What image does your phone go to when you push the “Home” button? What about your computer when you click on your desktop? In using our digital devices, we come in contact regularly with the concept of a default screen. This is the screen that our devices go to when they are not operating an application or some other function. If we were to inspect our lives with a small amount of introspection, I think that we would find that in addition to the default screen on our digital devices, every person has a mental default screen that they go to when they are not engaged in a task (or even sometimes while they are engaged in a task). For some, this default is sports. While reading a book, they can’t keep their mind from resetting to the default screen of sports. At the dinner table, when the conversation lulls, their mind returns to the default screen of sports. When they are in the car headed down the road, their mind defaults to sports.
Different people have different defaults, and often the defaults are a direct representation of a person’s life and passions. What are your defaults? Where does your mind go when you are supposed to be engaging in conversation with your family members? What do you default to when you are supposed to be working? Everyone has a default, it is just a matter of inspecting your heart to see what yours is. Typically, the thing we value the most, or the thing we desire the most is our default. Often, if we have idolatry in our lives, it will reveal itself in the obsession of our minds. Like a moth drawn to the irresistible glow of a porch light, we return constantly, mindlessly, out of default to the same thing over and over.
As we read Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus, we see a couple of defaults in his life. These were things that mattered so much to him, that when he was speaking, or writing, or teaching, he would default to them. Some might imagine that he was merely following a rabbit trail away from the main point, but for Paul, his default was not a tangent thought, instead it was the motivating thought of his life. His identity and purpose were summed up in the default screen of his life. In Ephesians 1:16, we see that one of the defaults of Paul’s life was to pray constantly for the other believers around him. The prayers that he offered up were deep and meaningful prayers as well. With a heart that saw the eternal as far more valuable and important than the temporal, Paul prayed especially for the spiritual needs of the church.
In his explanation of his constant praying for other believers, Paul revealed another default screen of his life. As Paul encouraged the believers with the reality that he was praying for them, he moved on to explain that the power and understanding that he desired for God to grant them, was only made available through Jesus. After mentioning such a distinct truth and clarifying the source of all power and help, Paul expanded this other default – praise and wonder at the nature of Jesus. Without missing a beat, at the mention of Jesus, Paul couldn’t help but proclaim the awesomeness of Jesus. Here we see the truth about the authority granted to Jesus by God following his resurrection. Jesus suffered and died, but when he rose on the third day, he was exalted and lifted high above all things and set as ruler and Lord over all. What an incredible default mindset! Instead of sports or hunting or clothes, Paul defaulted to the praise and worship of God. We would do well to see the default of Paul’s heart and pray that God would help us calibrate our defaults to matters of such eternal importance.
Reflect: Read Colossians 3:2. What phrase does Paul use in this text to admonish the believers in Colosse to set their default screens correctly?