Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you . . . how you ought to walk and to please God
— 1 Thessalonians 4:1 ESV

I've been thinking about the world's greatest inventions: The wheel, the printing press, the light bulb, the automobile, the flying machine . . . and Shazam.

  • Not Shazam as in "abracadabra, presto-chango-shazam!"
  • Not Shazam! as in Captain Marvel.
  • Not Shazam! as in a Gomer Pyle expression of awe.
  • But SHAZAM the mobile app that captures music you hear and returns it to you -- in seconds -- the artist, the song, the album artwork, and the opportunity to play it or buy it.

Shazam is amazing. The app sends "1 million clicks daily to streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music and others." And now the app itself has been downloaded more than one billion times

Shazam! That is exponential growth!

I really like Shazam! Next to my ESV Bible app, and HootSuite, I use Shazam more than any other app. The technology boggles my mind. I can be riding in my car or standing in a room, tag a song, and in 3 seconds Shazam! The app has processed the music, identified the artist, the album, the artwork, and delivered it back to my phone with the option to play or buy. It is amazingly accurate and sooooo fast!

I love "fast," but lately I've been wondering if all this immediacy is not hindering my walk with Jesus -- as in speed kills. Hey, if I can fly there in hours, drive there in minutes, microwave it in moments, and Shazam it in seconds, why can't God deliver the goods immediately -- like tomorrow or even today! ?

That's not the Christian life. Eugene Peterson aptly describes walking with Christ as "a long obedience in the same direction." In other words, you can't Shazam Jesus. Think about it:

  • Israel was in bondage in Egypt for 400 years.
  • Israel wandered in the desert for 40 years.
  • It took seven years to build Solomon's temple.
  • Jesus walked three years with his disciples.
  • Nehemiah and company took 52 days to build the wall.
  • All the greats in the faith hall of fame never received God's promises in this lifetime.

We are a people fond of quoting Jeremiah 29:11,

‘For I know the plans I have for you’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’

 We like Jeremiah 29:11. But do we realize what God says in verse 10?

This is what the Lord says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.’

"Seventy years. I didn't sign up for that!"

But you did. When Jesus said, "Follow me," it was on his terms not yours. Jesus' path is uphill. It is a serpentine trail with plenty of switchbacks. There are amazing vistas, but there are also plenty of long, dark, lonely valleys. Yes, he guides us, but his route is not always the quick and convenient. Sometimes we run, but most days we walk.

  • We walk by faith. 2 Corinthians 5:7
  • We walk according to the Spirit. Romans 8:4
  • We walk in a manner worthy of our calling. Ephesians 4:1
  • We walk in love. Ephesians 5:2
  • We walk in Christ. Colossians 2:6
  • We walk in wisdom. Colossians 4:5
  • We walk in the light. 1 John 1:7
  • We walk according to his commandments. 2 John 1:6

Walking is slow going and this is a long walk. Prayer takes time. Working through conflict takes time. Waiting on the Lord takes time. Being hospitable takes time. Serving others takes time.

There are no shortcuts to the Christian life so put away your thoughts of "Shazaming" Jesus. He doesn't work that way. Today, be willing to go slow today, to not have your prayer answered, to live with mystery, to be comfortable with quiet.

Be willing to walk with Jesus. But as you walk, remember what he said, 

I will never leave you or forsake you
— Hebrews 13:5

Lack of speed does not mean lack of presence. He is there with you!



  1. One billion downloads, see "Shazam's CEO Talks 1 Billion App Downloads And The Future Of The Brand," October 6, 2016. Accessed October 7, 2016.
  2. The app sends "1 million clicks" from "Shazam is finally profitable after a billion downloads," September 29, 2016, by Lora Kolodny. Accessed October 7, 2016.