If you have a cell phone, chances are that you’ve had the opportunity to lament, “I don’t have any bars!” Those little bars may occupy an unassuming part of the screen, but they are of vital importance. No bars means no signal, no signal means no calls, texts, or emails. You may be surprised to learn that Christians, too, have bars.
Okay, Christians don’t literally have bars. However we do face connectivity problems. We have “reception”. Our signal doesn’t come from a tower, but from God. In order to live a healthy and productive spiritual life, we need to have a healthy connection to God. It is through this connection that we speak to and hear from God. Just like a cell phone, if we have a bad connection, we will only hear bits and pieces of what God is saying to us. Additionally, we will have a difficult time speaking with God because there are only bits and pieces of our lives that we share with Him. With a bad signal, we think that there are only certain places where we meet God (such as church on Sunday morning). A good signal means that we are able to encounter God any place, any time, and in any thing.
The question now becomes “how do we get and keep a good signal?” Our reception is in our hearts. What is usually going on in our hearts? Are we filling them with sin or with God?
Sin interferes with our signal from God. Sin tries to block or distort it. If we spend our time doing things like building our pride, ignoring others, or plotting against them,
it’s like going into a tunnel. Our reception to God’s signal becomes very weak.
There are also things that we can do to build up our reception to God. One of the oldest and well-tested ways of doing this is engaging in the spiritual disciplines such as prayer, worship, practicing solitude, or engaging in service (to name a few).
These disciplines act as spiritual plows and fertilizers that prepare the soil of our hearts for God’s work. Going with the tech metaphor, they keep us fully charged and do system maintenance that keeps us in good working order.
It is worth noting that having a good signal doesn’t mean that you will begin to literally hear the voice of God. Rather, you find that you meet God all over the place. You find that God can be experienced with all 5 of the senses. You find that God is relevant to, and can be a part of every nook and cranny of your life. There will be times when God seems distant, like He is only making occasional, long-distance calls. There will also be times when He chats with us several times a day. Having a strong connection allows us to continue talking and walking with God no matter what the circumstances are. It also means that we don’t hang up on Him either, because we know that when we’re with God, we’re on the largest and only 100% reliable network there is.