God has been trying to help me recognize and understand the distractions in my life. In fact, I’ve learned: “Whatever is not your assignment is your distraction.”
You might think this would be a simple lesson, but I have found it to be a difficult one. Every day we have opportunities before us, but which to choose? How do we know for sure which is an assignment from God and which is a distraction? The simple definition of distraction is “anything that distracts” (obviously). But more specifically, it is anything that divides the attention, prevents concentration, diverts, or entertains.
There’s my problem. (Squirrel!)
I am by nature a thinker. I like to understand how things work. I can get deep into my work and have a hard time changing gears. Thus, I have purposely created “distractions” in my life–things to divert my attention off work and deep-thinking. A good book, a good movie, a game of solitaire, social networks, etc. are just a few of the ways I rest my mind and “chill.”
But therein lies another problem. These things, although individually not bad, can drain me of creativity and devour my time.
The Bible says, “Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you…” (Colossians 2:4).
Deceive… Now there’s a word I have spent most of my Christian life trying to expose and explain. The Apostle Paul was doing the same. He wanted to expose the ignorance and deception concerning that which keeps believers from growing in spiritual wisdom. But what he was really trying to say was: “…lest anyone should distract you…”
The original language in Colossians 2:4 uses the word “beguile.” This isn’t a word commonly used in our modern vernacular, but beguilement is a synonym for distraction and deception. Isn’t that interesting? These two words are interchangeable in meaning and purpose.
When I read the Apostle Paul’s warning, I immediately understood that if a person can distract and deceive another, so can a thing, such as a book, a movie, a game on my phone, etc. “Now this I say lest anyone [or anything] should deceive [distract or beguile] you…” (my emphasis). Paul continued warning believers to keep a steadfast faith in Christ: “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone [and I’ll add: or anything] cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:6-8).
In other words, the devil can and will use anything to distract us from God’s assignment. We must beware.
But does this mean we have to always be at the church or in prayer or in the Word twenty-four/seven? No, not at all. It doesn’t even mean we can’t enjoy a book or a movie or a game. What it means is that we must be cautious of how much time we give to those things. I’ve even had to learn how to say no to good and profitable things. [Tweet “Remember, if God didn’t call you to it, you’ll have no promise of a reward from it.”] “And this I say to your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction” (1 Corinthians 7:35).
So stay focused. Pay attention to how you spend your time. Remember, if the devil can’t deceive us with evil things, he will do his best to deceive (and distract) us with simple things. (Squirrel!)