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Yesterday, I watched a replay of Pastor Jamal Miller's video "God, Deal With My Other Lovers" in the Married and Young 5 Day Challenge group (TODAY is the last day to join the challenge! Click here to join!). I didn't catch the broadcast when it was live, but it felt like it was just for me. In the message, Jamal talked about how we all have other lovers that threaten to take up too much space in our hearts...space that only God is supposed to occupy. He explained that we may not be having sex with these "other lovers," but we are still physically invested in them. Whether we realize it or not, we literally and figuratively take these other lovers to bed with us. They abide in our minds and hearts. At first, I thought, Okay, I'm good. I definitely don't have any other lovers. I've never even been on a date. I didn't think the message applied to me until Jamal said that his "other lover" was marriage. He became so obsessed with marriage that he pursued it harder than he sought God...and he even started praying more--in an unhealthy way--to use God and church as a means to get it. Wait a minute, I thought. These lovers aren't always people? Uh oh. Suddenly, I knew what my other lover was--my cell phone.
You probably think that's crazy, right? Well, you're right, it is, but let me explain. I've had a cell phone since 2006. I was 12 years old. Back then, all I used it for was calling my mom, grandparents, and a handful of close friends. As technology evolved, I joined MySpace, then Facebook, then Twitter, then Instagram...and I've kept the latter 3 in my pocket and beside my bed for several years now (and November 2016, I added this blog to the mix, so I'm on my phone even more now). I find myself checking my phone every 2 minutes or so, and I get overly excited when I hear the "ding" of a text message or other notification. My phone is the first thing I pick up in the morning and the last thing I put down at night. I have a Bible app on my phone, but I don't utilize it nearly as much as I should. To be honest, I was spending more time with my phone than I was with God. I had to break the habit.
As I get older, I'm learning that if I'm expecting God to move, I need to show Him how important He is to me. Usually for me that means amping up the praise and worship, but this time, I felt like I needed to do more. As I shared in a previous post, from Tuesday to Thursday of last week, I did my first fast ever...a fast from my phone. I turned my phone off for four hours each day (baby steps 😂). But seriously, I cut out distractions and gave God more of my time, and I've seen a drastic change in my prayer life in such a short time. He sacrificed His life for us. The least I could do was give up something small for Him. No text, tweet, status, or post will ever be more important than hearing from God. He deserves more of me...more of all of us. That brief phone fast taught me a lot of things. It showed me that I don't need my phone as much as I thought I did, and it showed me that above all, I need God more than anything. Tomorrow is the official start of the 5 Day Pray For Your Future Spouse Challenge, and I want to make sure I'm ready. Let us pray:
God, as we begin this challenge, help us to understand that while we should pray with our future spouses in mind, our primary goal is to grow closer to You. During our prayer time(s), help us to put down our phones and cut out distractions, focusing not just on our desire for marriage, but our desire to be filled and used by You. Help us to pray earnestly and unselfishly, thinking beyond just physical characteristics we look for in a mate. Guide us to request only the character traits of a spouse who is led by You and who worships You wholeheartedly; and through their worship of You, may they also honor us. In the five-day span of this challenge, equip us to effectively cover our spouses in every area of their lives, even if we haven't met them yet, and help us to continue covering them all throughout our married lives. As you perfect the hearts that are meant to love us, perfect our hearts and turn them toward You so that we may be used for Your glory in singleness and in marriage. Let our lives and our unions be a reflection of who You are.
In Jesus' name,
For a recap of the previous message shared in the challenge group, click here.