I am a king among men, when it comes to distractions. When you can get distracted from the distraction that was distracting you from being distracted from the thing you set out to do originally, that’s distraction on a regal scale.
I usually think that distractions, especially minor ones, are relatively harmless. But when they come in a sequence of ten to forty distractions in a row — that is more like harmful, than harmless. Also, usually think big distractions are very harmful even if they happen in small numbers.
But really, anything that distracts me, from what God wants me to do, whether big or little, quick or lengthy, few or many, is essentially sin. If God wants me to do X right now, for me to Y or Z, is sin. Even if Y and Z aren’t sinful things in and of themselves.
I guess it comes down to the definitions of sin. I have heard that sin can be defined as “missing the mark”. That sounds like anything other than being perfect is sin. And, I suppose it is. Also someone once said, that righteousness (the state of being counted perfect or counted without sin) is doing the right thing in the right way, at the right time, with the right motive, EVERY TIME. So to do Y and Z, when God calls me to X, is to do the right thing (perhaps even with the right motive and in the right way) at the wrong time.
Distractions are, at best choosing something great to do, when God has something else great in mind for us to do (and that’s sin: choosing my way over God’s way). And at worst, they’re choosing to do something I should never do (sin already there).
So how DO I know what God wants me to do? The Real Question. Basically, how do I hear from God? That’s books and books and books in and of itself in answering. But to simplify, and perhaps oversimplify, read the bible, pray, and listen for the thoughts He’s given you. Then check that against what others who know Him are saying. Obviously, we don’t have time to do that every time we want to know what God wants, though, do we?
But really most of the small distractions I face (and probably most of us) are easy answers, because they are common sense as well as having an answer I’ve already read in scripture. Should I do my work, when I’m supposed to be working, or go read someone’s blog? Easy answer: Work, of course. When choice X is not sinful, and Y and Z are sinful, it’s easy. X.
The difficult distractions are the ones I’m not sure are distractions or not: Should I have dinner with these folks, even though it might keep me up late and I have a big meeting in the morning, and on the other hand, it’s investing in them and I love the fellowship, or should I just spend the time with my wife and turn in early? Is the big meeting the distraction from investing in those folks, or is the dinner a distraction from the work? Or are both a distraction from the time I should be spending alone with my wife? Then, when choices X, Y and Z are all good things, and things I should be doing, it becomes a matter of motive, priority, and most of all, what God is actually wanting me to do.
For those of you that read this blog (like all two of you or so), how do YOU know what God wants you to do?