Everyday life is filled with distractions. Daily goals are met with enticements and diversions that hinder or impede their achievement. Then, while slipping into bed, we review our day and roll our eyes over the many different directions our rabbit trails took us. Distractions once again sideswiped our well-intentioned plan to move forward in our ventures.
When it comes to our spiritual walk, distractions are a key strategy utilized by the devil. Whether he shoots fiery arrows of condemnation and blame in our direction or the enticements of the world call out to us, fellowship time with God is curtailed. The Bible warns believers to be alert and sober-minded, lest we find ourselves devoured by this prowling lion.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV)
John MacArthur sheds light on how to fight distractions.
“The more you focus on yourself, the more distracted you will be from the proper path. The more you know Him and commune with Him, the more the Spirit will make you like Him. The more you are like Him, the better you will understand His utter sufficiency for all of life’s difficulties. And that is the only way to know real satisfaction.” John MacArthur
Focusing less time on ourselves and spending more time in fellowship with God will accomplish several things:
First, our peace of mind will increase and our stress will decrease. Meditating on the faithfulness and love of God will build up our faith and remind us that there is no life circumstance hidden from our all-knowing God. Worry and stress are a distraction. Focusing on problems is a trap. Doing so will consume our thinking, and eat us alive, leaving us with no time or energy to meditate on things that are noble and pure.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)
Our time would be better spent by seeking God through prayer, asking the one who loves us most, to provide solutions and to direct our path. Then, through the discipline of self-control and patience, we must let go of our frets, trusting an answer is on the way.
Distractions also come in the form of pleasure. Taking a hike, going to a movie, shopping, getting a manicure, and having a leisurely lunch with a good friend are all pleasurable activities. But if they prevent fellowship time with God, they are distractions. Lunch with a friend is not a bad thing in itself. In fact, the Bible encourages us to fellowship with other believers so that we can lift each other up. No, lunch dates are not the problem. The trouble occurs when the cares of the world and the busyness of life cuts into our time with God. Carving out a set time to fellowship and focus on God is a good way to attack distraction issues. God needs to be a priority.
Distractions of the flesh are probably the most common. Sex, food, wine and a lust for money have made many a prodigal. But these distractions are manageable if we keep our focus on God. When we commune with the Lord, He will remind us that we are to live as aliens in this world. That home is heaven. To love the world is to be an enemy of God.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.”
1 John 2:15-16 (NKJV)
“And the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” Mark 4:19 (NKJV)
Another distraction many of us struggle with is ministry work. Many believers get so busy with church activities that they struggle finding time to be alone with God. A thought or word God would have revealed, had time been spent at His feet, is a grievous loss. We are to serve the Lord without distraction, but to do so, we must also learn to abide in Christ. A constant awareness of His presence, a continual lifting up of praise and worship, and a daily knowledge of His desire to speak to hearts will help to eliminate our struggle with distractions.
“I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways.” Psalm 119:15 (NKJV)
“And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.” 1 Co 7:27 (NKJV)
A steadfast heart is a loyal heart of devotion. It is focused and strong. It keeps a believer from turning aside to the right and to the left. The path before them is clear and by making God our spiritual “nerve center,” forward progress happens.
“Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left.” Joshua 23:6 (NIV)
If we want spiritual growth and maturity, we must consider our fellowship time with God. Is He a priority? Do we spend time meditating on His word? What distractions keep us from Bible study and how can we change things? Periodically, we all need some dusting off and a little spring-cleaning is always a good place to start.