Copyright © 2007 by Robert Woeger.
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Publisher: Robert Woeger
Christians need to be aware of and avoid distractions, as they tend to inhibit the perfect will of God in us.
"...I speak for your own profit...that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction." 1 Corinthians 7:35.
All Scripture references in this writing are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
U.S. Copyright Office Registration Number TX0006817075. Registered on 11/29/2007.
The Danger Of Distractions
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. A distraction tends to cause the perfect plan(s) of God for an individual's life to be delayed or even aborted. Time sensitive things, which need to be accomplished, can often be missed due to distractions. 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.
Distractions take up time and energy that could be better spent somewhere else. The drain on productivity can be substantial. If our time is occupied with distractions, then something or someone is being neglected from having the benefit of our time, money, talents, and attention. Proper stewardship demands that we avoid all distractions that would otherwise steal from us and keep us from being productive for God, and to others.
Distractions may even rob us from being as close to God as He desires for us to be. God desires a close, personal relationship with us, but the cares of this world, and other distractions, can choke out our proper relationship with Him. Distractions which draw us away from God or God's Word must be avoided.
"And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful." Mark 4:18-19.
"And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction." 1 Corinthians 7:35.
The Source Of Distractions
Satan is the father of lies, and he often uses distractions to keep us from being as close to God as we should be. A lie is an intentional false statement. A distraction, concerning our relationship with God, is designed to use anything (person, place, or event) by way of deception, to delay or abort a plan of God for an individual.
Satan can hinder or delay people from properly and timely serving God. "Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us." 1 Thessalonians 2:18.
Our enemy, the devil, has sown bad seeds (tares or weeds) among us to to try to distract and choke us. "But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way." Matthew 13:25.
"He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." Matthew 13:37-43.
Beware Of Friendship With The World
"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." James 4:4.
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." 1 John 2:15-16. The things in the world are a distraction to the perfect will of God for us. We are to abide in, enjoy, and partake of all perfect things God has for us.
We Are To Redeem The Time Before Us, And Not Waste It Or Be Distracted
"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is." Ephesians 5:15-17.
"Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." Colossians 4:5-6.
Our time upon this Earth is limited. We must not allow distractions to keep us from the work of the great calling that is before us. "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work." John 9:4.
Woe unto them that are distracted and miss the perfect plan of God for their lives. We must run the race (of life) as to win. "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain." 1 Corinthians 9:24. "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2.
The ultimate prize or reward for those who successfully finish the race (of life) is spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 25:21 "His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."
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.
What follows in the below sections are descriptions of many of the common distractions that people fall into. They are presented here to be useful as a "checklist" for you to go through to make sure you are not being distracted by the devil and the world, thus preventing you from being fully effective for Christ. May you regularly be on the lookout for all manners of distractions. You might find my writing Radiance Requires Relinquishment helpful to you so you can relinquish everything from your life that is not pleasing the Lord.
Since the advent of television in the 1950s, people have moved away from seeking a deep relationship with God. Television has in a way become "our god," as many people devote much of their time, money and energy into their television viewing habits. Their favorite shows seem to occupy much time.
People have switched from using their minds actively, to passively "soaking in" the programming created by others, including the marketers of products and ads via television. God desires and longs to be discovered by us. That discovery requires an active pursuit of Him, which television, by its passive distribution, does not normally afford us. We should seek Him while He still may be found, and call upon Him to heal our land.
"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Isaiah 55:6-7.
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14.
Whether we are watching movies on the big screen at the local cinema, or at home, they have a tendency to provide a temporary escape from reality that some people crave. Movies, like television, may be harmful to young, tender minds which are open to suggestions and indoctrination into witchcraft, the occult, and sin. Care must be taken to preview the content of the movies through trusted reviews, ratings, and other means.
Movies may also be promoting an agenda that is contrary to the belief in the one and only true God and the Gospel. Christians should be careful what they watch, and what they allow their children to watch as well. Movies that promote sexual situations, hate, violence, the occult, or evil, are distractions which may lead some people away from the true Christian faith.
As atheism and other religions so penetrate our public schools, it is imperative to find other schooling options such as private Christian schools or homeschooling for our impressionable youth.
We can also get so wrapped up into education, and the seeking of knowledge or a degree, that we may be leaving God out of the equation. Only a truly balanced education, that includes the truths about God, should be desired. The curriculum of today is often laced with ideas and teachings that do not encourage a person's faith in God, but rather teach instead that man can do things without God. This distracts and can actually rob many of their faith.
Yes, believe it or not, people can be distractions. People can take up your time, talents, and energy, and serve to distract you as well. Have you every had friends or acquaintances that always seemed to drain or take things from you? You need to cut off anyone who is not supposed to be there, as they are leeches.
God has not called us to reach out to every man or woman with our time and money. If we did that, we would soon be broke, and likely overcome with despair. The world has more than enough problems, that we can only function properly in God, if we act as His hands extended to those whom He has instructed and assigned us to reach out to. The place of our assignment will be the place where God has provided provision for us to do His work. If we choose to go off on our own without seeking God's right assignment for us, we are then outside His perfect will, and are likely to fail or not be as effective as if we had followed His perfect will for our lives. People and situations can entice us, and give us the false idea that we are doing the true will of God, when actually we have been led astray by our own flesh, thoughts, and desires.
We need to not grow weary, or overextend ourselves, while we are doing service to others. We should do good particularly to those who are of Christ, always being led by the Lord in whatever we do. "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." Galatians 6:9-10.
