Distractions are devices that the enemy (devil) often utilizes to keep us from accomplishing Gods purposes in our lives. Distractions come from either two places, external or internal. External distractions are circumstances we face such as; financial problems, employment issues, busy schedules, loss of loved ones, marital crisis, family concerns, etc. Internal distractions, which I want to explore, comes from within our emotions, which often paralyze us from moving forward and keep us from receiving God’s best.
Often times, our internal emotions are the catalyst that keeps our natural mind in bondage. Which brings forth emotions such as fear, rejection, bitterness, anger, loneliness, envy, jealousy, and the list goes on. If these emotions are not dealt with they will keep us from enjoying our journey with the Lord and ultimately destroy us. The apostle Paul described this problem when he wrote: "I love to do God's will, so far as my new nature is concerned; but there is something else deep within me, in my lower nature, that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me... Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God it has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 7:22-25, The Living Bible)
When I was younger, there was an iconic campaign slogan on television that still runs today that said, “A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste”. This slogan helped me in always seeking the best and never settling for less. However, today this phrase means much more to me than when I was younger. As a believer, I’ve come to understand that the mind is a doorway into our spirit man and the issues of life are stored within our hearts. I like Proverbs 4:23 in the New Living Translation, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” This means that in order for your heart to be guarded from internal distractions, one must protect our minds so that external distractions don’t take root and control our lives.
Many believers are not aware that there is an enemy who moves like a roaring lion seeking to destroy them. The enemy knows us better than we think and he is the master of distractions. John 10:10 warns us that the devil comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. His ultimate purpose is to distract us from the will of God and have us focus on ourselves. It is mainly our weakness which causes us to be led by our old nature and confront issues led by our emotions. One of my favorite scriptures is 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, which Paul declared: "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds." Those strongholds that Paul is talking about are the way the old nature believes. Whatever problems you are facing; you can rejoice because the spiritual weapons of your warfare are mighty. And when you learn to put aside the internal distractions, you can use those powerful weapons more effectively for the kingdom of God.
I often find that believers become casualties of wars instead of conquerors. Either the believer doesn’t know or doesn’t understand that when we received Christ as our Lord and Savior; we became spiritually alive in Christ and dead to our old nature. Romans 6:6 says, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin”. God is responsible for our spiritual salvation, but man is responsible for the thoughts he allows to control him. I heard Joyce Meyer said on one of her sermons; where the mind goes the man follows. This is so true. Too many believers are guided by their emotions instead of trusting Jesus and the work that He accomplished. When our emotions are getting the best of us, this usually means that Jesus is not Lord of our lives and what we feel is greater than what He has done for us. Hence the feelings stated in the second paragraph about our emotions of discontent, and are usually a sign of disconnect.
I know and understand that sometimes we go through difficult times in our lives. Many times they are out of our control. However, we must trust Jesus when He said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
I said this before when I preached, and when I taught Sunday classes, and I will continue to say it until I depart from this world—We can never, and will never, trust Jesus if we don’t spend time with him and know His will for our lives. I leave you with these words from Pastor Bill Johnson:
"What you focus on—the kingdom you're aware of—is what you release into the atmosphere around you," Bill says. "You're actually influencing your surroundings by what's going on inside. The world is filled with unbelief and sin and so many horrible things. The kingdom of God is filled with perfect trust and peace. You will always reflect the nature of the world you're most aware of."
Be blessed and stand on the word of God. In the name of Jesus, I pray that every distraction will be cancelled by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Efrain Cardona is an Elder and ordained licensed minister at Abundant Grace Christian Church in Rutherford NJ. Serves as the leader for the church’s Men’s Ministry, anointed to operate in various spiritual gifts; teach the word of God, prayer intercessor, and unique discernment in the prophetic.