Do you text and drive? Facebook and drive? Anything on your phone and drive? I don’t text or check out my social media but I often talk on my phone while driving. It is next to me in a spot on top of the storage hatch, which, I might add, was specifically designed for cell phone placement. So clearly, I am not alone in this distraction. When did we become a people who needed to be so connected? When did I become a person who thought that I was so important that I could not put my phone away for a 10-minute drive? Can you imagine if the disciples had said, “Hold on a minute, Jesus. I just need to quick check my Twitter feed? Then we can feed 5,000 with two loaves and five fishes.” Or, how about this, “Jesus! Can you keep walking on water for just a minute so I can post it on Instagram?” I firmly believe that one of Satan’s greatest weapons against God’s children in this day is distraction.
Distraction keeps me from recognizing God’s presence. I have shared in church that we often pray for God to be present. I believe that is an honorable prayer and will continue to pray it. But, do I quiet myself enough to even feel His presence? God tell us that in order to know that He is God, we must be still (Psalm 46:10).
Over the past year, the news outlets and social media have been on fire with varying opinions on political and social issues. I have found myself getting wrapped up in these things. I get upset when I read things that are in contradiction to God’s Word. What good does that do? Do you know who wins when I am that upset? Satan. My communication with God is hindered because my eyes have now become focused on the world and not on Him. That is a temporary victory for the one who most opposes God, the one who delights in nothing more than keeping God’s creation from being in communion with their Creator.
Jesus commissioned His disciples to spread the message of salvation to the ends of the earth. In this day and age, we have been given great power because of the Internet and availability of affordable travel. We can more readily spread the Gospel message with people across the globe because of these gifts. Can you imagine the impact we could have if, instead of getting upset, we prayed each time we read something that was not godly? If we can learn to act in faithfulness and in prayer instead of react, we can teach others what the love of Christ truly looks like. How do we do this? Here are a few thoughts:
- Put that smart phone away! (Yes, I am also talking to myself.) Allow yourself to be undistracted. “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2). The world is broken. That is just the way it is. It has been since Adam and Eve gave into temptation and will be until Jesus returns. Until then, give yourself the gift of taking time to remove the view of the world and to fix your eyes on the One who love you perfectly and who is not surprised by one little thing. Allow this undistracted time open yourself and strengthen you to run the race that He has predetermined for you, to give you peace and joy.
- Pray! Nothing can calm my heart more quickly than lifting my cares to God. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7). I don’t mean to stop on any toes here, but the truth of the matter is that it is only pride that allows us to get upset over things we can’t change. I must humbly acknowledge that this world is God’s creation. Only He can fully restore it. But He calls us to pray to Him in order to be in communion with Him. We may or may not see answers to the prayers that we are praying. But prayer draws us closer to our Father and, when done in faith, will calm our spirits as we grow to trust Him more.
- Worship Him! The word worship has come to be associated with music. I am a Worship Director in our church. But it is so much more than that. Worship is reflecting on the greatness of God. Our very lives are to be lived in worship: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1). For me, worship is often in the form of singing. The lyrics of certain songs reveal to me more of who God is and what He has done. For me, there is nothing like singing the word of the Doxology alone in my living room. However, it also is in prayer and reading my Bible. www.theopedia.com offers this definition of worship:
Worship is an active response to the character, words and actions of God, initiated by His revelation and enabled by His redemption, whereby the mind is transformed (e.g. belief, repentance), the heart is renewed (e.g. love, trust), and actions are surrendered (e.g. obedience, service), all in accordance with His will and in order to declare His infinite worthiness.
In both Hebrew and Greek, there are two categories of words for worship. The first is about body language that demonstrates respect and submission; to bow down, to kneel, to prostrate oneself. The second is about doing something for God that demonstrates sacrifice and obedience; to offer, to serve.
Focus on who God is and what He has done for you. Allow yourself to be transformed through worship.This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list; but hopefully a few thoughts that will get your own mind wondering about how to reduce the distractions in your life and to see the value of quiet.
Since Sunday afternoon, God has given me the gift of no voice. Even as I write this, I have limited ability to speak and no ability to sing (not sure how worship team rehearsal will go tonight…). However, I am calling this a gift because God is teaching me that if I am going to heal, I need to be quiet. Isn’t that a great truth?