In Defiance of Distraction

City Life Church Articles

Written by: Lindsey Nunn
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8 NIV
Work emergency. Baby crying. Social media notification. A friend needs prayer. Spouse is discouraged. Dinner needs to be made. Also, 2,000 unread emails from sources I knew would add value to me but became just one more decision to make – read or delete. It’s probably “delete.”
All of these things and more run through my mind in half a second. Minute by minute. Day by day. It keeps me “busy” and wondering, “What am I actually accomplishing?” Neuroscience tells us that there’s no such thing as actual multitasking. There is only a rapid switching of our focus from one thing to another, therefore doing neither one well (I highly recommend Dr. Caroline Leaf’s works – specifically her book “Switch On Your Brain” – if you want to learn more about this and how our brains work).
Sometimes when I step back and assess the train of thought I’ve had the past hour (or more), I realize I’ve been focused on all the wrong things. They might even be “good” things, but they aren’t the BEST thing because they aren’t my ONE thing. Jesus said in Luke 10:42 that only one thing is needed – to be in a constant attitude of listening to Him.
In his excellent fiction novel on spiritual warfare, The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis writes an illuminating scene on how the enemy uses distraction. He writes from the perspective of Screwtape – a head demon in Hell – to his nephew who is a trainee on earth attempting to destroy the life of a man.
You can make him waste his time not only in conversation he enjoys with people whom he likes but in conversations with those he cares nothing about on subjects that bore him. You can make him do nothing at all for long periods. You can keep him up late at night, not roistering, but staring at a dead fire in a cold room. All the healthy and outgoing activities which we want him to avoid can be inhibited and nothing is given in return, so that at last he may say, as one of my own patients said on his arrival down here, “I now see that I spent most of my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked”.
…You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy [God].
C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters, Letter XII
When Jesus comes into our lives and we receive Him as Lord and Savior, He fills us with His Holy Spirit (John 14:26). He gives us this amazing gift of guidance, wisdom, power. He turned the electricity on so to speak, and I’m compelled to ask myself more and more: am I plugged in?
Today, I openly resist distraction. I choose to live out Proverbs 4:25-27. I trust God has given me the power to rightly order my life, remove what needs to be removed and grow what should be increased. The good news is, I know that will be a life I will enjoy living, even through hard times because Jesus said he came to give us abundant life! (John 10:10)
“Set your gaze on the path before you. With fixed purpose, looking straight ahead, ignore life’s distractions. Watch where you’re going! Stick to the path of truth, and the road will be safe and smooth before you. Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked for even a moment or take the detour that leads to darkness.” – Proverbs 4:25-27 TPT
Will you join me?
If you don’t know how to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, start with the Bible! His voice will always be founded on the Word. Listen to Bible-based, Jesus focused sermons. As you begin to train yourself to recognize the Word, you’ll recognize the voice of God in your life more and more. And don’t fret – Jesus said His sheep know His voice (John 10:27), so you can bank on that.