It is easy to become distracted in the fast and busy lives we live. Our world is full of distractions that pull us away from what is important to our lives NOW. Whatever we are distracted by keeps us from experiencing that which is essential, a consistent focus on, and relationship with, Jesus Christ.
Spiritual distractions postpone God’s intention for the present moment. It is a diversion, a derivation from an alternative source — spiritual distractions are rooted in Satan’s subtle decoy.
Spiritual distractions originate with Satan, and these distractions often manifest in one of two ways: environmental and selfish concerns. Instead, we must learn to focus on God’s spiritual presence. This identifies both the subject of what distractions are and where they come from and God being the solution.
Christians are tempted by the tempter Satan though the world and flesh. Flesh patterns of sin are one of the greatest distractions since we have learned to manage or operate our lives apart from God.
Environmental factors such as poor nutrition, unhealthy family dynamics, and social influences from the constant bombardment of negative media can affect our ability to focus on and participate with God. It is a fact that everything you see, think, or do will have an impact on your personality and on your potential future choices. As scripture states, as a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Prov. 23:7). “For the Christian, however, whom God has invited to live life through Him, perhaps the greatest spiritual distraction stems from the sin of self-centeredness or self-focus. How does this happen?”
The very suggestion of practicing the presence of God moment-by-moment almost seems like an overstatement to busy Christians. This illustrates just how spiritually distracted the average Christian really is from the ultimate and primary purpose for their lives. We usually think of distractions as coming from the world around us, but is that really the most common source of distraction for the Christian? After a more careful evaluation, we must admit that at the top of the list of distractions is the habit of being self-focused.
We all have a tendency for selfish concerns, but how does this become a spiritual distraction? Too many of us are stuck in our heads and are living from the soul with a huge number of thoughts swirling in our minds. Are you plagued by thoughts focused on yourself? Self-centered or self-absorbed thoughts? This kind of thinking can be a major distraction.
Maybe you have been plagued with thoughts like…
“I am a complete failure. | “My life is so bad.” | “I am not sure I have done enough.” | “My life is boring.” | “I’m too tired to do what’s required.” | “What do people think of me?” | “I don’t fit in?” | “I feel so guilty.” | “I worry about what people think of me.”
When negative, self-absorbed thinking gets out of control it can become an even more serious matter and result in mental/emotional disorders such as:
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (irrational, obsessive thoughts)
Anxiety Disorder (irrational worries that are usually situational)
Panic Disorder (negative thinking about health or the inability to escape a particular situation)
Social anxiety disorder (irrational negative thoughts about other people)
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder / ADHD (easily distracted and find it difficult to stay focused on tasks for long periods of time)
Don’t let yourself become your own greatest spiritual distraction. Our self-focused minds going simultaneously in multiple directions can and often keep us off balance and out of focus as to God’s will for our lives. When we are focused on ourselves, we also don’t show much concern for others (John 13:34) because we are limited by our own self-interest.
We certainly are bombarded by a multitude of negative influences. Regardless of the environmental or self-centered influences we are distracted by – distraction is the adversary of focus. We are all constantly tempted to pull away from a consistent focus on, and relationship with, Jesus Christ. As a result, we often find ourselves being tossed to and fro (Eph. 4:14) by the concerns of life. Distraction shifts our attention from something of greater importance to something of lesser importance.
Every Christian must be “on guard” (I Peter 5:8), for Satan, the tempter, knows right where to distract us with his negative humanistic mind-set. What we focus on and give ourselves to reveals what we love.
The good news is that God will use those distractions to reveal what is important to us and what is important to Him. God does not condemn us but rather loves us into a trusting spiritual relationship where we may choose to walk by faith experiencing His purpose, His Grace.
Grace is God doing what we are incapable of being trained to perform, and what only He is capable of doing. His grace provides for everything. Only by the grace of God would any of us be able to stand in the face of Satan’s distractions. When the apostle Paul was dealing with his “thorn in the flesh,” God’s answer to his prayer for deliverance was, “My grace is sufficient for you” (II Cor. 12:9).
Regardless of what Satan is attempting to distract you with, remember that God’s all-sufficient “grace (is available) for help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16). Satan’s distracting temptations of self-focus and selfish preoccupation will be overcome by God’s love that seeks the highest good for us and others.
Luke 10 contains a powerful story that illustrates how to overcome being spiritually distracted. It is the story of Jesus at Mary and Martha’s home. Mary “sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks…” (Luke 10:39-40).
Martha was distracted from His presence! Her problem wasn’t her doing, per se. Her problem was that she didn’t know how to “be focused” on Jesus. Any “service” that we perform that does not “flow out of” (is not derived from) His life is not service at all, it’s flesh! Boom, boom, Martha stomped in and says to Jesus, “Lord, don’t you care?”. (Have you ever said that to Jesus?) How did Jesus respond to Martha? Jesus entreats her lovingly: “Martha, Martha…” He speaks in an endearing way, and even though she was being obnoxious, He meets her where she is and gently takes her where she needs to go! Isn’t that beautiful?
The answer to Martha’s problem with distraction is Jesus. It is the place of “Beholding Christ” in your soul, I refer to it as the “Mary Place.” He knows your name as well, and He entreats YOU lovingly when YOU become distracted. There is a progression in our Lord’s response, as He brings it all down to what’s necessary. First, He told Martha,
“You are worried and bothered about so many things.” Then He said, “But only a few things are necessary.” The He narrows it down: Really only one. “…for Mary has chosen: the good part which shall not be taken away from her.”
What is “the good part”? It is being attentive to God. It is focusing on His presence. It is sitting at Jesus’ feet, giving Him full attention. Can you picture yourself there? Looking into the eyes of Jesus?
Where do you experience God? In the kitchen of activity? (Distracted) Or, focused on His presence deriving from Him? Don’t let the distractions of today destroy the peace and satisfaction that only come from sitting and resting at the feet of Jesus.
It is vital that we experience a relationship with Christ and not just a concept of Him. The key to saying focused rather than being distracted is choosing to walk by faith and allowing for the renewing of our-minds (Eph. 4:23). Our receptivity to God’s activity allows us to experience God in the moment instead of and in spite of our distractions.
Living the Victorious Life
Living the Victorious Life
Living the Victorious Life
Living the Victorious Life