Crossways Concepts

Because it is all about the cross...

Insights from the scripture as lead by the Holy Spirit

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Easily Distracted

If a 2-year-old were able to provide narration for their day, they might describe something like this.

Today, Mommy decided we needed to go to a place she called 'the mall'.  I don't think we had to drive very far to get to the mall, because she buckled me into my car-seat, then just a bit later she was waking me up and getting me out of the car.

Mommy said she was looking for a dress, I'm not sure why she was looking for one.  Sometimes she looks for stuff I have been playing with, like her keys.  I'm pretty sure I didn't move her dress, but she was looking for it anyway.

She kept insisting that she was going to hold my hand.  I really hate that.

She held my hand all the way through the parking lot and into the store.  Mommy was really interested in the clothes hanging up on the racks.  The had nice colors and some of them felt nice, but I was ready to look at other stuff.

I tried to pull my hand free.  At first, Mommy just held on more tightly, so I tried whining.  Finally, after a long time, Mommy said, “OK, I'll let you go, but stay right here with me.  OK?”  I made my head go up-and-down the way she likes.

I stood there for a really long time, touching the different clothes, when I noticed that one of the other racks had shiny wheels.  I had to go take a closer look.  As I was headed over there, suddenly I saw the most wonderful thing.  Up under a rack of long clothes was a fascinating  plastic something!  It looked so appealing, I turned and headed straight for it.  I got down on my hands and knees to crawl down under the rack.  This was a fun place, with the clothes all around me.  Then, too, there was that wonderful thing!

I didn't know what it was, but it was really cool.  While I was playing with it, I'm not sure, but my Mommy might have been calling my name.  I was having too much fun to be worried about her.

After a while, I looked around and wasn't sure I liked this place any more.  I couldn't see my Mommy or anybody else.  Where was my Mommy?  All of a sudden, I was crying.  Maybe if I cry really loud, then Mommy will come get me.

In just a moment, the clothes opened up and there was Mommy's face!  I was so glad to see her.  She reached in and picked me up, squeezing me really tight.  I was glad to see her.  I love my Mommy.

Our relationship with the Lord is a lot like this.  While we know that he wants to lead us into the best possible life, we aren't always sure that we want to give up our independence.  While it is His desire that He holds on tight to us, we sometimes don't like him holding on all that tight. 

It is always His desire that we stay right with Him, but there are so many distractions in life.  Sometimes it seems that all we have to do is see them and we are carried away from the Lord.  Without even noticing it coming, we can find ourselves isolating ourselves from the Lord, so we can pursue our own interests.

Sooner or later, the Holy Spirit will remind us of what we are missing.  When we are ready to return to the Lord, He is always ready to hold us tight, because He has never stopped loving us.

Although Colossians 3:9 says, “...put off the old man with his practices and have put on the new man”, our old self is always there waiting for the chance to re-assert his authority over our lives.  Self liked getting his way, doing what he wanted and is never impressed by any idea of submission to God.  We all like the things we like and having our own way is one of those things.

Although we may think of a 2-year-old as one of the most distract-able versions of human, but the Christian may be more easily distracted yet.  “So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)  We are entrusted with keeping our eye on an invisible God.  This is far from a simple or natural task.  Those things that are visible and tangible keep jumping up into a position of personal importance, however each time they do that, they inevitably push the invisible Lord down a step.

We must recognize that we can be easily distracted from what is of utmost importance.  Without defending ourselves against distraction, we can easily find the Lord seeming more and more distant.  The part of us that slips when we get distracted is our faith – we cannot hold God as the most important thing is our life when we start focusing on something else as the most important thing.  As we continue to chase after other “most important things”, our view of God shrinks until He is no longer important at all.

Thankfully, God has a way of waking us up.  There is nothing like a major crisis to remind us of the what we once had within an intimate relationship with the Lord.  While a life crisis is never fun, it can be spiritually beneficial, “No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11)

In order to defend yourself from distraction, it is imperative that you continually remind yourself of who the Lord is and why He deserves the position of top importance.  This is achieved through prayer, praise, thanksgiving and scripture reading.  To be most effective, these should be incorporated into a daily routine, so we don't get distracted from these things, too.

The process of holding on to the Lord requires that we acquiesce, but that very agreement that we will go where He leads us, requires that we are willing to bypass all those things that attract and distract us.  When the Lord says, “No one can be a slave of two masters, since he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot be slaves of God and of money.” (Matthew 6:24), you might be able to substitute many things for the word, “money”.  God desires the top spot in our lives.  Only when we allow God that top spot do we have the sort of relationship with God that Jesus described as pleasing to God.

In this world of so many appealing ideas, positions, social standings, pleasures and possessions being right at our fingertips, keeping God in His rightful position requires constant vigilance.  While there is nothing wrong with a little bit of these things, it is so easy for them to swell into something bigger than God in our hearts and minds.  We can control this by utilizing the strategy that Paul described, “We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”  We must protect what dwells in our hearts and minds by forcibly throwing out each concept that doesn't have a rightful place there.

Bring the Lord glory in your life by living the glory that he deserves.  This is only possible through avoiding giving your life's glory away to life's distractions.

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Lexington, Ky