1 Corinthians 7:35
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.
A distraction is anything that prevents someone from giving their full attention to something or someone as they should. In the case of a Christian, a distraction is anything that takes their attention and desire away from God and His plans for their life.
God’s Kingdom operates on time, and when we allow distractions to engage our time and attention, we often miss God’s perfect timing concerning people, things, and events. It is woe unto them that are distracted and miss the perfect plan of God for their lives.
What is your distraction? You know those things I’m talking about; they can be anything from a job, car, or movie, a magazine, yourself, or even church. There are so many things in this world that fight for our time…and when we allow them to take too much…well…we lose our focus. The answer is not necessarily to cut these distractions out entirely (in some cases it is), but to realize that they can distract us…and we need to keep them in check.
Lets start with Money… We all need it to live in this world, but we must not be owned by it if we are to be not of this world. Money itself is not an interference in our walk with God…the love of money is. I think the following passage sums this up quite nicely; Matthew 6:19-34.
So in a nut shell, if we trust God, He will take care of us. That doesn’t mean we should quit our jobs, or not earn money…we just need to realize that God is more important, and is far more capable of taking care of us than we are. Money might be the blood flow of the world, but it is not the blood flow of those who are in Jesus…faith is.
Another big one… the media. This is probably one of the biggest distractions for most people, including children.
It is so easy to get caught up in the media. And when I say media, I’m referring to the Internet, TV, movies, music, video games, newspapers, magazines…all of it! The media is so dangerous because it is so easy to get consumed in. Everywhere we turn, some sort of media is right in our face. And the worst part; it’s littered with filth. Almost every commercial on TV, and every advertisement on the Internet is trying to convince us that we are missing something, and they are the ones that can fill the need. Our young girls and women are bombarded by the media with how they should look, feel, and act…movies, music, TV shows…they all are horrible influences on us because they can subliminally tell us how to live, whats right and wrong, etc. And video games…some children and teens will spend hours. I could literally go on and on about the media, and how distracting it is. The key to overcoming the media is to be wise in what we watch, read, play, etc, and in how much time we spend with it. We should always be willing to give it up, and quite honestly, some of the things we indulge in (in the media), we need to give up. If something is pure filth, we shouldn’t be giving it any time to influence us, no matter how funny, sexy, or “cool”, it is.
Relationships… I’m sure you knew this one would be here. Every kind of relationship falls into this category; friends, parents, siblings, spouses, girl/boy friends, children, co-workers, bosses, etc. We can allow any of these relationships to distract us from God. It is our relationships that are our connection with the world, and it is our human nature to have them, but when we allow any one of these relationships threaten to become more important to us than God…well, they become a distraction. Remember, God calls us to love one another (1 John 3:11), so when we do, it is an act of obedience to God. But don’t forget about God in the process. We need to make sure we are giving God ample time everyday.
I would have to say the relationship with the most danger of becoming a distraction from our walk with God would be that of a boy-friend, girl-friend, or spouse. These relationships in their nature, demand the most time, and that is why it is extremely important that they are centered around God. If they aren’t, you will see your walk with God spiraling downward. In a dating relationship, don’t compromise your morals. In a nut shell, relationships are extremely important, but our relationship with God is of the utmost importance. Remember that!
Work, work, work. What a distraction this can be! And I’m not just referring to a job, I mean everything from a job, to leading worship, a bible study, or anything!
It is so easy to get caught up in our duties, but the most important thing is that we do it entirely for the Lord. They are to glorify God, not ourselves. That being said, sometimes the duty we have is not as important as doing something else. We always need to be flexible! This falls in line with routines as well. We can have great motives behind our work, but sometimes we let the work become more important than “listening to Jesus”. Listen and be flexible!
Desiring a blessing from God, more than desiring God Himself. It can be so easy to pray for a specific thing over and over again, but forget about spending time with God. This would be like asking for a promotion without putting forth any effort. Remember, its ”seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33), it’s not, first seek all these other things.
Dare I say, The Pastor. Do not become to dependent upon your pastor! This can be a really deadly interference in our walk with God. It is not our pastors responsibility to feed us all we need to be spiritually healthy…it is our responsibility. A lot of people fall into the habit of only giving God Sunday morning. This would be like only eating once a week! If we did this, we would be horribly malnourished! And sadly, this is the case for many. Our pastor is a, or should be, great leader, but he/she should only be that…nothing more.
Ourselves. Us. We are, by nature, sinful, and if we live by our nature, we will not get close to God. That is why we need to die to ourselves, and live in Christ (Romans 6:11). But no matter what we do, there will be a constant battle within ourselves between spirit and flesh (Romans 7:15-21). That is why we need to constantly allow God to search our hearts, and purify it (Psalm 139:23-24). The first step to overcoming ourselves is being aware.
Church politics. Church members get caught up in church gossip, church affairs, who has left the church, who is not living right, and who is trying to get more political power. Not withstanding how foolish all of these things appear to our Lord Who bought us; but it prevents the concentration on prayer in the house of God. It is a distraction that has destroyed countless people who desired to live for God but stumbled when they witnessed the testimony of God’s people moaning, desiring to rule, and gossiping.
Distractions serve to weigh us down, cloud our minds and thinking, and otherwise prevent us from obtaining the fullness of what Jesus Christ would have for us to obtain in life. There is a whole world of the lost and dying people out there to be reached with the good news of the Gospel. Do your part, as directed by the Holy Spirit, to reach those who are assigned to you. Avoid all distractions, and serve the Lord diligently.
Scripture of the day: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ~ Hebrews 12:1-2
From Pastor Peter Okereke Jr.
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