“The world is passionately committed to the inconsequential.“
That quote hit me harder than I expected. Not just because it was so true, but because I was immediately aware of my own bend toward the inconsequential and distracting. Like many, I have a device in my pocket that gives me access to millions of inconsequential things at a moment’s notice, and if I’m honest, I probably spend too much time distracted by them.
It’s true that our phones are a major distraction but this article is not really about our phones.
It’s about the problem with our hearts that crave distractions from the difficult or serious. It’s about our attempt to control the uncontrollable by viewing and commenting on every news event on the planet. It’s about the apathy in our souls that leads to laziness on the couch. It’s about our covetous eyes that long to gaze at items we cannot have (unless Amazon has a good deal of course).
The problem with distractions is not just that they’re everywhere, but that we often have a heart that hungers and thirsts for them. I have felt this in my own life. It’s why I can relate to Paul when he writes, For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind (Rom 7:22-23).
Dealing with distractions is not simply about creating new habits, it’s about warring against the flesh and an enemy who desires to sideline us from the fight.
How then do we fight this battle? To answer that, let’s look at Hebrews 12:1-2.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…
Consider 4 instructions from this passage:
Gain understanding in community. The cloud of witnesses are men and women of faith whose lives serve as a testimony of God’s steadfast power and grace. They can also be a source of help for our own walk with Christ. When you find a godly community you will find accountability and encouragement for the journey.
Cast off worthless things. Self-examination is important for spiritual growth, and while sin may be easy to categorize there are other “weights” that can impede our journey. Often these are distractions that we have prioritized over Christ and need to cast out.
Run the race set before you. God has equipped you for the race and placed you in a specific lane for a reason. Do not be distracted by other lanes, but seek Christ in your context (work, location, family, etc.) and pray for those running alongside you.
Stay focused on Jesus. This is not a trite saying. This is vital to us as Christ followers. How are you abiding with Jesus? Do you value time with Him in prayer and reading His Word? Yes, distractions will come (count on it) but remain focused because Jesus is worth it and in Him you will find fullness of life.
Finally, there is a tendency to lean aggressively into a works-based system when we talk about tangible struggles in our lives. In this battle with distractions, there are many practical tools that can be used to help you establish more beneficial routines. If they help, use them and praise God for the victory.
As you use those tools, be mindful not to neglect the source of your power and ultimate victory, Jesus. When you stumble and fall in the process, do not neglect the source of your forgiveness and grace, Jesus. Remember, it is Jesus who is the author and the finisher of your faith.
He will see you through to the finish line.
Pastor Mike Crump
PASTOR OF CHURCH COMMUNICATIONS
Mike joined the HBC staff in 2015 and is passionate about exalting Christ through any medium available, whether online or in person. He also enjoys cooking, hiking with his family, and playing 90’s video games.