I remember when I first got my iPad. I was substitute teaching and saved every penny to get it. I have incredibly powerful Bible study software on my desktop computer, and I was looking forward to taking advantage of its companion tablet app. It did not disappoint. From the time I got my iPad, I used it almost exclusively for my daily quiet time. I took it to church in place of my leather Bible. It’s been great! But after four years, I am returning to leather and paper.
We are now officially in the season of Lent, the six weeks prior to Christ’s death and resurrection. Many people use this period of time to focus their attention on the Lord by fasting from things they enjoy. I did not grow up with this practice, and several years ago I began a quest to understand it better. I was discussing it with a friend, and rather than focusing on a fast, she encouraged me to add something to my spiritual life that would enhance it. I remember that particular year as one of the most special.
For the last few weeks, I have been praying about how God wanted me to approach this year’s Lenten season. But I didn’t get a clear answer until a couple of days ago. God led me to put away technology and return to leather and paper for my daily quiet time.
My typical, morning routine is to wake up, punch the button on the coffee pot, grab my iPad and check social media while I’m waiting for my coffee to finish. I wrote about this here. At that time, I changed things up a bit so that my coffee would be ready when I came downstairs, but I still grabbed my iPad so I could use my electronic Bible and all the commentaries during my quiet time. That’s not a bad thing per se. However, technology in my lap is extremely distracting. Simply making the transition from social to reverence is difficult. More often than I’d like to admit, that transition doesn’t even occur.
I was reading Proverbs 8 and 9–two of my favorite chapters in the Bible. Proverbs 8 is a description of the beauty of Wisdom. Proverbs 9 contrasts the call of Wisdom and the call of Folly (or foolish living). The following verses in chapter 8 lead beautifully into chapter 9.
Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home! For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord. (Proverbs 8:34-35)
As I read those words, I stopped and I asked myself, Am I watching and waiting daily to hear from God? Do I eagerly anticipate hearing His voice? It was convicting, to be sure.
I moved on to Chapter 9 and read these verses.
[Wisdom] has prepared a great banquet, mixed the wines, and set the table … Come, eat my food, and drink the wine I (Wisdom) have mixed. Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live; learn to use good judgment … Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment. Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life. If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer. (Proverbs 9:2, 5, 10-12)
Then it hit me.
God has prepared a feast for me–in His Word. He invites me to join Him. To learn from Him. Every day I have the opportunity to enjoy the delights waiting at His table.
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! (Psalm 34:8)
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. (Psalm 63:3-5 NIV)
But I have not eagerly anticipated His banquet. Oh, most days I make my way through the buffet; but lately, I haven’t been feasting.
This is how I’m approaching the next six weeks. I’m still punching the button on my coffee pot. But instead of grabbing my iPad, I’m grabbing my leather Bible, a favorite devotional book, and my prayer cards. While the aroma of coffee is filling my living room, I am praying–albeit a sleepy prayer (thus prayer cards to help with focus!).
The first morning I found myself wanting to get my iPad so I could do a bit more research on something I read. I even wanted to type something in my journal app, which I haven’t done in ages! The next day I was looking at a cross-reference and almost “tapped it,” expecting the verse to pop up on my page instead of turning to it. But my iPad remained on my desk.
There is certainly a place for electronic resources–especially in Bible study! In fact, I have a plethora of devotional resources on my iPad. But I want the first portion of my morning to be technology free–just God, me, and my Bible. (Oh, and a good cup of coffee!)
They say it takes twenty-one days to build a new habit. My prayer is that these six weeks will do more than that for me. Leaving my iPad on my desk and grabbing my leather Bible, I’m praying that my heart will be more securely anchored to God’s Word. Rather than tearing myself away from the virtual, I want to relish what’s true and real.
You know what? I was praying for direction in another area of my life. My time at God’s table? It gave me the answer I needed. 🙂
Yes. Lent has officially begun. But “Holy Week” is still a ways off. Have you considered how you will use this time? God may not be calling you to a fast. He may be calling you to a feast!God may not be calling you to a fast. He may be calling you to a feast!
For me, it’s a little bit of both. I’m leaving the technology behind for my daily quiet time, and returning to leather and paper.