Monday, January 27, 2014

Distraction, Priorities & Jesus Christ

By Julie Gernand
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).
The busy wintertime blues. I don’t know about you, but I have definitely been feeling the effects of “polar vortex” cold weather here in the Midwest, combined with a busy season at work that has left me feeling quite empty.

The devil is tricky. He has so many games that he loves to play and schemes up his sleeve. There is nothing the evil one hates more than a fruitful Christian with a strong relationship with the Lord. He will do whatever he can to take our eyes away from our Redeemer. And one of the devil’s seemingly favorite techniques? Distraction.

In The Screwtape Letters by the great C.S. Lewis, the author depicts imaginary demons, and the ways in which they try to deceive us. One of the demons’ tactics is written:

“Whatever their bodies do affects their souls. It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out...” 

Hmm. Keeping things out of our minds. Something we perhaps have never thought of!

Lately I have found myself plagued by distraction. My busy days have led into busy nights, and I have been waking up in the morning unrefreshed and unsatisfied. Worldly needs and wants have led me to lose focus on Jesus’s promises, and I have not been taking a solid amount of time reading, praying, and listening for God’s voice. If you have ever encountered a similar season, I’m sure you can relate.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2).

Our culture preaches the opposite of this verse from Romans. Our world is not only getting faster, but also more full of false promises. Our fast-food, grab-and-go coffee, workaholic, smart phone ringing lifestyles have the potential to get the better of us. We must realize when we’re being torn away from what is important. Why? Three reasons:

ONE: When we’re distracted, we cannot clearly hear God’s voice. Just like it is advised to never make decisions when we’re tired or hungry, we cannot make rational choices if we’re not actively speaking with God. Taking the time to pray through our actions and decisions, even the small daily tasks, will not only bring us closer to the Lord, but will help us to stay walking with Him consistently throughout our lives. Check in with Him today.

TWO: When we’re distracted, we don’t perform to our full potential. As haste makes waste, so too does distraction create less-than-stellar products. If we’ve taken on too many tasks at once, we risk spreading ourselves too thin and sacrificing quality for quantity. Jesus wants us to take pride in our work, and He desires for us to glorify Him with our actions and choices.

THREE: When we’re distracted, we are drawn farther away from Christ. We are always moving in one of two directions: toward Christ, or away from Him. Every day, and with each decision we make, we have our choice of direction on that path. The awesome news? Christ’s mercies are new every morning. He’s loved you since before you were even conceived, and longs to be close to you! Choose today to read from His word and talk with Him. You’ll be given a peace that transcends understanding.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus 
(Philippians 4:6-7).

Dear Jesus, Help us to see and hear you clearly. When the distractions and busyness of this life take over, help us to recognize when we need to sift through our priorities. Help us to always place you first and foremost on our to-do lists, to the praise of your glory!

Amen.

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