Five years ago if you would have told me I would be susceptible to the black hole of social media and Netflix, I would have laughed. But these days I find myself increasingly formed by hours of screen time rather than God’s Word. I might spend ten minutes on Facebook or USA Today before I get out of bed to read my Bible. Or watch Netflix at the end of a long day in the place of meditating on Scripture. Or scan fitness blogs instead talking about God’s Word with my spouse. It feels harmless, yet these voices unconsciously shape me.
More than any other time in history, God’s people are distracted by endless cultural noise in our limited 24 hour days. When we give thoughtless hours to these distractions, something will inevitably get crowded out. God’s Word is often the first thing pushed aside. Entertainment isn’t evil in and of itself; rather it’s a gift from God if enjoyed in a way that leads to worship. However, if we don’t intentionally prioritize biblical formation above other formation, these outside voices will unconsciously shape us more than God.
HOW CAN WE RECOVER BIBLICAL FORMATION?
The Bible always has been and always will be formational for the church. God gave it to us that we might orient our lives, identities, and practices around the God who has spoken. Over and above every other word in our lives, God’s authoritative Word must form our lives, our families, and our missional communities. We must commit ourselves to not only hearing God’s voice but also submitting ourselves to obeying that voice. In a culture of endless voices ready to shape us in their image, we must fight to recover biblical formation.
1. MEDITATE ON A PASSAGE FOR FIVE MINUTES IN THE MORNING AND NIGHT
Psalm 1:1-2 depicts a man who delights in the law so intensely that he pores over God’s words morning and night. This practice shapes him in such a way that he becomes like a deeply rooted tree which yields fruit in due season. Every single one of us (regardless of busy schedules) could set apart five minutes in the morning and evening to reflect on God’s Word. What would it look like for you to build this into your daily routine? What changes need to be made to reserve ten minutes for biblical meditation?
For me it’s easier to read the Word in the morning and then zone out to TV/phone at night. I’ve set a cut-off time for all screens and put my Bible next to my bed as the only thing within my reach. I’m not suggesting this as a “legalistic” boundary, but I am sharing what’s helped create an atmosphere that enables me to prioritize the word of God over other distractions. Examine your routine, decide where you could prioritize God’s Word, pick a passage, and ask the Spirit to shape your heart and mind through the Word every morning and night.