The Well – Ruthlessly Eliminate Distractions- July 24, 2023
Weather report from heaven: Sunny and bright with an abundance of light, and lots of singing and rejoicing.
Scripture- “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
Insight: We must ruthlessly eliminate all distractions in order to achieve the purposes that God has for us. This is easy to say but hard to do because we live in a world where it is so easy to get distracted. We have information flying at us from every direction and everything and everyone demands a piece of our time. Sometimes when I sit down to accomplish a simple work goal, I find that my attention span is easily and quickly diverted to other things that may be coming across my email, or a streaming bit of news, or the kids wanting something from me. I literally have to laugh at how quickly I get distracted or I would go insane. It is hard to manage a task unless I have extreme focus and do not allow anything to get in my way, even if it means going to draconian measures like locking myself in my office until I am finished.
I think the same is true in our faith journey and the scripture in Jeremiah 29:13 is critical for us to be able to understand and implement. It says “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Sounds simple but in reality it is very hard to do. However, in order to actively hear from God and achieve our God given purposes, we must be ruthless in eliminating all the things that distract us from accomplishing our goals. We must seek God first above all else. We must understand that we are in a fierce spiritual battle ( Ephesians 6 10:-18 ), that we must be alert and aware of the threats that are always trying to bring us down ( 1 Peter 5:8 ) and that we must carve out alone time with Jesus for prayer on a daily basis. Why does the enemy hate so much when we spend alone time with Christ in prayer, meditation, and the reading of scripture? It is because he has no answer for that. According to Dr. Charles Stanley from In Touch Ministries, when we spend time alone with God,” our lives become more impactful for God’s Kingdom. We discover the joy, peace, wisdom, strength, security, and blessings of being with Jesus and He prepares us for life’s difficult challenges. We discover the deceitful nature of the enemy, and so we get set free from his bondage which makes us a threat.” Hebrews 12:1 says in part “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” So we must be willing to be real and ask ourselves what is getting in the way of our faith walk with Christ. What is hindering us? What is distracting us? What sin is entangling us? I have found Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, will always guide us and help us to see these things if we ask him. Then we must ruthlessly eliminate them from our path. What are some of the things in my life that hinders my walk with Christ? Allowing a myriad of lesser things to distract me and eat my time and attention. Things that won’t really matter in the end anyway. Things that promise contentment but lead to disappointment. My own agenda would be top of the list. It seldom works, but leads mostly to great frustration. Here’s what I ‘ve learned about that; We don’t make deals with God! My job is to ask for His strength to release these distractions to him. Worrying about the geo-political climate, or the stock market or my favorite sports team will add nothing to my effectiveness for Christ. I need Him to be the One I run to in all situations. Everything else is a distraction.
Prayer: Father God, help us to not be distracted by all the lesser things this world throws at us, and that the enemy uses to distract us, and instead let us be focused on your Son, Jesus Christ, to guide our path and to lead us to where we need to be. Help us to be intentional in seeking you first in our lives and give us strength to ruthlessly eliminate all distractions. Your word tells us to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” Help us to accomplish this in and through You as we are too weak on our own. We ask for this in the precious name of Jesus. Amen!
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