Isn’t it hard to keep focused on God? I have tried so hard throughout my life to stay focused on Him. I so often say “this time I won’t fail”, but at one point or another, something always clips me from behind, and keeps me from exceeding!! Why?!
Well, I think it has to do with what we allow into our lives that can distract us from God. Not all of these things are “bad” in their nature…in fact, a lot aren’t, but they become a problem when we allow them to distract us from looking at, and to God. You know those things I’m talking about; they can be anything from a job, car, or movie, to fantasy football, Xbox Live, a magazine, or even church. There are so many things in this world that fight for our time…and when we allow them to take too much…well…we lose our focus. The answer is not necessarily to cut these distractions out entirely (in some cases it is), but to realize that they can distract us…and we need to keep them in check.
In the following paragraphs, I have listed 10 common things that can interfere with our walk with God.
Money. I’m sure you all could have guessed this one would be on this list. Unfortunately the world and those in it believe we need it to live in this world. If you thought hard enough, you’ll know that this is not true. We must not however, be owned by it if we are to be not of this world. Money itself is not an interference in our walk with God…the love of it is. I think the following passage sums this up quite nicely (its long, I know…but when I read it, I felt all of it applies to this topic): Matthew 6:19-34
19 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
So in a nut shell, if we trust God, He will take care of us. That doesn’t mean we should quit our jobs UNLESS God directs you…we just need to realize that God is more important, and is far more capable of taking care of us than we are. Money might be the blood flow of the world, but it is not the blood flow of those who are in Jesus…faith is.
Another big one; the media. This is probably one of the biggest distractions for me personally right now….I mean, just the other night, I realized I haven’t spent that much time praying this week…but instead of going and praying, I said to myself I’ll do it later because Star Trek (re-runs) are on and Perry Mason comes shortly thereafter.
It is easy to get caught up in the media. And when I say media, I’m referring to the Internet, TV, movies, music, video games, newspapers, magazines…all of it (broad, I know…but hey, I’m only making a list of 10 things here, so I can be a bit broad, right?). Like I said before, the media is dangerous because it is so easy to get consumed in it. Everywhere we turn, some sort of media is right in our face. And the worst part; it’s littered with filth.
Almost every commercial on TV, and every advertisement on the Internet is trying to convince us that we are missing something, and they are the ones that can fill the need. Our young girls and women are bombard by the media with how they should look, feel, and act…movies, music, TV shows…they all are horrible influences on us because they can subliminally tell us how to live, whats right and wrong, etc.
And video games…ahh, video games….give people the right one on the right week, and they won’t spend a free second with God.
I could literally go on and on about the media, and how distracting it is. The key to overcoming the media is to be wise in what we watch, read, play, etc, and in how much time we spend with it. We should always be willing to give it up, and quite honestly, some of the things we indulge in (in the media), we need to give up. If something is pure filth, we shouldn’t be giving it any time to influence us, no matter how funny, sexy, or “cool”, it is.
Church, or religion. Believe it or not, these can be HUGE interference in our walk with God. Church does not do this intentionally, (Albeit, there are exceptions) but we can easily let it hinder our relationship with God. Why? The main reason I see is that it can be easy to pursue church, and beliefs about God, but forget to pursue God Himself. It is easy to go to church to…well…go to church, when the real reason we should be going church is to refuel for our week by coming together with fellow believers to worship and meditate on God hopefully on the same page about things.
Also, somewhere along the way, at so many churches, people have gotten the idea that we need to pretend to be perfect at church. That if we show our weaknesses and struggles, we’ll become outcasts…and since so many people parade around in this stained glass masquerade, if one person does reveal their weaknesses, they’re easily looked down upon. This is opposite of what church is supposed to be. Church is really the body of believers. We are supposed to help each other, hold each other accountable, pray for each other, and love one another!
To keep church from becoming a distraction from God, make sure you are pursuing God before pursuing “beliefs” about Him, or church/religion. We need to get past religion and into a relationship. It starts with you! Love your brothers and sisters, be open to people, and DO NOT CONDEMN others when they fail!! Condemn the sin, not EVER a repentant brother or sister.
Relationships. I’m sure you knew this one would be here. Every kind of relationship falls into this category; friends, parents, siblings, spouses, girl/boy friends, children, co-workers, bosses, etc. We can allow any of these relationships to distract us from God. It is our relationships that are our connection with the world, and it is our human nature to have them, but when we allow any one of these relationships threaten to become more important to us than God…well, they become a distraction. Remember, God calls us to love one another (1 John 3:11), so when we do, it is an act of obedience to God. But don’t forget about God in the process. We need to make sure we are giving God ample time everyday. We were created for His pleasure, not our own.
