Over a year ago, my precious wife Mary got her first iPhone. She bought a nice blue case for it, and the phone looks really pretty.
Before getting her fancy new phone, Mary just had a very basic cell phone that she used for making calls and sending text messages. And after having her iPhone for more than a year now, she still uses it for exactly the same purposes—phone calls and texting.
I’ve gently tried to point out to Mary that she is using on a very small percentage of the phone’s potential. There’s so much more that the phone could be doing for her!
Mary’s phone could have been used to wake her up in the morning…show the week’s weather forecast…remind her of the day’s schedule…provide navigation to her appointments…keep track of her contacts and her finances…surf the Internet…check emails…provide restaurant reviews and movie show times…read her the Bible in multiple translations…play audio books…take pictures and immediately post them to Twitter and Facebook—and much more!
Why buy an expensive phone and not use even close to its full potential? It seems like such a waste to me. But despite my repeated attempts to reason with her, Mary still uses the phone for little more than talking and texting.
As I’ve pondered this exasperating situation, God has convicted me that I’ve been doing something far worse than not using the vast potential of my smart phone. “Jim,” He has challenged me, “do you realize the incredible potential I’ve put in you by the power of the Holy Spirit?”
How convicting! When Christ lives in us by the Holy Spirit, why do we still rely so much on our own ability and ingenuity? And how come we utilize such a small portion of the overwhelming power available to us?
Of course, some believers are simply ignorant of what God has made available. They’re surrounded by other people who aren’t tapping into the power of the Spirit either, so their Christian life seems quite “normal” to them. Like a person who has no idea of all the features available on their phone, they simply don’t know what they’re missing.
But I’m convinced the problem often is spiritual laziness rather than ignorance. Many people have heard about the amazing apps available for their phone, yet they refuse to take time to download the apps and learn how to use them. This isn’t really very difficult, but they must see a need for each app and be willing to invest a little time to download it and put it to work.
I wish I could claim ignorance about the power of the Holy Spirit, but I can’t. I’m quite familiar with fantastic Bible promises like these:
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
“He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father” (John 14:12).
“God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery…which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
Sadly, I have to conclude that I’ve been no different than Mary with her iPhone. Despite the incredible power at my fingertips, it has gone mostly untapped.
Paul prayed for the believers at Ephesus to see “the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power” (Ephesians 1:18-19). Today, let’s pray this same prayer for each other. God has some amazing new “apps” to show us in the days ahead.