Texting-in-church

God time

“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment'” (Matthew 22:37-38 NKJV).

Two radio personalities, both avowed Catholics, were discussing their attendance at mass. One asked the other, “Does your conscience bother you when you check your cell phone for messages during mass?” The response was, “I leave my phone in the car; I don’t take it in with me.” The first person did not accept that response and again asked if there was not some guilt at using the phone during worship. Again the reply was that the phone stays in the car. But this time there was an additional explanation, “That (mass) is my God time; I don’t want it interrupted.”

To the vast majority of confessing Christians today, religion is a distinct element of life, usually kept well separated from other elements. There is family, work, school, recreation, rest, personal time, and oh yes, a little “God time.” Not only is religion considered distinctive, it is isolated and not at all interconnected with other phases of existence.

That is a major factor in the phenomena of contradictory behavior. One may profess faith in the Bible as God’s word, yet fail to follow its moral instructions – cursing, lying, and practicing dishonesty and immorality – without perceiving any problem. The fact is that the Bible is relegated to “Church” and is not perceived as having any application to the real secular world.

One has only to read Jesus’ answer to the lawyer’s question concerning the greatest commandment to recognize that this approach to religion is contradictory to his teaching. Rather we are to love God with all of our heart, mind and soul. That is not a part -time segregated approach to faith.

Christian faith is not just something we do, it is who and what we are. It defines us, and therefore underlies all of our decisions, our thoughts, and our behavior. Notice how Paul utilizes this principle:

“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:1-4).

The apostle makes it clear: if there is any validity in the gospel message it must affect our relationships. It must determine the way we view and treat others. Otherwise it is of no value. One cannot claim to love God and be indifferent or hostile to the needs of others. Another apostle stated it even more plainly: “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20).

This is true not only of love and relationships, but of every phase of life. Our faith in and love for God is all encompassing, affecting every aspect of existence. If it is genuine, it permeates our thoughts, speech, attitudes, and behavior. “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17). If we follow these teachings, all of our time becomes God time.

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Michael Brooks

Since 1988 Mike and his wife Brenda have been involved in foreign missions in South America, Africa, and South Asia. Beginning in 1999 they devoted full time to missions, primarily in Bangladesh and Nepal.

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