Isn’t it hard to keep focused on God? I have tried so hard throughout my life to stay focused on Him. I so often say “this time I won’t fail”, but at one point or another, something always clips me from behind, and keeps me from exceeding!! Why?!
Well, I think it has to do with what we allow into our lives that can distract us from God. Not all of these things are “bad” in their nature…in fact, a lot aren’t, but they become a problem when we allow them to distract us from looking at, and to God. You know those things I’m talking about; they can be anything from a job, car, or movie, to fantasy football, Xbox Live, a magazine, or even church. There are so many things in this world that fight for our time…and when we allow them to take too much…well…we lose our focus. The answer is not necessarily to cut these distractions out entirely (in some cases it is), but to realize that they can distract us…and we need to keep them in check.
In the following paragraphs, I have listed 10 common things that can interfere with our walk with God.
Money. I’m sure you all could have guessed this one would be on this list. We all need it to live in this world, but we must not be owned by it if we are to be not of this world. Money itself is not an interference in our walk with God…the love of money is. I think the following passage sums this up quite nicely (its long, I know…but when I read it, I felt all of it applies to this topic): Matthew 6:19-34
19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[b]?
28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
So in a nut shell, if we trust God, He will take care of us. That doesn’t mean we should quit our jobs, or not earn money…we just need to realize that God is more important, and is far more capable of taking care of us than we are. Money might be the blood flow of the world, but it is not the blood flow of those who are in Jesus…faith is.
Another big one; the media. This is probably one of the biggest distractions for me personally right now….I mean, just the other night, I realized I haven’t spent that much time praying this week…but instead of going and praying, I said to myself I’ll do it later because the game was playing and Lost comes on in an hour.
It is so easy to get caught up in the media. And when I say media, I’m referring to the Internet, TV, movies, music, video games, newspapers, magazines…all of it (broad, I know…but hey, I’m only making a list of 10 things to here, so I can be a bit broad, right?). Like I said before, the media is so dangerous because it is so easy to get consumed in. Everywhere we turn, some sort of media is right in our face. And the worst part; it’s littered with filth. Almost every commercial on TV, and every advertisement on the Internet is trying to convince us that we are missing something, and they are the ones that can fill the need. Our young girls and women are bombard by the media with how they should look, feel, and act…movies, music, TV shows…they all are horrible influences on us because they can subliminally tell us how to live, what’s right and wrong, etc. And video games…ah, video games….give me the right one on the right week, and I won’t spend a free second with God (sad….but true). I could literally go on and on about the media, and how distracting it is. The key to overcoming the media is to be wise in what we watch, read, play, etc, and in how much time we spend with it. We should always be willing to give it up, and quite honestly, some of the things we indulge in (in the media), we need to give up. If a something is pure filth, we shouldn’t be giving it any time to influence us, no matter how funny, sexy, or “cool”, it is.
Church, or religion. Believe it or not, these can be HUGE interference in our walk with God. Church does not do this intentionally, but we can easily let it hinder our relationship with God. Why? The main reason I see is that it can be so easy to pursue church, and beliefs about God, but forget to pursue God Himself. It is so easy to go to church to…well…go to church, when the real reason we should be going church is to refuel for our week by coming together with fellow believers to worship and meditate on God.
Also, somewhere along the way, at so many churches, people have gotten the idea that we need to pretend to be perfect at church. That if we show our weaknesses and struggles, we’ll become outcasts…and since so many people parade around in this stained glass masquerade, if one person does reveal their weaknesses, they’re so easily looked down upon. This is opposite of what church is supposed to be. Church is really the body of believers. We are supposed to help each other, hold each other accountable, pray for each other, and love one another!
To keep church from becoming a distraction from God, make sure you are pursuing God before pursuing “beliefs” about Him, or church/religion. We need to get past religion and into a relationship. It starts with you! Love your brothers and sisters, be open to people, and DO NOT CONDEMN others when they fail!!
Relationships. I’m sure you knew this one would be here. Every kind of relationship falls into this category; friends, parents, siblings, spouses, girl/boy friends, children, co-workers, bosses, etc. We can allow any of these relationships to distract us from God. It is our relationships that are our connection with the world, and it is our human nature to have them, but when we allow any one of these relationships threaten to become more important to us than God…well, they become a distraction. Remember, God calls us to love one another (1 John 3:11), so when we do, it is an act of obedience to God. But don’t forget about God in the process. We need to make sure we are giving God ample time everyday.
