I remember a time more than 15 years ago when there was a tremendous amount of anxiety within the Church in America. At the time “special interest” groups were attempting to push their agenda against churches and Christianity through political processes. I remember sitting in a church service where many were voicing their concerns and fears regarding what was happening and one could feel the heaviness in the atmosphere. It was as if God wasn’t around and the issue was too great even for God to deal with.
As I sat there I remembered something a friend of mine once told me and I asked the Pastor if I could share something to the congregation, to which he allowed me to do. I began to share with the congregation how that God is greater than the issues we were facing, and that this was merely a distraction. I told them that no matter what God was still in control and that He has us covered. I reminded them that our primary concern was to live for God, and to let the light of Jesus shine through us to those around. As I began to share these things to the congregation I could see the countenance of the people dramatically change. Where they at first we’re caught up with fear of what could happen they began to relax and be at peace.
Zipping through time to the present we can see many things that have become a distraction, pulling our focus and energies away from where they should be. It’s not that any of these aren’t good, because many of them are good, but they are a distraction. For many, these distractions become a ‘cause’ that they embrace and fight for, all the while they lose sight of our primary calling to be Ambassadors of Christ with the ministry of reconciliation, reconciling man back to God. Often times, these distractions do very little, if anything at all, about promoting or building the Kingdom of God, and in some cases even hurt or destroy the influence of the Church to a lost and dying world.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be willing to take a stand for morality, plead the case on behalf of others, or even be influential in the world and culture around us. What I am saying is if these distractions are distracting from or undermining our influence to build the Kingdom of God then we need to take another look at our focus and priorities. Sometimes we tend to jump to fight or defend something that God hasn’t called us to do, and when we do we bring about more damage to the Kingdom than if we hadn’t. And, just because God calls someone else to embrace a distraction doesn’t mean He’s calling you to it.
When we let go of the distractions in our lives and realign our focus to what God has called us to, then we don’t have to worry about what is happening in the world around us or what is on the horizon. We can have a peace that God is in control and that He will take care of us. It’s when we lose sight of our calling or even of Jesus, Himself, that we become apprehensive and struggle with anxiety and fear, fear of either being taken advantage of or suffering in ways we may not like. We become fearful that God has forsaken us or can’t protect us from those who threaten us or our way of living. We become fearful that the God we said “yes” to will not be there for us when we need Him. All of this leads to a pride that says we can do it better ourselves.
If you find that you’ve been caught up with distractions, or even suspect that you may have been, I encourage you to take some time aside and ask God about them. Get alone with God and share your heart with Him, and then ask Him to share His heart for you. Be open to hear what He may have to say to you and don’t be so quick to shoot Him down or say what you’re hearing isn’t from Him. And before you end that time with Him make sure what you’ve heard is in unity with and supported by scripture. If what God has shared with you requires a change on your part, then make the necessary changes including in the area of priorities. What’s more important, embracing and fighting for a distraction that keeps you from what God has for you, or pursuing God and what He has for you which brings true peace and contentment to your soul.