Friday, September 30, 2011

Do you get distracted easily?

Trying to keep an infant distracted is an art mastered by most fathers. This is especially true when trying to soothe a crying baby or trying to calm her whilst mum is busy with other chores. I read somewhere which mentioned that the Greek word for distraction means to draw away. It is literally drawing away the attention from an original purpose, goal, direction, position, interest, or association.

Distraction is a powerful tool employed by the enemy of our souls in attempts to steer our focus and vision away from their rightful direction. It is powerful because all it takes is a small, minor distraction and before long, we can be miles away from pursuing the right goal in the right direction. Distractions come in a variety of shapes and forms and they usually 'visit' us unannounced through the subtle engineering of circumstances that do not appear to be anything out of the norm.

We are told in the Scriptures that the eye is the lamp of the body (Matthew 6:22). Proverbs 29:18 also tells us that without revelation or vision, we perish. The picture of Samson's eyes being gouged out by the Philistines speaks a thousand words to the discerning soul. He lost his anointing and physical vision because of his inability to deal with 'distractions'. His Nazirite calling and vocation appear to be perishing but in God's great mercies, we read of his penitent soul and an unexpected ending to his story. Perhaps, not as graphic as Samson's account, many today are also in the danger of being distracted without realizing that they have fallen prey to the crafty tool of distraction employed by the adversary. I just read from an email that I received a few days ago which highlighted the danger of distraction: -
We are living in the last days of God’s timetable for the world. We have no time to waste on any distractions. We can’t afford to be delayed, detoured or distracted from fulfilling our destinies. Even a short delay can be fatal to those following us, as well as to the generations at risk that will be impacted by us.

A few examples of how distractions can come in a very subtle manner are as follows: -

(a) an out-of-balance prosperity gospel teaching. If all we care about is prosperity and blessings (motivated by selfish greed), perhaps a fine tuning of our vision and focus at this juncture of our lives would be necessary to keep us re-aligned to God's purpose and calling for our lives.

(b) the popular, yet twisted teaching of grace. If grace is only 'viewed' as a means of enriching and pampering our self at the expense of God's holiness and righteousnes, such a lopsided emphasis of grace has become another form of distraction to many honest but gullible minds.

(c) an obsession of social and political concerns to the point of neglecting the weightier matters of the kingdom. We can fall into the danger of making light of the love of our God, as demonstrated in the sufferings and death of His Son.

(d) an obsession of physical manifestations including signs and wonders at the expense of the pre-eminence of Christ and glorifying God in righteous and holy living.

We are not denying that God desires to prosper His people and shower His extravagant grace on His people. In fact, each child of God has an important prophetic part to play in the earthly place and boundary God has placed him or her. Further, there is no doubt that there is going to be a mighty move of God in the last days that will increase the frequency and magnitude of God's awesome power through signs, wonders and miracles. But, keeping first things first is of utmost importance and when we put all our attention and energy on what seems to be "the good" in our eyes, we may miss out on "the best" of what God has prepared for us since "the good is always the enemy of the best." And "the good" becomes a distraction to us from having "the best."

Perhaps the more common form of distractions would be the day-to-day busyness of our routine lives. Sometimes, we allow the happenings in a day to edge out times set apart for God. We have somehow allowed circumstances to dictate our lives and little by little, we just drift along in life, being swayed by which ever wind that blows our way, having no sense of divine direction and purpose in life.

A time of shaking is coming to the nations and if we are constantly swayed by the various winds of distractions and our relationship with God is not firmly established in Him, we may not find ourselves in perfect peace when the perfect storm hits our shores. The Lord our God promised us that He will keep us in perfect peace whose eye (mind) is stayed on Him (Isaiah 26:3). We are also exhorted in Hebrews 12 to lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that is set before us. And we can only be on this path when we fix our eyes, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Christ Himself has set the example for us to follow. He could have been distracted by the deceptive snares of the devil in the wilderness. Or He could have easily been swayed by the attempts of His disciples to establish an earthly kingdom and overthrow the then ruling kingdom. But, we read that He kept His eyes on His Father and the mission His Father entrusted Him with.

It is not difficult to return to the place of undistracted stillness in our walk with God. Make time and space for us to bare our souls before God in sincerity and humility. Like a longing father waiting to embrace his wayward child, our Heavenly Father longs to embrace us and keep us in His embrace. In times of communion with Him, He will whisper in our ears the areas that require alignment and adjustment so that by implementing His instructions, we may once again be walking in the path He has prepared for us. Are you distracted? Draw near to God and you will not be drawn away.
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