Distraction, [dih-strak-shuhn] (dictionary.com)
- the act of distracting.
- the state of being distracted.
- mental distress or derangement:
- that which distracts, divides the attention, or prevents concentration: The distractions of the city interfere with my studies.
- that which amuses, entertains, or diverts; amusement; entertainment: Fishing is his major distraction.
- division or disorder caused by dissension; tumult.
Busyness, [biz-ee-nis] (dictionary.com)
- the quality or condition of being busy.
- lively but meaningless activity.
Building off of Randy’s study from last week, men typically have a goal to provide for their families. To achieve this goal, we strive to do a good job so we can progress and grow. We want people to be able to count on us to deliver, to be effective, to be efficient. Accomplishing this goal takes time, focus, dedication, and sacrifice.
What other goals do we typically set? Being knowledgeable beyond my obedience, building my relationship with God should be the top priority. Setting aside time for Bible study, reflection, community, and helping others.
What about a goal to invest in our families? We want a strong marriage. We want our kids to grow up know who Jesus is and why they need His saving grace.
What other goals do we set because we are comparing ourselves to others? Physical fitness, nice possessions…how much investment time and treasure do we put towards these goals? Do our possessions start to possess us with demands on our time for maintenance, upkeep, etc.?
Can all these competing demands lead to a feeling of running on a treadmill? A feeling of being busy all the time? Do we feel like we are not making progress on something unless we are busy?
How do we stay focused on what is important, to avoid being distracted from what is helpful?
The Next Story, Tim Challies
“Christians may be excited about God, but because they have become a product of our digital world, they have a diminished ability to think deeply about Him, to truly know Him as He is. More and more of us are finding that we just can’t stop long enough to read. We can’t sustain our attention long enough to study. We can’t find the time to meet with our Father. Where prayer used to be the first activity of the day, we now begin our daily routine by checking e-mail. Where the Bible used to be a special Book we read and studied, now it’s an e-book that competes with our voice mail, text messages, e-mails, and the ever-present lure of the Internet.
Here is one of the great dangers we face as Christians: With the ever-present distractions in our lives, we are quickly becoming a people of shallow thoughts, and shallow thoughts will lead to shallow living.”
Jon Bloom, desiringGod.org
“We’re becoming conditioned to distraction, and it’s harming our ability to listen and think carefully, to be still, to pray, and to meditate. Which means it is a spiritual danger, an evil from which we need God’s deliverance.”
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41–42)
- What was causing Martha’s distraction and causing her to be busy when she could have been sitting and listening to Jesus?
“God also uses distraction to strengthen our self-control. Christian self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23). And like nearly all the Spirit’s fruit of sanctification in us, they are cultivated through the primary, decisive gift of the Spirit and our secondary but indispensable intentional hard work.”
“If we see the Spirit-given graces of humility and faith growing in us through our struggles against distraction, we will count it among the “all things” we give thanks for (Ephesians 5:20, KJV).”
- How do you prioritize your time? What small but meaningful changes can we make to align our priorities the way they should be so we are not just busy?
- What strategies do you use to focus and tune out distractions?
Mark 1:35 – 37 - Jesus Prays in a Solitary Place
35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
- What strategies do you use to be quiet and still so you can connect with God?