Posts Tagged ‘superficiality’

Distractions and Diversions

May 28th, 2014

“Anyone who starts to plow, then keeps looking back is of no use . .” Luke 9:62 TEV.

The devil is the master of distraction and deception.

My thoughts and comments today are about “distractions and diversions.”

Distractions happen. Distractions waste more of a person’s time than we realize when they occur. Ironically, while writing this, I became distracted. That happens easily to any of us. Interruptions occur; misdirection results. Here’s the problem. Typically, you are not interrupted by more important matters. Usually, lesser things crowd into your life and crowd out of your life things you cannot afford to procrastinate. Your success results from setting priorities, maintaining focus, and avoiding distraction.

A distraction can be a brief, pleasant diversion. However, any diversion has potential for a misdirection you may not intend. That can be costly if not noticed and corrected. Unfortunately, distractions come in all shapes and descriptions, some in the pretense of responsibilities or others disguised as opportunities. The devil is the master of distraction and deception, using love of the world, desires, worry, regret, greed, anger, offences, or temptations to dissuade you from being the person Christ means you to be.

Jesus spoke of the danger of spiritual distraction, “Anyone who starts to plow and then keeps looking back is of no use for the Kingdom of God.” Read Luke 9:57-62 TEV. See John 6:66-69 NIV. Jesus’ clearest teaching on distraction is found in a parable He told. Read Matthew 13:3-8 NIV. The same seed – with incalculable potential for good – had differing results, according to the reception of its truth. Jesus was not talking about farmers and fields, nor seed and soils. In His story, Jesus was describing people into whose hearts and lives the Word of God was sown, inefficiently in some but effectively in others. Read Matthew 13:18-23 NIV. Whatever diminishes your obedience to God’s Word, His will, and His ways is a distraction you cannot afford.

Beware; distractions preempt attention from what God is saying and doing in your life. “The evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.” Vs 19. Your spiritual life requires priority and focus. Distractions dull God’s calling in your heart and diminish His dreams for you before their time of harvest.

Be careful; distractions prevent the Word of God from becoming rooted in your heart. “Since he has no root, he lasts only for a short time. When trouble comes . . he quickly falls away.” Vs 20-21. Avoid shallow convictions and superficial faith. See Colossians 2:6-7 NKJV.

Be watchful; distractions preoccupy your mind with worries and fears instead of God’s Word. “The worries of this life choke [the Word], making it unfruitful.” Vs 22. Worry ignores God’s Word while consuming thoughts and emotions with fear, suffocating hope, and destroying expectation. See Philippians 4:6-8 NLT/2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV.

Jesus’ conclusion is, “. . the man who hears the Word of God and understands it. He produces a crop yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.” Vs 23. Paul was neither distracted nor dissuaded, “None of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear to myself . . one thing I do, forgetting . . reaching . . I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Acts 20:22-24/Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you be steadfast, immovable, and always abounding.

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November 15th, 2013

“The Lord searches every heart and understands every motive.”  1 Chronicles 28:9 NIV.

A superficial life is ultimately unsatisfying.

My thoughts and comments today are about “superficiality.”

Often, people give much time and attention to outward appearances while sorely neglecting their inner life. Lives are contentedly occupied with shallow acquaintances while inattentive to meaningful relationships, sadly without knowing or noticing the difference. Content to live on a surface level only, people ignore matters holding greater importance to God and others. Busy, noisy lives may reach a mile wide, while rarely being more than mere inches deep. All of those are symptoms of a life content with externals. God intended your life for so much more. A superficial life is ultimately unsatisfying.

The Pharisees were a proud but shallow bunch, religious people content to live superficially. For that and more, Jesus spoke harshly to them. “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in Heaven.” Read Matthew 6:1/5-6 NIV. They postured more than prayed, more concerned that their prayers were seen by men than that their prayers were heard by God. They were concerned with externals such as religious behaviors that impressed others, without realizing that God concerned Himself with internals, one’s heart, thoughts, intentions, and motives.

God rejoices in sincere righteousness but rejects the superficiality of self-righteousness every time. When Samuel, the prophet, was sent to anoint a new king, God reminded Samuel, “I do not judge as man judges. Man looks at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 TEV. To the Pharisees, Jesus said, “Woe to you . . hypocrites. You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” Matthew 23:25-26 NIV. You can imagine how unpopular Jesus was with the Pharisees.

“Serve [God] with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you.” 1 Chronicles 28:9 NIV. You cannot fully know your own heart without God’s involvement. See Jeremiah 17:9-10 NKJV. God does not intrude into your life except by your invitation.

My conclusion is this. As often as is needed to be assured of a pure heart before God, pray sincerely and humbly as did the Psalmist David: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24 NLT.

God will use your daily time with His Word to examine and cleanse your mind, soul, and spirit. Everyday, hide the Word of God in your heart. “For the Word of God is living and active . . it judges the thoughts and intents of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:12-13 NIV. God’s intention is clear: “That He might sanctify and cleanse [you] with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present [you] to Himself . . that [you] should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:26-27 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you reject spiritual superficiality in all its forms.

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