Petty theft had become so prevalent in the Soviet Union that the government sent out guards and officers in factories to curtail the stealing. One evening at a timber factory, Peter Petrovich came out carrying a big sack of something suspicious on a wheelbarrow.
“Alright, Peter, what have you got there?” Asked the guard. “Oh this, it's just sawdust and wood shavings,” Peter replied. The guard, knowing Peter's character, was not convinced. “Oh come on, I wasn't born yesterday. You are not going to lie to me. Open up the sack!” The guard said. There was nothing else in the sack but sawdust and wood shavings. So he was allowed to carry it home.
When the same thing kept happening every single day of the week, the guard was utterly frustrated. He finally asked, “Peter , I know you are smuggling something out of this factory, please tell me what it is and I will release you.” With a smirk on his face, Peter said, “the sawdust is the distraction, I am stealing wheelbarrows.”
Such is the power of distraction and misdirection. The dictionary describes distraction as anything that prevents a person from focusing on something else. Think about it, haven't we tried to focus on God in our lives so much? But every single time something happens or takes away our primary focus to other things. We live in an age of unprecedented distraction. Since you are already reading this article on a screen, I don't need to elaborate more.
In the following paragraphs, we will look at some everyday things that can remove our focus from God.
1. Hectic and Busy Routines
Routines are great because they organize our waking hours and sleeping time. Organizing helps us to be productive and reach all our set objectives within a short time. Nevertheless, a person only has 24 hours in a day, and the busier we get, the less or no time we give to God. Far too many times, we squeeze God somewhere just to deal with our guilt.
Prayer is an integral part of a believer's daily walk with God. For two can not walk unless they agree (Amos 3:3).
Wealth is deceitful because it imparts false confidence in the security that it provides those who possess it. Money can buy the most beautiful bed, but it can not offer sleep. It can buy a house, but not a home.
Money is a servant. We must not forget the vanity of what money can acquire. People are willing to give up their culture, identity and even integrity to obtain material wealth that fades away. Yet, they aren't open to surrendering their lives to the one who gives real wealth (Mark 9:21).
Therefore we must choose to trust God to take us and not the money we have. Am I saying that we shouldn't go to work or earn any money? Not. However, the more attention we give to our love of money, the farther it pulls us away from God.
Religious and Church activities are also culprits of distraction. Most established worship centres have a series of unspoken rules and expectations. Some of these things are needed to establish order and structure. Still, if we aren't careful, we find believers pursuing excellence to get the Church's approval and not God.
Along the way, many people have been held in the merry-go-round of looking perfect in Church that they no longer go to worship God. The Church is not a place for perfect people; it is a body of believers who support, encourage and provoke true righteousness in one other. Let us make sure we are pursuing a relationship with God and not just beliefs.
4. Everyday Worries
Well, studied psychologists tell us that a person's basic needs are food, clothing, and shelter. But because of the greedy nature of a man's heart, we keep adding a few more items to our list of needs. We may be surprised how a smartwatch, luxury car or promotion may deter us from having a wonderful relationship with God? Well, it is because we have interchanged their order of priorities. Jesus in Matthew 6:33 teaches that when we seek God and His righteousness, all the other things we desire will be added unto us. People seek their “needs” with all their might, and they end up losing connection with their families, friends and ultimately God.
“Bad company ruins good morals.” We must not be consumed with our relationships that we forget, the part they play in distracting us from God. Take, for instance, you are trusting God to teach you how to trust him, but you still hang out with people who do not believe in patience. The results of this relationship will be self-explanatory. Friends are great, but when they lead us away from righteousness, they become a danger. Our relationship with God is of prime importance.
We are in the era of technology: Messages are sent across the globe in seconds. We are in the age of microwaves and fast food. And the media is more extensive than it was years ago. It is so easy to get lost in TV, social media, movies, etc. Its danger comes with how quickly people can consume it. Children and even adults nowadays are struggling with the filth that is on the internet. With a few clicks, you can watch any dirt and porn on the media.
7. Desiring the Blessing More than the Giver
Many have fallen into the trap of material wealth. We desire what comes from God more than the giver of wealth. The greatest blessing that we can receive from God is not earthly; it is more of Himself. He may not always answer the prayers just as we prayed them, but he promises to shower us with His unfailing love for all days.
The heart of a man left to itself is very wicked. A famous author in the bible wrote that his body was always acting opposite to what he wanted, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.”
There is always a constant battle between the flesh and the spirit. It is only God who can search and purify our hearts. Some people who have committed the most unspeakable things say that they had a lapse in judgement. This is a reminder that you are your worst enemy. Follow up or heart at your peril.
9. Doubts and Lies
The enemy is busy twisting the truth of the word of God to naive Christians. He approaches them with such gentility and humility like he did to Adam and Eve. Some believers get into wrong marriages because they are scared that they will never love again. The lies of Satan encourage a person to overlook the clear red warning signs in a decision to get what they want at that moment. Do you remember what he told Jesus while on top of the temple, “drop yourself and God will send His angels to rescue you.” The objective of these lies is to steal, kill and destroy. Do not be fooled by the distraction.