We grow up. We go to college (or not). We meet a wonderful person. We get married. We have children. We work. We play. We sleep (or not so much).
We watch TV. We play video games. We Facebook and tweet. We talk incessantly about minutae, politics, the market, the weather. We clean (or not). We cook (maybe not well). And the cycle continues.
I’m not here to condemn the moving picture box in all of our houses. Or the social media that generates a new trend each month. I think both can be effective tools and can have a place in our lives.
But, I am constantly on a path of challenging myself as to what is necessary or advisable in God’s eyes and what is just distraction.
I think that the greatest threat to our service to God, and Satan’s greatest weapon of this age, is not a cult, addiction, or adultery. It is distraction. For by distraction, not only are non-Christians neutral or oppositional to God’s goals, but many, many Christians are made wholly ineffective as well.
I should know. I lived a life distracted for many years. And I still battle it.
I followed the goals that this life sets before you. Education. Marriage. A Good Job. Children. None of which are bad in and of themselves. But the pursuit of them was the goal, not a by-product of my pursuit of God.
I don’t think God intended us for a stoic life absent of fun and laughter, but I am trying to be more focused on whether I am just filling my time with one distraction after another, waiting for “enough time” to serve God more fully. Don’t kid yourself, Satan will create one time filler or distraction after another. Today it is the best TV show, the best video game, the latest social media, and tomorrow it will be something new.
I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 9:24-27:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
When I am training for a race, usually a half-marathon, I train everyday for about 13 weeks. Training is not just the running; it is the healthy eating; not just the healthy eating, but the runner food eating; not just that, it is the stretching, the review of the course, the psychology of making yourself run for over 2 hours straight.
If the Christian life is like a race, are we not in training every day? Being in race training doesn’t mean I am never distracted by eating a candy bar, but it does mean that candy bars are a very small part of a diet focused on a good race. By analogy, I feel like being in the Christian race doesn’t mean we are never distracted by watching TV, seeing a movie, or reading a good fiction book, but it does mean that they are not the main part of our diet. We are not so distracted by them that we don’t remember that we are in the middle of a marathon and there is a finish line ahead.
I think the distractions are Satan’s way of making us forget that there is a finish line.
We are in a race. The distractions make us forget that we do not live on this earth forever. And we don’t know when our finish line arrives. We only have a finite amount of time to trust the Lord and to make an impact. Every day gives us a chance to serve, be obedient, and make a difference for the Lord in the lives of others. And every day, we get closer to the finish line, whether we are running a good race or a poor one.
Maybe I should tape my race numbers to my Bible, mark my race number on my hand everyday, or pin a race number on my chest. Something so obvious that I won’t forget the race I am running and the finish line ahead.
What are you distracted by? How much time do you lose each day watching the crowd or the pavement as the finish line grows closer?