We need to be careful with whom we get romantically involved. Getting involved with the wrong person can be detrimental to your physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual health! Marriage is to be pure and holy before the Lord. The acts of living together, fornication, and adultery are not to be options for any Christian! They only lead to destruction and separation from God (see Galatians 5:19-21). There are many enticements to lead people astray from God concerning romance and the flesh. The Bible has many warnings about sexual sin. For more about this important topic, see my writing Sexual Sins.
Picking the right spouse is such an important thing. Apart from accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the right marriage partner is the next most important decision in your life. They will either be a help and pleasure to you, or a nag and a noose around your neck. "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD." Proverbs 18:22. Always ask God for direction in finding the right mate, and seek truth above all else, for the enemy can send the wrong person into your life to deceive and distract you.
Conflicts and Arguments
When conflicts, arguments, and disagreements arise, we need to know how to overcome them the way God directs, otherwise we can waste much time, money, and effort in trying to resolve the matter(s). Frustration can also result from being involved in strife and conflicts. Settle any matter quickly, before the sun sets on your anger or wrath. For if you sin in your anger, you open the door and give place to the devil to come in.
"Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil." Ephesians 4:25-27.
Angels resolved conflicts: "Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee." Jude 1:9.
"Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:" Luke 6:37.
"For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God." 1 Corinthians 4:4-5.
We are not to go before the world for judgment over disputes between believers. God is clear about this. It is better to suffer the wrong than to expose it before unbelievers. What kind of testimony does this show? "Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren." 1 Corinthians 6:1-8.
Music was designed by God to bring people into His Presence through the worship and adoration of Him, who alone is worthy of the praise of men and of angels. The devil has perverted music with certain types of music that cause people to worship and pledge their allegiance to him. In the struggle over which kind of music people listen to, it is important to know that all music opens up the door and ushers us into some kind of spiritual realm, either to sin (kingdom of darkness) or to God's light (Kingdom of God).
I believe that is why so many people like music, as it helps bring them into a spiritual state of being. Music fills a void that we all have of worship. Unfortunately, the enemy is well versed in how to use his kind of music to separate people from God and to stimulate sin. We must therefore put on good, godly kinds of music that ushers us into the presence of God. The environment, including the music, that we permit to surround ourselves with, controls our attitude and our overall happiness. Music can influence our moods.
Music can even invite or expel evil spirits. An example is Saul calling for David to play music on his harp. "And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him." 1 Samuel 16:23.
We, as Christians, need to have pure music that worships God playing around us often to create a healthy, God filled environment of His peace. The wrong kind of music serves to distract us, and lead us from God.
As knowledge and information increase, there is a tendency for us to rely on ourselves, and our knowledge and reasoning abilities, instead of fully relying on God. People are taught to be self-sufficient and not to trust or rely on others, including God. Information provides a seeming cure to dependence on others. The phrase "knowledge is power" is often stated to show that as our knowledge increases we are stronger. The amount of knowledge we allow ourselves to be exposed to can overload and distract us if we are not careful.
God even limited Adam and Eve to not know what details the tree of knowledge of good and evil contained! I believe it is better to have a smaller amount of knowledge of a higher quality, that is God-birthed, rather than being overloaded and distracted with volumes of useless information that we could never possibly read. Bigger is not always better when it comes to knowledge. Our brains can only hold and remember so much material, so why not be a wise steward and fill our minds with God pleasing information and knowledge.
The wrong kind of knowledge is dangerous and can lead to destruction. God's knowledge truly leads to life.
In the Old Testament, God instructed Daniel about knowledge increasing in the end times: "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." Daniel 12:3-4.
We should be about declaring the knowledge of God to a lost and dying world: "Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place." 2 Corinthians 2:14.
As with knowledge, the Internet can expose us to either good or bad things. We must be diligent to guard our minds, ears, and eyes from anything that is not pleasing to the Lord. Also we, as Christians, must not engage in any illegal or immoral type of behavior, which is sin. This includes stealing music, e-books, or video files via illegal downloads, coarse joking, lewd conduct, or any other sinful behavior. We are to be ambassadors of Christ throughout the world (2 Corinthians 5:20), and that includes on the Internet. The Internet, like TV, is a tool designed to use technology, and is neither good nor bad by nature, but is measured to be good or bad by how people use, access, and program it. We always need to be careful what we do, write, and say online. Too much time or the wrong time spent online can distract us, and also be disastrous to us and our Christian walk.
Clubs, Churches, and Social Organizations
Even churches, clubs, and social organizations can distract us, and sap our faith, strength, and hope in God. Being involved in the wrong church or organization can really consume our time, energy, talents, and money, with which we could be doing more worthwhile things for God. Not every church is truly pleasing to God. There are many that go by the name Ichabod (1 Samuel 4:21-22), meaning the glory of the Lord has departed. When the Spirit of God departs from a church, the building that is left is a hollow shell of its former self, without life. We must always use care when picking a church to attend, or a group to be involved with, to make sure the Spirit of God still resides there, and has not left.
Apart from Jesus none of us can accomplish anything of lasting value, which includes the church. "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." John 15:5.
Without the Spirit of God moving in a church, why even bother going? We need to have churches that are connected to the true, living vine, which is Jesus Christ. Only then can we properly commune, worship, and be strengthened by the one and only true, living God through Christ. The Spirit of God won't strive forever where He is not welcomed. Is the church you attend still welcoming Him? Seek Him and you will find Him!
The Bible says "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." Ecclesiastes 9:10. We must redeem the time (as discussed earlier) to make sure that whatever we do is pleasing to God, and that we have accomplished the tasks that He has set before us to do. We must rid ourselves of all things that distract us so we can work.
"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons." Colossians 3:23-25.
"I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work." John 9:4.
"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" 2 Corinthians 10:5.
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Mark 16:15-16.
"If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." John 8:36.