The Devil Is In The Distractions

The Devil Is In The Distractions


We are a very distracted people.  We have enough forms of technological communication available to us, that we can quite literally amuse ourselves to death, that is, until we die.  It is easily and ridiculously possible to go through our whole life, deflecting every present moment, so that we actually miss the point of it all.  The more tasks we assign ourselves, the more errands we run, the more internet we surf, the more people we meet with, the more problems we give energy to (our own as well as other’s), the faster our days seem to slip by us.  Our life is but a vapor, yes, here one minute and gone the next, but we can enjoy and live fully into every second of that God-given vapor.  Yet we allow ourselves to be distracted from the means of doing so.


The enemy wants to keep us from intimacy with the Father.  Could this be his main objective, to keep us from the only true source of power and joy?  To keep each of us little branches cut off from the Vine?  Why would it not be?  I can scarcely think of a more effective strategy for victory if I were in his shoes.  The devil knows he cannot touch our soul or our salvation, so what he does seem to focus so much on is distracting us away from connecting to what will make us effective in the lives of others, and away from living the life of victory and joy promised and available to us, if only we believe and take hold of it.  This he does by tempting us to keep busy with hurrying and worrying and not connecting.  Satan, an angel turned devil, has no fear of mere human natural power, for he is supernatural.  But he knows he is no match for God, who created him, or for totally surrendered Christ followers through whom flow Yahweh’s power.  Therefore, he does what he can (and is allowed) to keep us away from pursuing what is life giving to us, and Kryptonite to him-the Word of God.


We can picture here interrogation 101 techniques.  What is the first thing you do when questioning two or more people?  You separate them. You isolate them, therefore weakening them.  Then you talk to them on their level as though you understand them and their actions.  Next you tell them that their friend is in the other room throwing them under the bus.  Isn’t this what happens to us?  Through distraction, we allow ourselves to be kept from quality time with God, His people and His Word.  We then become isolated and weak, giving in much more easily to believing lies about God and ourself.  Separation on the spiritual level is of course much more subtle than the obvious placing of people in different rooms.  The goal is for you to be unaware that you’re even losing connection, or that there is great power readily available to you at any given moment.


It should be noted that we are not talking here of interruptions.  Interruptions are different.  They are part of life and better viewed as divine appointments, for they are those things over which we have no control.  I’ve read that the average person is interrupted seventy-two times a day.  Jesus was often interrupted in the gospel accounts, and some great things came as a result (Jairus’ daughter for instance).  These do not necessarily pose a threat to taking our mind off God, unless we allow it.  We are talking here of those things which we entertain and allow to rob us of our focus on what really matters.


This all became an intense reality to me in December 2011.  In November of that year, while meditatively listening to God, I received an extremely clear directive that I was to embark on a thirty day fast from all social communication.  I was only to talk with God, family or work.  It even meant abstaining from the Sunday gatherings as well as all house church meetings during that period.  The directive was even clear as to the day it would commence and the day it would end.  The message itself to go on the fast was beautiful in that it came so vividly, due to my distraction-free, silent listening to God for approximately forty minutes.  That, in and of itself, showed me that God still speaks to His children if only we will take the time and make the effort to listen.  As far as the fast itself?  Let me tell you something, I sort of now look at my life in two sections- there’s before that fast, and there’s after.  God spoke to me, changed me, and taught me great things during that period because I purposely shut out the things competing for my attention to Him.  It is hands down one of the very best things I have ever done, the reason being not so much my efforts as much as it was the mere placing of myself where I could more easily focus on Him, hear Him, and be led by Him.  My big take-away from it was the real life discovery that this is how we were meant to live- in the constant gaze of our soul upon our beautiful and loving Maker.  The fulfillment and satisfaction I experienced during that month and since, is beyond measure.  My insight and ability to speak into others was off the charts.  I missed nothing.  In fact, I just craved more and more time alone with Him, as I still do today.  The clarity of thought during that time was so intense that it energized me to the point of what felt like clairvoyance.  He brought peace and calm to my inner most being.  I saw the distractions of life for what they are- worthless distortions keeping me from what really matters.  Once you actually move away from yourself, you can then see self for what it actually is- vain, empty and weak when disconnected from its power Source.  I saw plainly all the things I would fill my day with that were either keeping me away from intimacy with my true Father, or driving me away from it.  And the clear vision has stayed with me, seeing things for what they really are, both the meaningful and the meaningless.


To sum up, I have found nothing to be more satisfying than sitting in the presence of God, to just be still and know that He is God.  To listen to Him with all my heart, free of distraction, is the sweetest of all my experiences.  Connected to Him, I find extreme clarity of thought, a million opportunities to serve those around me, and joy in all circumstances.  But in allowing myself to be distracted by the less important things (and what is more important than your relationship with God?), I find I am disconnected from the only real Source of power and happiness in life.  It is in this place that I am critical, discontent, unfocused and much less effective.  “Apart from me you can do nothing.”

December 22-23 / Proverbs 22-23 / John 15-16

Proverbs 22:3

“A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”

” Watch and pray so that you do not enter into temptation,” Jesus said.  Plan ahead on facing temptation but not entering into it. Off- the-spot training is crucial in this life so that when we are on the spot, we are not taken by surprise. C.S. Lewis wrote that prudence is taking the trouble to think out what you are doing and what is likely to come of it.

Proverbs 23:9

Don’t waste your breath on fools, for they will despise the wisest advice.”

Some people are not willing to listen. Some people are not ready to hear truth. It is not our job to convince and convict. That is up to Holy Spirit. We do not cast our pearls before swine, but rather give truth when prompted by the Spirit and trust and rest in that divine work. There is nothing to argue or stress about because we cannot change someone’s heart ourselves anyway.

John 15:22

“If I hadn’t come and spoken to them, they wouldn’t be guilty of sin. But now they have no excuse for their sin.”

Revelation increases moral responsibility. Those to whom Jesus revealed Himself and yet still rejected Him were no longer guilty of a sin of ignorance. Now they were without excuse. The light of revelation had revealed their own sin, and they did not want to face it or do anything about it. What truth have you heard and not acted upon?

John 16:33

“Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”

This morning, while in solitude at St. Meinrad Monastery,  I asked God what  this actually meant. What I heard Him say was, “I never lived for the world for one minute. Every moment I lived for my Heavenly Father.” In this sense He conquered the world by living in it but never for it. This is at least one aspect of what His overcoming of the world means to us. We too overcome when we have that change of vision and see this world and its ways for what it is. Then we are free to live for what is higher, for what ultimately matters and brings abundance and capacity to be a healing agent for those in front of us.