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We were riding to church on a cold morning recently and my son asked me what my last name was before his dad and I got married. I was deep into explaining the importance of keeping my maiden name in my new married name when he interrupted, “I just saw a dog’s breath in the air!”
In a moment’s notice, he went from caring to hear about our family history to watching a dog breathe in the cold air. I was shattered!
But aren’t we all like this? Especially this time of the year if you’re reading this in January. We can be so focused on our New Year’s Resolutions. We’re hitting the gym, reading our Bible, eating better. Until we get distracted.
This is one of Satan’s favorite tools to use against God’s people: distraction. He may not get us to curse someone out or lie to your spouse, but he can get us distracted. His first recorded deception is of him distracting Eve from what God said.
When we get to heaven, I think Eve is going to go off on everyone who’s used her as an example of distraction. But we’re the same. God instructed them not to eat from one tree. God has given us instructions that we gloss over all of the time. Instructions regarding our finances, health, children, we take as optional suggestions.
I have a few ways that often distract us from giving God our best yes. And you know how I roll; they all start with S! Remember, there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes???) so The enemy just revamps things as times change.
Social Distractions – You had to know it was coming! Never in the history of man have we actually been able to carry distractions everywhere we go. When I’m talking about social distractions, I’m referring specifically to social media.
YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok and whatever else is out there or coming has stolen so much time from people. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been sitting at a table with people and instead of engaging in conversation, they are scrolling.
We are so concerned with what everyone is doing when as people of Faith, we should be worried about what God is doing. Paul tells us in “to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,” (1 Thessalonians 4:11 NIV). But social media encourages us to do the exact opposite. We are in other people’s business and not working with our hands. I guess swiping could be considered work by the scientific definition but I’m not going there!
Aaron, the first priest of Israel and brother of Moses, had a major social distraction. In Exodus 32, he was so concerned with what the people wanted that he helped create a golden calf for them to worship. When Moses was taking too long on the mountain talking to God, Aaron collected their gold jewelry and melted it to form a calf to serve as their god.
When Moses came down from the mountain, he said to his brother “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?””
(Exodus 32:21 NIV) I love Aaron’s response in the next verses! He blamed the people and then lied. Really, you should read the Bible. It can be hilarious!
But isn’t that what Eve did? Isn’t that what we do? We rarely take responsibility for our distractions. We try to justify them or make excuses. My pastor from my previous church would say an excuse is a dressed lie with a hat on.
I’m currently practicing a time of fasting and prayer and one thing I cut out in addition to coffee, meat, sweets and intimate relations is social media and TV. I’m already not a huge consumer of either but I can get sucked in rather quickly if I allow myself. But by putting those things aside for a period, I’ve found myself talking to God more and in his word.
Schedule Distractions – Here is a sample of an average day for me in November 2019:
- 7am- Kids to school
- 8am husband to work (we had one car for 4 months!)
- 8:30-11:30 Work at coffee shop
- 11:45-12:45pm School Organization meeting
- 1-2pm work out
- 2pm pick up kids
- 3pm Cook dinner and clean
- 5pm Showers for church or rehearsal
- 6pm Church or rehearsal
- 7pm Church or rehearsal
- 9pm Veg on couch until I can get upstairs
I was busy and overwhelmed and this didn’t include gymnastics and birthday parties and my stuff! But I recognized it. I began to trim back my schedule until I wasn’t busy and overwhelmed anymore. I cut out extra things I was involved in that didn’t fulfill me or add value to where I was going until all that was left was what was essential.
Busyness isn’t a new problem. When Jesus was visiting his friends in Luke 10, one sat at his feet listening to him while the other bustled around in busyness. She was so busy serving the Lord that she didn’t have time to sit with him. She was so busy preparing that she didn’t stop to praise the one she was preparing for.
I don’t know what your schedule is like but I can almost bet there are things in it that are not benefiting you. I’ve learned I don’t have to go to every party and I don’t need a reason why. Our schedules should work for us, not us for them.
Take a look at your current schedule. If you don’t have time to do things for God and for yourself, it’s too full. I heard this quote “If you are too busy to pray, you are busier than God wants you to be.” -Wanda Brunstetter.
Satisfaction Distraction – We all want to feel comfortable and satisfied but when our satisfaction distracts us from saying yes to God, something is wrong. I live in Green Bay Packer country in Wisconsin. I’m not lying when I say that our church has less attendees on the Sundays the Packers play. Some people are just more interested in being entertained than coming to worship. Its mean but it’s true.
We satisfy our desire for more sleep by skipping our morning prayer time. We satisfy our desire for sugary snacks by choosing a cupcake over an apple. We satisfy our desire for worldly materials by going into debt for things we don’t need rather than managing our money well. Every day we make choices based on what will satisfy us, not on what will sustain us.
But the Bible tells us these things will never satisfy us, only God can. “You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.”
(Psalms 145:16 NIV)
But don’t feel bad. I’m certainly not trying to make you feel that way. I just want us to be aware of the traps we can easily fall into when we take our eyes off of Jesus. Paul had to correct the church at Corinth for the same things. But they were really going crazy!
The Corinthian church was full of new believers who were leaving an old way of life for a new life in Christ. But they were struggling! They were suing each other, people were creating divides based on spiritual positioning, and they had some major sexual immorality going on!
Paul corrected this church and let them know that while being satisfied is not necessarily a sin, not everything we do to satisfy ourselves is helpful.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 1 Corinthians 10:23
I ran across a wonderful acronym just this week. Think before you speak. And for our use, I’ll say think before you speak or do.
- TRUE- Is it true?
- HELPFUL- Is it helpful?
- INSPIRING- Is it inspiring?
- NECESSARY- Is it necessary?
- KIND- Is it kind?
Let’s agree to not let distraction rule over us in 2022. Examine your life to see what area you struggle most in and ask God to help you set boundaries so you can give him your best yes.