The tag line of our devotional site is “Connecting Busy and Distracted People to God.” This begs the question, “If we are not busy with God, doing the things that God wants us to be doing, as seen in his Word, just what are we busy at?” Research says most of us aren’t busy doing very much at all. For example, in the United States, the average person who is not actively working (40% of America isn’t working), spends 6 1/2 hours a day in leisure activities including 3 hours of television watching. Even a person who is working still watches on average 3 hours a day of TV. The truth is that a lot of us really are not that busy with critical things. We are distracted.
Just what is distracting us? I could give a list of things that are obvious to most of us. I have already mentioned television, which is an example of something that can be good but is often misused. Other things like celebrity gossip following are not awful but have little edification value. And others like drug use and pornography have damaging effects that show our separation from God. However, no matter what our activities, we need to be alert. The apostle Peter says we have an enemy that prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour.
Most of us do not need an enemy always tempting us to waste the time God has given us. We are happy to volunteer as we go down three broad and well-worn paths. God warns us of these common paths in the book of First John.
- The pride of life. This one Got Adam and Eve who were living in a paradise. We get discouraged with the blessings already bestowed upon us and we want to elevate ourselves up to the level of God. We want others to look up to us and have our own kingdoms instead of desiring to be part of God’s story. We whittle away our time on things that bring attention to ourselves but are of little value to the Kingdom of God and other people.
- The pride of the eye. This where we get distracted by all the stuff. The latest this and that and what the neighbor has. Of course, stuff isn’t bad. Stuff can save your life. Stuff can bring great joy. Stuff can show our neighbor we love them. But it can also distract us, giving us a temporary focus that at first provides a uniqueness, and then wears off if its only use is to be a God in and of itself. In the western world, we are loaded down with lots and lots of stuff. Even the average person in poverty in American has three television sets and a cell phone.
- The lust of the flesh. This is where we get distracted by the things that satisfy our physical desires. A lot of these are very good things. After all, our God is a lover of pleasure and joy. Our enemy is not a creator. He is a created being very dependent on God, like everyone else, and takes the things God has given and twists them and misuses them. In addition, we follow his lead (most of us independently need little prompting from anything but our own selfish desires) and we misuse these things also, distracting us and separating us from God by things of the flesh.
The best way to move away from these distractions is to refocus on God. The Bible paraphrase “The Message” catches the spirit here in Philippians 15: 6-21.
So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it. Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites. But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.