Distractions

— Aaron

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?

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5 thoughts on “Distractions

  1. Aaron…why must you ask tough questions like this? Umm…I don’t know. I do the best I can, with the time that the Lord give me, in the best way possible. Basically, I go for it and pray that the Lord leads me through everything. That is probably not the best way, now that I think about it…but you didn’t ask what I think the Lord wants. You just asked what I do. I fly by the seat of my pants, and hope all works out in the end…and hopefully the Lord is glorified in the process. Perhaps I should reconsider how and why I do things…

  2. When I think about what God wants me to do, I take it down to the most basic response – be happy, be productive and be one of his kids. The kid part is simple enough – that’s faith, and as in Romans, slaves are not part of the House while a son always is. Being happy is also one of his directives, found everywhere in the Bible – I believe God wants us to leave happy and fantastic lives, enjoying the freedom that Jesus gave us.

    The productive part I think is where your question lies. Technically, there is no requirement to be productive to be saved, but it’s only reasonable to work (Paul wrote that a person who doesn’t work doesn’t eat). I believe God would like us to work to be successful in our relationships and finances, and to help out his church. It’s not mandatory, but we should make decisions because we want to, and because it’s reasonable. If it’s getting tough, I hear two schools of thought about it – invest in rebuilding yourself, or fake it ’til you make it.

    In any case, this doesn’t really offer an answer, but maybe the perspective helps.

  3. Aaron…This is the first time I’ve EVER posted anything on any blog….!
    I appreciate getting to talk face to face with you on Monday mornings! Your insights, comments and heart for Christ are awesome. Weren’t we just working on the answer to that question this morning? (ha!ha!).
    “Throwing Stone, side by side with you” (and blessed because of it)
    bro,
    Scott

  4. I don’t have and answer. Just more questions and some thoughts. Do you ever think there are times when X,Y and Z are all equally acceptable in God’s eyes and He doesn’t have a preference? Or I guess I should ask. What do you think about the idea that God’s preference is that we just pick one with the right heart and in communication with Him. More and more I come to wonder at the freedom I am given in Christ. Sometimes I wish He would just lay out His will before me so I could do steps A, B and C and know I’m on the right path but then I wouldn’t have to be in relationship with Him to figure it out. I’d already know the answer and I wouldn’t need God. So all that to say that maybe it’s the struggling with the how to know that God delights in so much.
    p.s. Keep the great thoughts comming. I’m glad I discovered your blog!

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