through which I look at my life and the people around me. These are signs that I have lost my focus on God, his glory, and his goodness in my life and that should scare me way more than losing my cell data for a day.
How can we know that our focus is off God and we are subtly, or not so subtly, focusing on ourselves and our circumstances? Here a few diagnostic questions that may help you diagnose a practical disconnect from God
- Do I find myself desiring God or his stuff more?
- Do I long for God’s name to be great or mine?
- How quick am I to love and serve others as Christ has loved and served me?
- How quick am I to be seriously discouraged, frustrated, or angry when circumstances don’t go my way?
I realized this week how easy it is for me to take my focus off God. Fortunately, while I may lose focus on God, he never loses focus on me. He has settled how he feels about me (and all of his children) through Christ. It is because of the cross of Christ I CAN walk in fellowship with God and that allows me to repent, return, and refocus my heart where it belongs. I pray you can do the same this week by his grace.