Distractions come in many forms, but are always aimed at steering us off course. It’s important to understand that the devil is not concerned with what keeps us from completing our assignment. He just wants to ensure that it doesn’t get done.
1 Corinthians 7:35 I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible. (NLT)
Distractions can come packaged as enticing opportunities, urgent obligations, hurtful criticism, unanticipated problems, sudden clashes, fruitless relationships, and emotional issues that keep us occupied and off focus. No matter what form they come in, distractions are dangerous. We can even become too busy “for Jesus” that we don’t have time to spend with Jesus.
The Example of Martha
Luke 10:38-42 As they traveled along, Jesus entered a village where a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to His message. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations to be made. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord replied, “you are worried and upset about many things. 42 But only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Berean)
A distraction is anything or anyone that deflects our focus or takes our attention from the original purpose and goal (immediate or long term) which God has given. Thereby, creating a waste of time and of resources. As a result, we are now caught up with the turmoil of life, rather than the will of the Father. How long we are distracted depends upon how we choose to respond or interact.
The Example of Peter
Matthew 14:22-32 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowds. 23 After He had sent them away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone, 24 but the boat was already farfrom land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 During the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went out to them, walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately spoke up: “Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it is You,” Peter replied, “command me to come to You on the water.” 29 “Come,” said Jesus. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and took hold of Peter. “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they had climbed back into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God!” (Berean)
Distraction is a temptation to abandon God’s purpose in a given moment when we become apprehended by some type of deception that takes the focus off of our purpose.
The Example of Nehemiah Rebuilding the Walls of Jerusalem
Nehemiah 6:1-9 Now when it was reported to Sanballat, Tobiah, to Geshem the Arab, and to the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall, and that no breach remained in it, although at that time I had not set up the doors in the gates, 2 then Sanballat and Geshem sent a message to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together at Chephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they were planning to harm me. 3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” 4 They sent messages to me four times in this manner, and I answered them in the same way. 5 Then Sanballat sent his servant to me in the same manner a fifth time with an open letter in his hand. 6 In it was written, “It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel; therefore, you are rebuilding the wall. And you are to be their king, according to these reports. 7 “You have also appointed prophets to proclaim in Jerusalem concerning you, ‘A king is in Judah!’ And now it will be reported to the king according to these reports. So, come now, let us take counsel together.” 8 Then I sent a message to him saying, “Such things as you are saying have not been done, but you are inventing them in your own mind.” 9 For all of them were trying to frighten us, thinking, “They will become discouraged with the work and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands. (NAS)