“Bless the Lord, oh my soul… Ugh, I forgot to check our balance in the bank this morning… Do we need to get gas right away? Worship His Holy Name. Sing like never before… I also have to put that stuff for work into the computer. Darn, I forgot that. What time is church going to be over? I hope we have time to get gas before I have to take hubs to work. 10,000 reasons for my heart to find.”
More like ten thousand distractions for my heart to find. And that is exactly what the enemy wants.
Why are we so distracted? Have you noticed the change over time? I thought about it the other day when I saw that I had 7 tabs open in my phone, articles I intended to read, yet every time I would try to sit and focus on reading one, I couldn’t even keep my interest on it long enough to read! Why? I don’t have ADD, yet I’ve started noticing a pattern… I simply cannot focus on anything anymore. If I’m on the phone, I’m distracted by my kids or my computer. If I’m trying to read something, I can’t focus because I’m making a list of things to do and calls to make. Even at night, I struggle to fall asleep because I keep thinking of things to look up, write down, or check into.
I know it is not just me. The statistics on the diagnosis of ADD and ADHD in children has risen from 3% in the 1980’s, to 11% in 2010. With the internet, apps, and television in the hands of infants before they can even speak, it is really no wonder. Ten years ago, I had neither a computer, nor a cell phone. I actually used a pay phone to call friends and family. I also worked full time, went to college full time, and raised my two children alone. I had razor sharp focus, because I had to, and because nothing stood between my healthy mind and me. Now, however, the world is immersed in technology. We (yes, me included) cannot live without cell phones and facebook; but this wonderful technology comes at a high cost. I think there is a very clear connection between the amount of electronic entertainment that we consume, and the ability to focus. Studies have shown that newer cartoons are created at a faster frame per second than the original, older cartoons, and they believe this might be part of the inability to focus in children. Our lack of focus is nothing but a distraction.
All of this is coming to a point, and it is not really related to ADD. It is this: the enemy is seeping in sneakily, and we don’t even recognize it. Do I think tv, cell phones, and the internet are of the devil? Yes and no. On the surface, I do not believe that these things are harmful. Underneath the clear water on the surface, though, there are deep pools of things that are lurking that are most definitely the plan of the enemy.
Sex. ALL. OVER. THE PLACE. Commercials that are shown during prime television watching after schools are showing everything from half naked women to simulated masturbation (no, I’m not making this up…) Sex is everywhere. I read the other day that 2/3 of the internet is pornographic websites. Shocking. If it isn’t outright pornography, its close enough. Our eyes and hearts are being flooded with images that will just not leave. We look at people and compare them to our spouses. We lust, and we imagine all sorts of scenarios, and in the end, we are distracted in our minds by the things that we can never unsee. We sit in the church seat next to someone, and lust in our hearts for them. It happens. We cannot turn off what we have allowed in our minds. It’s a distraction.
Then there is the in-your-face anti-God movement. If you have watched the news any time in the last 5 years, you will have seen the slow decline of respect for the Christian value system, and the slow turning of hearts from that of moral standards to those of abject immorality. Over a matter of years, we have gone from a prayerful, God-seeking nation, to a nation that prides itself in immorality, and celebrates the destruction of God’s church and His Name. According to the world, at this point, being a Christian is akin to being a Nazi. No longer is the church associated with love, peace, goodwill, but with hatred. But why? The media is pushing this agenda of anti-Christian sentiment, and just as the Germans fell for it hook, line, and sinker in the 40’s, this nation is falling for it in the same way now.
Then there is the allure of self-infatuation through selfies, Facebook, and Instagram. Ahh, the glorious like button. How many likes can I get on this one? No? Let’s take another, with more skin, a more flattering angle, and by all means, process the heck out of it! #nofilter. Distraction. Wake up and check it again. Do I have more likes overnight? Basing your life on how many likes you get on social media. This is nothing but distraction! Do you not see it? How about when you are sitting in church and you post something to Facebook? Oh yes, I see what time you posted that status… You passed it off as though you were taking sermon notes on your Bible app. #caughtyou
How about video games? Do you know that video game addiction is now an actual recognized psychosis? There are recovery groups and addiction therapy for it! Not to mention that they are nothing but a time suck. I personally love the Sims game franchise, but will admit that spending just a “few minutes” playing turns into hours on end ignoring my family. And for what? When I allow free time on video games, my kids will magically wake up earlier, and stay up later, just to play the games as long as they possibly can. I bought my son a game that had come highly recommended by friends last Christmas. They spoke highly of the open concept and free will ability, rather than the ridged structure of most games. Yet when I saw what he was playing, and some of the game interactions that were involved, I was disgusted. I had to take the game away that I had just given him. But there it is again. The distraction.
This is ALL a part of the seduction of God’s people. Let’s be busy, let’s be distracted, let’s keep looking over here or here… as long as you aren’t looking to Him. It’s time for us, as a whole, to WAKE UP and put the focus back where it belongs, on Him alone. No church will lead us to Him, no person will align us to His will, the only ones who can fall into line and focus, is us. This is a new year, which is a good time to create new habits and practices. This year, let us not choose another, tired resolution that we will forget by February; let us CHOOSE TO FOCUS on God, fasting and separating ourselves from the world and its distractions.
Who will join me?