“We respond more to the beeps on our phone… than to the Holy Spirit.”
These are the words of a Christian missionary in Iran as she discussed leaving the safety of countries like the US, where religious freedom lets us share the gospel in relative security. Sharing the gospel in a country that doesn’t have those same freedoms—where following Jesus really means you are willing to give up your life—required total dependence on the Holy Spirit for leading and direction.
Not sometimes dependence. Not dependence in certain places, times of day, situations, or even for certain decisions. Total dependence. Living as a Christian in a place hostile to Christianity means anything can happen at any time and without warning. There is no safe place or time to be a Christian.
So she relied on the Holy Spirit’s direction every time she left her house, taught her kids, visited with strangers or even friends in the market place. Certainly, every time someone knocked on her door. She relied on the Holy Spirit in every moment of her life.
Reading her story gave me a strong dose of conviction. Do I respond more to app notifications on my phone than to Holy Spirit nudges in my soul? Do I jump to see what’s up every time my phone dings to let me know someone or something wants my attention, but silence the Holy Spirit because I’m busy in the moment or don’t think I need His input?
I know people who break out in a cold sweat at the thought of being separated from their phones for even the briefest amount of time. I guess they’re afraid they’ll miss something that could change the trajectory of their lives.
But how often do we go days without checking in with the Holy Spirit and think nothing of it? Talk about something that could really change the trajectory of your life.
When we stop hearing from a friend who normally communicates with us regularly, we worry something’s wrong and reach out to check on them. If we don’t hear from the Holy Spirit for a few days, we just assume He doesn’t have anything He wants to tell us and carry on with what we’re doing.
This missionary in Iran is tuned to notifications from the Holy Spirit with her every breath because she lives in a place where Christians are under attack. She knows the Holy Spirit can and will do for her what no smartphone ever could.
I feel pretty sure when I get to Heaven, God isn't going to say, “Don’t worry about missing out on what the Holy Spirit has been trying to tell you. I'm just happy you never missed a notification on your smartphone.”
Are the nudges from the Holy Spirit at the mercy of the notifications on my phone?
I certainly hope not, but from now on I'll be sure to check in with the Spirit more often than I check in with my Samsung.