Anyone who knows me knows that I am pretty easily distracted. If you don’t believe it, simply walk through the aisles of Hobby Lobby with me. I can go from deep theological discussion to “oooh, shiny!” and back again in a split second. If you’re thinking I’m like Dug from the movie Up, you would not be the first to make that connection. Squirrel! (If you’re confused, google it).
Now, most days, I can control the easily distracted thing pretty well. But, if a person knows that I struggle with distraction, it’s a tool they can use. My children both perfected at an early age the strategy of making me laugh when they were in trouble. And my kids in children’s church are masters at distraction! For the most part, these are benign distractions.
Unfortunately, there is one whose mission is to distract is more sinister. The devil, satan, the enemy of our souls, the liar and father of lies is always out to keep us from God’s will. He started early, in the Garden of Eden. He distracted Eve with a question. He used it to make her doubt. Then he led her right to sin.
The devil even tried his tactics on Jesus. When Jesus was hanging out in the desert, after his baptism, satan showed up to distract Him from His mission with temptation. Jesus resisted (more about that later.)
So. Back to me. I am easily distracted. And the biggest tool the enemy uses fits in my hand. In fact, it fits so well, it’s there all the time. Yes, I’m talking about my phone. With Eve and Jesus, first satan distracted then he tempted. For me, the distraction comes when I hear my phone. Or think I hear it. Or think I’m going to hear it. Then, the temptation can come when I see a notification. I must look at it. Now. No matter what’s going on. It grieves my heart to think how many important conversations I’ve pulled away from for the simple act of checking my phone. How many moments have I missed with family and loved ones? How many opportunities have I missed. All because I am so phone addicted.
So. What to do about it?
I woke up with the thought of my weekend away. Amy and I took a weekend trip to the mountains to see Beth Moore. At the hotel yesterday morning, I heard housekeeping knocking on doors, long before I was ready to have them bombard my room. So, I did what any seasoned traveler knows to do. I hung up the Do Not Disturb sign.
Are you catching my drift here? When the enemy comes knocking, we have a choice! We can hang up our Do Not Disturb sign!
Well, let’s look at what Jesus did.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:“‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. Matthew 4:1-11When satan came to Jesus, he used a tiny word to try and plant doubt, “if.” But, Jesus knew Who He was and easily put satan in his place with the Truth. He used scripture to refute what the devil was claiming. Then, He simply told satan to leave. And, He did! I think that’s a powerful model of how we can deal with the enemy when he comes. And, he will come!1 Peter 5:8 says, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” Notice this doesn’t say that he might be prowling around. It says, he IS prowling around.
So. What are your distractions? I can tell you some of mine. (I mean, besides my iPhone.) Pain. Sickness. Past sin. Heartache. People. The enemy can use anything to distract you. (Currently, he’s trying to use a wet, smelly dog to distract me from this blog!)
Now, how do we hang up our Do Not Disturb sign? Scripture. Just like Jesus did. Commit to memory the words to repeat back to satan. He can never stand against the Truth.
Is negativity your distraction? Remember Philippians 4:8. I really like the way The Message puts it. “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”
Is fear a problem for you? Try this one: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7, NLTAnxiety? “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7, NLTGot a past the devil is using against you? “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:16, ESVGot an addiction? (Yes, even to a cell phone.) “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,” Hebrews 12:1, NIVTruly, there is nothing satan can throw at you that you can’t resist, with the help of Christ.”We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Hebrews 12:2, NLTNow, get out there and make a difference for Jesus!Be blessed and tell someone you love them.