For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope — the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Titus 2:11-13
Last night as I reflected on the activities of the day, I realized how easy it was for me to become distracted by the foolishness of this world. For what I had focused on was a complete waste of time, time that should have been devoted to praying and studying the Word of God. This morning as I prayed, I purposed in my heart to eliminate the source of that distraction.
Distractions require Deliverance from God!
Satan is unable to read our minds, but he certainly has the powers of observation to learn our preferences; the things that we love and make us happy; the time we spend on our cellular devices; the type of books that we read; the programs that we watch; the individuals that we hang out with, and the places that we visit. So, he compares the time we spend on pursuing our desires, and the time that we spend on building our relationship with God, and he masterfully designs a plan to keep us busy. His goal is to sever our relationship with God.
Many years ago, I had a wonderful coworker who was a Registered Dietician. I was struggling with weight gain and asked for his assistance in developing a plan to lose weight and to eat a healthier diet. Imagine my surprise when he asked me to start a journal documenting my time and activities for the next three days. With hesitancy in my voice, I agreed to start journaling, and we set up an appointment for Day 4.
At the beginning of our session, his initial question was, “Do you know why I asked you to make a Time and Activity log?” When I answered a feeble “No,” he patiently explained the importance of knowing how we utilize the time that we have been given daily. He further clarified that without the awareness of the amount of time we devote to activities outside of work or sleep, that we will rarely accomplish essential duties or reach set goals.
After he finished reading the entries, the next question was an inquiry regarding my spiritual beliefs, “Did I believe in a higher power and who was the power?”, to which I responded that I believed in God. The feedback that remains in my memory was that “I had failed to document the time that I spend with God.” My mind attempted to process exactly what was happening in this session. Yes, his clothing and Yiddish accent revealed that he was of Jewish descent. Nevertheless, when he disclosed that he was a Rabbi, I realized that this was Divine intervention, I was receiving a message from God. My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” Psalm 27:8
I wish that I could tell you from that point, which was at least 25 years ago, that I was faithful to God by diligently communing with Him. No, I remained distracted. My desires outweighed the importance of establishing an up-close and personal relationship with God. Even so, in 2017, God used another individual to remind me that He was still waiting for me to come to Him. It was at a time when I was discouraged because my physical impairment ended my nursing career.
Amid a significant life event, I had to redirect my focus and turn to God for comfort. My testimony is that I began to write one sentence–words of encouragement on Facebook. From 2017 to present, God has enabled my spiritual gift to expand as I write Devotionals, which remind us that God is here.
We do not have to live a life of monotony. God has blessed us with talents, spiritual gifts, the ability to love and to laugh. Still, we must put away our idols of pleasure, which consume the time that we should spend with God. You must worship no other gods, for the LORD, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you. Exodus 34:14
Become aware, document all of your activities, along with every meal that you eat, including the time that you spend with God for 3 days. Be truthful and honest. Self-evaluations are tough. It is not easy to give up our distractions. The persons we love, our desires, emotional discouragement, and meaningless activities that consume the majority of our time will keep us from studying, praying and growing closer to God.
As you review your journal entries, perform a process of elimination, and get rid of non-productive distractions. It is not as easy as one may think, to give up what we love the most. God must be foremost, our spiritual relationship with Him cannot grow from short bursts of time. It takes a concerted effort to perform the process of elimination to renew our covenant with God. We will overcome when our prayers include the request for God to deliver us from all distractions.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020