"SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE"
TV Program for 02/02/03
DISTRACTIONS - by Murray Wade
1 Corinthians 7:35
We all have them; Jobs, kids, activities, houses, family, cars, hobbies, entertainment, recreation. Every day, every week, every month, every year, Satan will use these things to distract us from doing God's Will. I have found only one passage in the Bible that includes this word. It is 1 Corinthians 7:35. Here are three translations of that verse.
NAS - 1 Cor 7:35 This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.
NCV - 1 Cor 7:35 I am saying this to help you, not to limit you. But I want you to live in the right way, to give yourselves fully to the Lord without concern for other things.
NKJV - 1 Cor 7:35 And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.
Strongs - distraction (563) aperispastos - free from (domestic) solicitude. In another words, distraction here means to be free of anxious care, anxiety, and concern. Distracted people are the ones who are choked by the cares of the world (Matthew 13:22, Luke 8:14).
Thorndike Barnhart - distraction: (1) act of turning aside or drawing away the mind, attention, etc. (2) thing that draws away the mind, attention. Movies and television are common distractions.
Websters - distract: (1a) to turn aside: divert. (1b) to draw or direct (as one's attention) to a different object or in different directions at the same time.
Sometimes we do not even realize that our distractions, on a daily and weekly basis, can keep us from doing the things of God .
Luke 16:11-14 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon (worldly riches), who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man's, who will give you what is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (worldly possessions). Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him.
We are tested with choices every day. Many of these choices are between the important things of the Lord and the distractions, riches, and material things of the world. A person can always find something that will keep away from doing God's Will. These distractions can become bad habits.
EXAMPLES OF COMMON DISTRACTIONS
(1) Watch the news or a ball game at every opportunity and forget to devote family time to study God's Word together.
(2) Work so much that you are too tired to attend services regularly, prepare to teach a class, or help teach a neighbor or a friend about Jesus.
(3) Too busy at work or school to go to lunch with a co-worker that may turn out to be an opportunity to teach someone about Jesus.
(4) Too busy with friends, work, home chores, school, volunteering, etc. to visit needy, study your Bible lesson thoroughly, call a sick brother, send an note to a struggling sister, visit a friend, spend time with your spouse, or spend time with your kids.
(5) Being so involved with a club or activity that you miss the assembling with God and His people.
(6) Being so busy with the things of life that it slips your mind to invite co-workers, classmates, or family members to the come to church with you.
ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE IMPORTANCE OF NOT BEING DISTRACTED
(1) A man got a new truck. He was in a such hurry to get to work that he put diesel fuel in the truck rather than regular gasoline. He ended up late anyway.
(2) Man & son play a video game. One little distraction can be the difference in the game.
(3) Wife is at home talking on phone to her husband at work. Kids fight and conversation ends.
(4) A basketball player shooting a foul shot when his team is playing on the road. He cannot be distracted by the towel waving or the screaming in the stands or he will miss the shot.
(5) It is not safe driving if you are doing something like talking on cell phone, drinking a cup of coffee, reading a paper, looking at a map, or all of these at the same time. My sister's car was totaled by a lady who was putting on a wig while driving. I was hit by a lady who was looking in her vanity mirror rather than watching what was in front of her.
(6) A target shooter will miss terribly if they are distracted by the slightest thing.
WAYS TO FIGHT DISTRACTIONS
1. Remember who a Christian is. They have been made free of their sins (John 8:31-32). They are followers of Jesus and priests who are to offer spiritual sacrifices (1 Cor. 6:11, 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10, 2 Peter 3:10-14, Eph. 2:8-10). A Christian always needs to remember who they are!
2. Focus on the Goal (Matt. 5:12, 2 Cor. 4:16-5:1, Phil. 3:14, 20-21, Col. 3:1-2)
3. Take life one day at a time (Matt. 6:25-34). Do not worry or fret about things. Remember distractions are things you have anxious care or anxiety about. I struggle with this and maybe you do too. Sometimes I worry so much about something that I have trouble getting my mind off of it. Then I miss other things going on around me. Jesus says take one day at a time!
4. Look at how you spend your time during a day or week. See what you spend your time on. If it is too much TV, movies, hobbies; then cut back and replace these worldly things with the things of God (Col. 3:17). Ephesians 5:15-18 (NAS) Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit
5. Focus on God's Word by yourself, with brethren, and with family (Phil 4:8, Acts 17:11,
6. Prepare for the next opportunity to teach someone about Jesus (2 Tim. 2:15, 1 Peter 3:15)
7. Think about the lost and try to save them (Matt. 5:43-44, Luke 15:4-7, Jude 20-23). Make it a goal to talk to one person each day about God (Acts 17:16-17, James 5:19-20). How about you tonight? Are you without Jesus and lost? Why not repent and be baptized? That is how one can be saved, a Christian.
8. These are ways we can overcome distractions and they all have to do with making God our number 1 priority and focusing our life around Him! (Gal. 2:20). When we do that, sometimes we will have to give up something precious (2 Tim. 3:12); but isn't God worth the sacrifice (Mark 10:28-31, Acts 5:40-42, Ro. 8:18, I Peter 4:12-14)?
Peter gives us all a great example of what distractions can do to our souls in Matthew 14:24-31.He sees Jesus walking on the water and as long as he focuses on Jesus, he also walks on the water. But once he is distracted by the wind and the waves, he loses his focus on Jesus. He loses his faith and starts to sink. It is the same way today. If we are distracted by the things in the world or by the false teachings of religious men and are not focused on Jesus and His will, we will soon lose our faith and eventually lose our soul.
The great thing about Peter is that he really wanted to come Jesus and he later shows how much he wanted to keep the commands of Jesus. How about you tonight? Do you want to come to Jesus? Do you want to follow Him so you can live eternally? Let us read the passage from 1 Corinthians 7:35 one more time.
1 Cor 7:35 And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.
God gave His only Son for you (John 3:16). Jesus gave Himself for you (Galatians 1:3-5). Why not focus your life on Him? Jesus wants a personal relationship with you because He loves you, He died for you, and He does not want you to perish! Why not decide to obey Him before it is too late? We hope to see you next time on, Speaking The Truth In Love!