While my computer operating system was being upgraded, making my Internet connection obsolete and requiring more technology upgrade, I relied on my Smart Phone. I was able to access my email and answer the most important notes from my editing clients, and I could check Facebook. As some may recall, I even posted a short article here at A Christian Worldview Of Fiction via the phone.
As helpful as it is to have the phone, I felt as if I was limping along, making do, barely staying current. I wasn’t quite on the sidelines, but I couldn’t say I felt like I was in the game either. It felt a little like being on the disabled list—not a permanent condition, not a dismissal from the team, but not a full-fledged, current participant either.
This afternoon as I’ve been trying to wade through the emails that downloaded onto my computer and to navigate all the bells and whistles that are on these upgraded software programs, I have still been overwhelmingly thankful that I’m working on my computer again.
The phone was great! But it was a phone! Smart, yes, but still a mini-version of my computer. If I had never been able to use my computer again, would I have been able to get by with just my phone? Certainly for some things. But my guess is that other things would simply go by the wayside. I couldn’t navigate with ease from one blog to the next during a blog tour. I couldn’t download and edit my clients’ manuscripts, I couldn’t write lengthy treatises here at A Christian Worldview Of Fiction. ( 😉 )
In other words, the phone was a helpful substitute for a time, but it was not a replacement for the computer.
Too often, when it comes to spiritual things, I think we human beings settle for the substitute instead of going after the real deal. It’s understandable. We’re born with just the phone. No computer. We need to learn about the computer, be willing to go through the uncomfortable adjustments of a more powerful and demanding machine, and embrace all the things that we’re now capable of doing.
In this little analogy, as you probably surmised, I’m equating God with the computer and humankind’s own efforts with the phone.
We actually can do a lot, we men and women. We can think and create and relate and learn. But when we settle only for what we can determine using our finite senses, our world shrinks. There’s so much we can’t do if we lock ourselves away from God. We might feel independent and free—I can take my phone anywhere. It’s light and mobile, not encumbering like my desktop. But it’s limited. Small. Restricted.
Instead of making me free, the phone narrowed my world. It did allow me to limp along. A good thing . . . unless I came to believe that the phone was All That I Needed.
Who we are as humans is really marvelous. We are living beings with minds that create and reason, compute and recite. We can love and forgive, learn and worship. We can choose between right and wrong; we can dominate or submit.
But we are still locked into our finite way of looking at the world. Without God’s revelation, without relationship with Him, we don’t understand the big picture: Who are we? Why are we here? Where are we going?
We can know our Smart Phone version of love, but we would lose out on the full desk top version of God’s love. Same with mercy and forgiveness and grace and kindness and joy and patience and peace.
God is the source of all those traits, the One who shows us what they mean in all their fullness. Without Him, we would accept our small version as sufficient, but at every turn we’d have to let things fall by the wayside—the big things that the phone simply isn’t built to handle.
Sadly, at some point, a good many people not only settle for the phone, they embrace it as superior to the computer, or, worse, so great that they can’t envision anything greater.
We humans are pretty awesome, no doubt. The Bible says we are fearfully (awe-inspiring) and wonderfully made. But we are the image of the One who made us. We are the mini-version—not God, but the reflection of God.
How important that we don’t fall in love with the reflection, that we don’t get so comfortable using the substitute that we distance ourselves from the Real Deal.