I like using my phone for everything. When I go on mission trips, retreats, family vacations, or wherever, I can bring my one slim phone and leave behind my camera, video camera, Bible, and computer. I have access to all of that stuff on one device. At first, it was new and shiny to me, and I thought it was great. Then last year around this time, I started doing my devotions exclusively on my phone. It was easy. It was always around. I never forgot it at work. I even got pop up reminders to read my Bible from the YouVersion app, which was pretty cool. So I could never say, “I forgot to read my Bible today.” I had to consciously choose to miss it, and yes, sometimes I did.
But the thing about my phone is I get a lot of notifications, and I find them distracting. I’m told when it’s my turn to play a game, when someone tweets at me, when someone texts me, or obviously when someone’s calling me. I find this distracting. I would usually not leave my Bible app to tend to those things, but then it would be on my mind. My attention was split between what I was doing and responding, so I’d read faster and spend less time in thought. I noticed, so I quit reading on my phone primarily. But I still used YouVersion’s plans to remind me and tell me what to read. And there was my phone. Now I wasn’t looking at it, but it made sounds, it buzzed, it flashed lights at me. I had put down the phone, but I still knew someone wanted me to do something, and my attention was torn.
So I’m done. I’m going old school. No, I’m not pulling out my old KJV. But I’m going read the same Bible for the next three years, and I’m going to wear it out. I’m going to highlight it. I’m going to write in it. I’ll have a little binder with my reading plan and paper to write longer notes. I’ll keep my phone off or in a different room, so it can no longer distract me, and I’ll get more out of it then when I rush it. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to use a phone app to read your Bible, assuming you can handle it. But I can’t handle the distractions. I’m weak in this area. Would it be a greater show of strength to overcome my weakness or to acknowledge my weakness and avoid situations that enable failure? I’m going to try to avoid the possibility of failing.
So why three years? Because it’s going to be a kid’s Bible, and I’m going to give it to Jakob. He’ll be able to read by then, and he’ll be able to see that I don’t just tell him to read the Bible. I read it, too. Then I’ll take a teen study Bible and do it again, and I’ll give it to him when he’s ready. And then I’ll take a study Bible and do it again, and I’ll give it to him when he graduates from high school. For the rest of Jakob’s life, I want him to see that I’m reading the Bible, not possibly reading it or playing games or surfing the web. My Christian life is personal, but it’s not just about me. It never was, but it is less so now more than ever. I’m leading my son, and I want to more intentionally beat down a clear path for him to follow. I want him to be able follow me as I follow Christ.