On a recent trip to a leadership conference, I began to wonder about hearing loss. I saw people wearing headphones on the plane listening to their iPod, MP3 or DVD players. As I walked to baggage claim, it was staggering to see how many people were listening to something through earpieces or headphones, or were talking on a phone. During breaks in the conference I attended, I saw hundreds of people talking on their phones. It was rare, to see someone NOT holding an electronic device of some sort up to their ear.
The effect of music players, ear or head phones, or cell phones on hearing has been the concern of consumer protection groups, resulting in various complaints, studies, and lawsuits. Long term exposure to music at high volumes has been shown to cause hearing impairment. Concern about exposure to radiation emissions from cell phones is still debated. The larger issue is whether too much hearing can result in an inability to hear down the road.
We live in an increasingly noisy world – filled with noises designed to woo, sell, seduce, deceive, titillate, and desensitize. In a world of competing sounds, it is easy to miss the one voice that matters the most.
Read 1 Kings 19:1-12. The prophet Elijah just won a battle with the priests of Baal. But he began to listen to the threats of retaliation from Queen Jezebel and in fear, fled to a cave to hide. In the cave he was confronted with the deafening sounds of wind, an earthquake, and fire (v 11-12). Then the cave grew silent and the voice of the Lord – the only sound that mattered – broke through as a “still, small voice.”
If we are to hear God speaking to us through His Word, we need to pull away from the noise of society and the technology we use. Only when we learn to be quiet can we understand what it means to commune with our Creator.
The first suggestion on deepening your communion experience is to cultivate a heart and desire to meet with the Lord. If your habit of meeting with the Lord has slowed or even diminished, start fresh today. Mark out a time, place, and space to connect with God. Read (or sing) the Psalms out loud as you express your desire for God to Him.
If your habit of meeting with the Lord feels like it needs a makeover, try something different. I have been using the Ancient Christian Devotional this year – a year of weekly readings including prayers and comments on Scripture from the early church fathers. They remind us to drink deeply from Scripture, the only water that can give us true life.
Second, consider fasting from texting, Facebook, email, and answering your phone. I have found I need to have boundaries for the technology I use or it may enslave me. Turning my phone (and computer) off during my quiet time ensures a chance to meet with God uninterrupted. Just because your phone rings does not mean you have to answer it, either. Richard Foster has a great chapter on Fasting in Celebration of Discipline.
In your quiet time this week, make an effort to listen for the voice of God. To do so, you will need to turn down the world’s volume. You can make the adjustments in your lifestyle if you know the good it can bring. Grow devotionally. Wait on Him and listen for His voice.
Love is a verb,