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Wednesday, May 2, 2018
 
4 Distractions To Devotion
 
In 1 Corinthians 7:35, Paul uses a phrase in which he expresses to the Corinthians his desire for them.  The phrase is “undistracted devotion.”  He used it in reference as a reason for some single people to remain single, if God gives them the grace to do that.  But I believe that the same principle can apply to anyone – that our desire should be as far as possible to beware of distractions, things that get in the way of our devotion to the Lord.
 
What is the opposite of devotion?
 
Maybe devotion has many opposites, but the one that the Lord has been speaking to me about is that the opposite of devotion is distraction.
 
For example, imagine if a teenage boy was devoted to swimming and set his mind on winning in the Olympics.  But then this boy got a girlfriend and he started spending all his time with her.  You wouldn’t say he was devoted to swimming anymore, you’d say he was distracted.  So distraction, in that way, I believe is the opposite of devotion.
 
And I’ve seen the devil’s tactics in trying to distract me in my own walk with God in different ways.  And his end goal is not necessarily to get me to stop calling myself a 'Christian’.  His ultimate goal is to distract me from LOVING the Lord.  The devil doesn’t care whether or not I call myself a Christian – the question for him is, can I stop this guy from loving Jesus and from knowing God’s love?  If so, then he’s succeeded.  That’s the real distraction.
 
Matthew 24:12 Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.
 
Jesus is basically saying here that there are only going to be 2 groups of people in the end: those who withstood and still have love, and those who don’t.
 
So the devil wants to remove the love, and one way is by distract -  and I wanted to share 4 distractions I’ve noticed can come in and keep me from loving the Lord and being fully devoted to Him:

1. Rules and Legalism

I’ve noticed the devil is constantly working to reduce my Christianity to rules - because if he does that, then that means the love is lost and he’s succeeded. 
 
I’ve seen that I can feel pretty good about myself if I’m sticking to a disciplined schedule and doing all the outward Christian things I’m supposed to, not having any external sins – basically obeying the 10 commandments pretty well (similar to how the rich young ruler approached Jesus).  I can judge my life saying to myself, "I’m walking pretty well with God right now" because of that.  But that’s like saying the goal of a family is to eat healthy - not eating poison, to make it to school and work on time without getting into an accident, to be educated without going homeless.  Those are all good things, but it has nothing to do with the goal! The goal of a family is love in the family!  In the home, the goal is not, “don’t drink poison.”  The goal is “love one another” – and the reason you don’t drink poison is so you can go on living and loving!
 
It’s the same goal in our life with God – a love life.  So a religion without love is pointless.
 
The Pharisees had religion oozing out of their ears, but their hearts were totally dry toward God and toward everybody else.  They had no mercy, no compassion, no love, no connection with God at all.
 
The whole point of all of this is love - for us to be able to share a love life with God and each other.
 
1 Timothy 1:5 “The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart”
 
Religion and teaching and rules without love is worthless.

2. Our Problems

I’ve noticed I can be totally preoccupied and distracted by my problems - having a tendency to think about them all time, instead of God. I’ve found though that the problems don’t go away when I try to grit my teeth stop thinking about them… they usually just stay there!
 
So what do we do if we just can't stop thinking about them?  If our mind is being tormented one moment after the next with this issue here, that issue there (almost like our mind is in prison), what do we do?  I’ve seen that if there’s some problem I just can’t get out of my mind, instead of trying to not think about it, I should pray about it!  That's the way God gave us for this:
 
Philippians 4:6-7 – “Be anxious for nothing, instead bring everything to God and pray with thanksgiving, and He will give you His peace which guards your heart and your mind.”  The problems which torment our mind will go away when we bring them to the Lord and praise Him in faith that He is in control despite all the chaos which is happening in our life.  And if the problems come back to torment our mind, what do we do then?  Then we go to Him again!  And we do this as many times as we need to.  And the best part is – the Lord uses this process to keep us close to Him.  Praise the Lord for that!
 

3. Distracted by money

Proverbs 23:4 says ‘Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it’
 
We can choose to weary ourselves to make money, and probably succeed.  Our bank account will be full – but our heart will be totally empty.
 
I remember an instance where I was racking my brain, feeling guilty because I knew I could be saving money on something, and this went on for some time.  I started praying about it and I felt the Lord say “The love of money is much more serious than spending a little too much on something.  This has gotten to the point to be a distraction from your devotion to Me… just let it go.”  And I got so much peace after that, I felt so free!  I was wearying myself to try to save some money, but the Lord helped me when I went to Him.  I think saving money and being frugal is important, because it's God's money.  But even frugality can be done with the wrong motive - to cling on to money.
 
“Don’t weary yourself to gain wealth” – we can weary ourselves by pursuing money or weary ourselves by clinging onto it.  Either way, it’s a distraction from what’s really important and it’ll pull us away from the Lord.  “We can’t serve God and money.”

4. All the obligations of life

Luke 10:41 “But the Lord answered and said to her (Martha), ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary’”
 
Getting our heart entangled (2 Timothy 2:4) in the many obligations of life can be a distraction to devotion (it could be work related, home related, or even church related).  I’ve always looked at this passage here and saw it as Martha’s chance to get better, she could improve from here by prioritizing her relationship with Jesus from here on out – this instance was just one instance of her getting distracted but there was a hope for her after this.
 
But I believe the Lord may say this same word to millions and millions of people on the last day.  Imagine someone’s standing before His throne, and He doesn’t say these words in the present tense like He says here to Martha (“you are worried and bothered... only one thing is necessary”), He will say it in the past tense – “you were worried and bothered with so many things… only one thing was necessary.. it’s too late now though.  Your life was wasted.”
 
What a sad end!  I never want the Lord to say to me on that day in the past tense about my life that I was worried and bothered about so many things, and missed the one thing necessary.
 
Jesus Himself is telling us here what the single most important and necessary thing in all of life is!  I don’t ever want to miss that.

Conclusion

Satan desperately wants to remove the love of God in our life, so he’s trying with all his might to distract us.  He turns Christianity into a religion, “Let’s make your life about the rules and laws.”  Then the love will be gone.  He says to us, “Focus primarily on fixing all the problems of your life, and handling all your big plate of obligations,” then the love will be gone.  Or, “Let’s seek out money and prosperity,” and then he knows the love will be gone.
 
His goal is to take the love away.  Don’t ever lose the love!  We can’t let our love get cold with these distractions.
 
Jesus said there are only going to be 2 groups of people in the end: those who withstood and still have love, and those who don’t, and I have faith that by God’s grace He will help me to withstand all of the worries of life, and of Satan’s distractions and to love the Lord with a fiery love until the end, without being distracted from the only really necessary thing in life.