The other day I had an appointment with a client, who failed to show up. This was odd behavior for him, so I tried phoning him and sending a text message, with no response. I even went so far as to try to connect through Skype, but still received no response. A few hours later, I received a text message from the client, apologizing for missing our appointment. He said his mother had been involved in a car accident and he had rushed to check on her. He went on to say that she was OK, but that she had been hit by a 17-year-old distracted driver who was … you guessed it … texting!
Are you guilty of driving while texting? I know I am! In fact, I must also confess that I am often guilty of checking email while driving! Yikes – talk about being distracted! Only the Lord knows how many times He has protected me (and others!) from my distracted driving, while I’m focusing on everything besides the one thing I should be focused on.
Often times we are distracted by and caught up in life itself and become focused on this world of instant pleasure of what we can see and touch. We get distracted by the cravings of this world.
Why is this distraction a problem?
The enemy of our souls wants us to live distracted by a lust for the things of this world so that we miss the real meaning and purpose of our lives. If we become so caught up in chasing after the temporary and fleeting material things of the world, we lose sight of Jesus. We miss the gift He gave us through His life, death and resurrection. We miss the gift of eternal life. As long as we remain distracted, the enemy wins.
As Christians, it is imperative that we remain aware of worldly distractions and consciously strive to live a Christ-centered life and put aside distraction by the things of this world.
What are some of the things that can distract us?
Things of the world are those things we can touch and see — the material things that cloud our vision and distract us from living a God-centered life, such as the pursuit of money, possessions and career advancement. These are not inherently bad things; however, the way we go about obtaining them can be. When we start to prioritize these things before our relationship with Christ, they become distractions that can be detrimental to our spiritual growth.
We can also become distracted by things of the heart – things that we see in others but somehow don't see in ourselves. I call them distractions of the heart because that is where they originate. For example, jealousy, harboring anger, gossiping, being unforgiving are all distractions that steal our focus and energy away from what God would have us do. They keep us from growing into the mature Christians we are called to be.
In her book "Discerning the Voice of God" author Priscilla Shirer says, “The fact of the matter is that all day, everyday our hearts and minds are being saturated with messages that are contrary to the word of God” (p. 53).
It is hard for us not to become distracted. However, as Christians we are to live differently, but this doesn't come easily. It requires a daily conscious effort and becoming mindful of those things that pull us away from God. If left unchecked, living distracted by the things of this world and the things of our heart can stunt our spiritual growth, dim our witness and hinder our prayer life.
My brothers and sisters, we are to remember that we live in this world but we are not of this world for the Scriptures say, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2a).
The key words here are “any longer” — turn your eyes from the distractions the enemy has placed in your path and fix your eyes on Jesus.
I have even more to confess….
Not only am I guilty of texting and emailing while driving, but I am also guilty of living for a long time distracted by the things of this world. I was caught up in having the latest, greatest name brand, designer everything! I felt like I had to have it and that I deserved it, too! Can you relate? Then one day in 2007 all that changed. It was as if the Lord Himself had said, "Enough already!"
I lost everything I owned when my home caught fire. Everything gone; I walked away with only the clothes on my back.
And, I recall the Lord whispering in my ear as I watched everything go up in flames, "Do I have your attention now?"
It took me losing everything I had to realize that the things of this world are here today and gone tomorrow. Living distracted by these things is flat-out foolishness.
My wake up call was a fire. What will it be for you?
Distracted driving is dangerous to your life. Distracted living is dangerous to your eternal and immortal soul.