I would have to say the relationship with the most danger of becoming a distraction from our walk with God would be that of a boy-friend, girl-friend, or spouse. These relationships in their nature, demand the most time, and that is why it is extremely important that they are centered around God. If they aren’t, you will see your walk with God spiraling downward. In a dating relationship, don’t compromise your morals.
In a nut shell, relationships are extremely important, but our relationship with God is of the utmost importance. Remember that!
Routine. This is a common thing I allow myself to get distracted by all the time. The most important thing is that spending time with God should be in your routine! Far too often do we just squeeze God in when we have down time (I am extremely guilty of this). Its so easy to get caught up in all the things we have to do, like work, posting (blogger) on the internet, eat, sleep, etc. I often find sleep getting in the way! I mean, if I didn’t spend that extra hour sleeping in, I would have a whole hour with nothing to do but seek God!
So make sure spending time with God is a part of our routine. And also, make sure you are willing to abort your routine, and let God have complete control.
Work, work, work. What a distraction this can be! And I’m not just referring to a job, I mean everything from a job, to leading worship, a bible study, or anything! I personally have often allowed this site and my websites to become a distraction from God. I want it to bless people, I want it to look good, I want it…I…I..I…but all that I should really be worrying about is that I am doing it as God wants me to, if I do that, He’ll take care of the rest. I love this following Scripture:
38 “Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. 40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” -Luke 10:38-42
It is easy to get caught up on our duties, but the most important thing is that we do it entirely for the Lord. They are to glorify God, not ourselves. That being said, sometimes the duty we have is not as important as doing something else. We always need to be flexible! This falls in line with routines as well. We can have great motives behind our work, but sometimes we let the work become more important then “listening to Jesus”. Listen and be flexible!
7. Our Hobbies
Hobbies. I love hobbies! I have a huge rang of them; from fixing things, doing research, to cooking, and watching movies, digital photos, and numerous other outdoor enjoyments. The dangerous thing about them is that they can consume a lot of our time. A great way to keep them in check is to do them with God in mind! Like worshiping God with music. Also, we can play video games or sports, etc. with people to develop relationships. Having hobbies is a great way to get yourself around people to be a godly influence…so keep that in mind.
8. Desiring a blessing from God, more than God Himself.
Desiring a blessing from God, more than desiring God Himself. I have to be honest, this is easy to fall into, at least for myself. It can be real easy to pray for a specific thing over and over again, but forget about spending time with God. And FYI, we should NEVER ask God over and over about a topic, everyone that asks, receives. When you are repetitive, that doubt.
Anyway, and example: would be like a husband wanting that special “perk” he gets from his wife, without wanting to give any time to other parts of their relationship. Remember, its “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you. ( Ref Matthew 6:33), its not “first seek all these other things” Amen or oh me?
9. The Pastor
The Pastors! What!? Whats this doing on the list!?…Well, to your relief, I don’t mean your pastor exactly (at least I hope not). What I’m referring to is becoming dependent upon your pastor- this includes the TV ministers; that for the most part, as I have seen are not teaching proper doctrines. See the following video here > V I D E O
This can be a really deadly interference in our walk with God. It is not our pastors responsibility to feed us all we need to be spiritually healthy…it is our responsibility. A lot of people fall into the habit of only giving God Sunday morning and those false ministers on the boob tube. This would be like only eating once a week! If we did this, we would be horribly malnourished! And sadly, this is the case for many spiritually. The pastor is a, or should be, great leader, but he should only be that…nothing more.
Ourselves. Us. The last one on the list of distractions, and possibly the most likely to distract us. We are, by nature, sinful (the old man’s left over resin), and if we live by the old man’s nature, we will not get close to God. That is why we need to die to ourselves, and live in Christ (Romans 6:11). But no matter what we do, there will be a constant battle within ourselves between Spirit and flesh (Romans 7:15-21). That is why we need to constantly allow God to search our hearts, and purify it (Psalm 139:23-24). The first step to overcoming ourselves is being aware.
So there we have it. A list of 10 common things that can distract us from God. There are more that could be added to the list, or somewhat in the lists here already; but suffice to say, these are the BIG one’s.
It is a constant struggle to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, and to not become distracted by the passing concerns and things of this world. But if we are aware of what can, and does, interfere with our walks with God, we can begin to take the necessary actions to prevent them. Remember, seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you (Matthew 6:33), let God take care of the rest. Do your part, and I know He’ll do His!
Have a great Sunday!