For the past couple of weeks I’ve been riding around in a car with no functioning radio. That means no music, no news, no Rush (no loss!), and no sports. Basically, no noise. Just a whole lot of quiet time (i.e. boredom).As I reflect on this experience it occurs to me that it hasn’t been all that bad. What I’ve discovered (again) is that one of the most pressing desires of our FLESH–that sinful part of us–is distraction. Satan has an amazingly crafty way of drawing me away. It’s not that he tempts me with the most disgusting of life’s evils. Rather, he seeks only to distract me from the things I should be doing, thinking, or longing for. If our sinful nature can be satisfied with a brief and mindless distraction, our spirit cannot be led by the Holy Spirit into deeper communion with the Father.As I thought more about this, I discovered a brief list of these effective distractions:
Pleasure — this principle is one of the most powerful, especially to the truly carnal, worldly-minded Christian. The longing for the sins of the flesh, for sexual or sensual pleasures can very effectively distract from the pursuit of Christ-likeness in us.
Television / Radio — this part of our world is the most pervasive form of distraction. It has proven effective for almost all of us at one time or another. Whether it’s a movie, or a TV program, or a soothing CD, (even non-offensive things) very often our mind wants nothing more than to be occupied for a few hours with some bit of noise or entertainment, yet no time is spent in the valuable pursuit of holy things. Leisure — you know, a good game, a visit to the beach, a trip to the amusement park. What could be wrong with that? Nothing. But we live in a leisure-saturated society. We long to be at rest, enjoying a comfortable moment of passive enjoyment. For many of us, we either are at work or at play. But even these things do not bring the true rest our spirits need.
Religion — okay, you’ve got to be kidding now!! Really, I’m not. Remember, our Enemy is a crafty one. He is capable of using your weekly attendance at the worship assembly to give you just enough taste of the ‘disease’ of spirituality to keep you from catching a truly Spirit-led lifestyle. In medical terms it’s called a vaccination. In this sense, Satan can actually use your noble desires against you, as a distraction from a deep pursuit of God.
Without a radio around to distract me I found that I was called into conversation with God. Driving became a time of communion, a time of reflection on spiritual truths. If you find that you are not sensing a call to a walk in the garden with Jesus while you are watching TV don’t be surprised. However, if you don’t hear that call while everything is quiet, perhaps it is because the ears of your mind are being called to some comfortable distraction, mindless leisure. Listen to the quiet call of the Father: “Whatever is, noble …right…pure… lovely… think about such things’ (Phil 4:8).
Jimmy Shaw in “The Anchor” – February 23, 1997