Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Pet 5:8)
Whenever I have something important to do, it seems really easy to get distracted. As I sit here and write this, you don't get to see what has happened inside of me for the previous several hours. I have meant to write this blog post all day, meant to be disciplined with my time, but it seems like one thing after another has set me back. When I first had time this morning, I decided instead to check the news and catch up on emails. That took longer than I thought. Then I decided to go for a run instead, but after gearing up and heading out, I realized that it was freezing outside. So I decided to wait for a few hours until it warmed up a bit. Then I was hungry. Then I had to go to the bathroom. On and on it went, until here I am in the afternoon trying to buckle down and write out what God has put on my heart.
Now sometimes this distraction is just us… lack of maturity, lack of self-discipline, and lack of follow through. It's easy to blame our own shortcomings on circumstances that happen to us. It feels a lot more palatable to attribute our bad choices to an external source that we don't have any control over, but the reality is that we are all responsible for our own actions.
However, there can also be another factor at work. There is a spiritual dimension all around that absolutely affects us. Whenever I do something really well and I am riding a high from that success, it seems almost inevitable that shortly thereafter I'm going to struggle with negative or destructive thoughts. I usually feel low, depressed, and like I want to do nothing but retreat from life and find some escape from reality. It's ironic, because you'd think that I would feel the opposite. For example, after I preach a really great sermon on a Sunday morning where I feel like I gave my all and people tell me that their lives are being affected by it, I generally feel really good. After all, this is part of what I'm spending my life on… trying to help others and have them grow. However, Sunday afternoon is usually an abysmal time for me. I usually end up feeling like a failure. I remember all of the things that I did that I regret, I remember all of the mistakes that I've made. I usually feel absolutely exhausted and unable to even get off the couch. This is a spiritual force trying to come and distract me from good works, to get me to focus on failure and exhaustion so that I won't keep pressing forward into being who God has called me to be.
You see, we have an adversary, the devil. The Bible calls him an enemy of God and an enemy of the people of God. It is his desire (and all of his minion's desire) to keep us from fulfilling God's plans and purposes. Distraction is a prime tool of his. As the Scripture at the top of this blog states, he roars around us like a lion, trying to devour us. However, if you have a relationship with Jesus, there is nothing that the devil can do to you unless you let him. This is why he runs around you roaring… he's trying to get you to focus on him, not on your relationship with Jesus. The more you're distracted by how powerful seeming the devil is, the more power and control you give to him. When you do this, your focus has been taken off of the true source of power and authority, Christ in us. You end up not acting in your redeemed nature (which Jesus has done in you) and the devil has gotten his way.
A lot of people have a worldview of God and Satan as equal opposites. One is good, the other evil, and they both have the same amount of power. Nothing could be farther from the truth. God is good and Satan is evil, but God is all-powerful and Satan is completely insignificant next to God. Therefore, if the devil can keep you looking at himself instead of the source of all of your power and authority (God/Jesus), you don't actually tap into the hope, the life, and the strength that you need in order to live fully. This is why distraction is such a key tool for our enemy. When we succumb to it, it takes our eyes off of Jesus and we are ineffectual.
The solution and answer to this is actually pretty simple in concept, but sometimes frustratingly difficult in actuality. All we have to do is come back into that place of relationship with Jesus and let Him minister to us in relationship. That's it. Stop looking at the distraction and instead look at Him who has saved us and changed our nature from darkness to light.
Maybe you've been distracted lately and don't know why. Maybe you feel like you're not accomplishing anything and your life is filled with one distraction after another. There is only one answer and one thing that you can do. Get your eyes off the inadequacies, the failures, the things that are wrong and instead look at Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. Go back to the basics of relationship with Him and what He has said about you, how much He loves you and the value you have in His eyes. Stop looking at the lion roaring around you and instead look at the one who is our Saviour. It's at simple and complex as that.
I hope that this has blessed you and ministered to you. If you want to know more about Jesus, who He is and what He has done, join us in our Alpha course online starting this Tuesday, March 16, 2021. You can sign up for it at rockhavenchurch.ca/alpha