I would have to say the relationship with the most danger of becoming a distraction from our walk with God would be that of a boy-friend, girl-friend, or spouse. These relationships in their nature, demand the most time, and that is why it is extremely important that they are centered around God. If they aren’t, you will see your walk with God spiraling downward. In a dating relationship, don’t compromise your morals.
In a nut shell, relationships are extremely important, but our relationship with God is of the utmost importance. Remember that!
Routine. This is a common thing I allow myself to get distracted by all the time. The most important thing is that spending time with God should be in your routine! Far too often do we just squeeze God in when we have down time (I am extremely guilty of this). Its so easy to get caught up in all the things we have to do, like work, eat, sleep, etc. I often find sleep getting in the way! I mean, if I didn’t spend that extra hour sleeping in, I would have a whole hour with nothing to do but seek God!
So make sure spending time with God is a part of our routine. And also, make sure you are willing to abort your routine, and let God have complete control.
- Our Work
Work, work, work. What a distraction this can be! And I’m not just referring to a job, I mean everything from a job, to leading worship, a bible study, or anything! I personally have often allowed this site to become a distraction from God. I want it to bless people, I want it to look good, I want it…I…I..I…but all that I should really be worrying about is that I am doing it as God wants me to, if I do that, He’ll take care of the rest. I love this following scripture:
38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” -Luke 10:38-42
It is so easy to get caught up on our duties, but the most important thing is that we do it entirely for the Lord. They are to glorify God, not ourselves. That being said, sometimes the duty we have is not as important as doing something else. We always need to be flexible! This falls in line with routines as well. We can have great motives behind our work, but sometimes we let the work become more important then “listening to Jesus”. Listen and be flexible!
- Our Hobbies
Hobbies. I love hobbies! I have a huge rang of them; from playing guitar, and singing, to video games, sports, and numerous others. The dangerous thing about them is that they can consume a lot of our time. A great way to keep them in check is to do them with God in mind! Like worshiping God with music. Also, we can play video games or sports, etc. with people to develop relationships. Having hobbies is a great way to get yourself into the world to be an influence…so keep that in mind.
- Desiring a blessing from God, more than God Himself.
Desiring a blessing from God, more than desiring God Himself. I have to be honest, this is easy to fall into, at least for myself. It can be so easy to pray for a specific thing over and over again, but forget about spending time with God. This would be like a husband wanting that special “perk” he gets from wife, without wanting to give any time to other parts of their relationship. Remember, its “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33), its not “first seek all these other things”.
- Our Pastor
Our Pastors! What!? What’s this doing on the list!?…Well, to your relief, I don’t mean your pastor exactly (at least I hope not). What I’m referring to is becoming dependent upon your pastor. This can be a really deadly interference in our walk with God. It is not our pastors responsibility to feed us all we need to be spiritually healthy…it is our responsibility. A lot of people fall into the habit of only giving God Sunday morning. This would be like only eating once a week! If we did this, we would be horribly malnourished! And sadly, this is the case for many spiritually. Our pastor is a, or should be, great leader, but he/she should only be that…nothing more.
Ourselves. Us. The last one on the list of distractions, and possibly the most likely to distract us. We are, by nature, sinful, and if we live by our nature, we will not get close to God. That is why we need to die to ourselves, and live in Christ (Romans 6:11). But no matter what we do, there will be a constant battle within ourselves between spirit and flesh (Romans 7:15-21). That is why we need to constantly allow God to search our hearts, and purify it (Psalm 139:23-24). The first step to overcoming ourselves is being aware.
So there we have it. A list of 10 common things that can distract us from God. It is a constant struggle to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, and to not become distracted by the passing concerns and things of this world. But if we are aware of what can, and does, interfere with our walks with God, we can begin to take the necessary actions to prevent them. Remember, seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
Do you have anything to add to this list?
I have found that from my experience, my “feed” from God or to spend quality time with God, I need to have minimal distractions, no interruptions, if possible, and no demands about filling other people’s wants. Usually, when someone in church wants you to do something and they know that they are interrupting you from something, it would make more sense for him/her to do it himself. It will get finished a lot quicker.