This is part 6 of a series of posts I will be sending out every Friday,  relevant to the theme of this year’s ENGAGE Family Discipleship & Home Education Conference (only 4 weeks to go for Christchurch, 5 for Auckland!!!). The posts will be short, to the point, and practical – designed to help you/your family in preparation for the conference (you will still benefit if you’re not coming to the conference!). Here goes with the sixth post…

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Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Crazy-Paced World…“Our Enemy: Distraction”.

Proverbs 4:25-27 NKJV – 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, And your eyelids look right before you. 26 Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.

In the last post, we talked about the importance of acknowledging God in all situations, and how “grace-paced” living is essentially living a life centred upon Christ. I have no doubt most of us reading this would agree, and desire this in our lives – yet we have an enemy that constantly holds us back, and hinders us from doing this.

The enemy I am referring to is that enemy called distraction. 

By the time some of you have read even this far in this post, it’s highly likely you’ve had the “urge” to check your email inbox quickly, or respond to that Facebook notification, or answer that text that just came through.  If so, you would share those urges with many people in today’s technology-saturated, 24/7 notification, information-overload culture.

Let’s face it, there’s nothing inherently wrong with doing these things in, and of themselves – unless they are leading us into sin of course. But the frequency and placement of even “good” things, can end up being the enemy of the “best” things.

“Good” things become “bad” things when they hinder you from the “best” things.

When the best thing is being mentally and emotionally present with your family at the dinner table – a “good” text message can become something bad.

When the best thing is spending time in prayer and God’s Word – a “good” news article can become something bad.

When the best thing is getting to bed at a decent time, so you can function well the next day in your responsibilities – a “good” movie can become something bad.

When the best thing is focusing on the work you are responsible for carrying out – a “good” Facebook post (which so easily leads to 10 “good” Facebook posts!) can become something bad.

“Good” things become “bad” things when they hinder you from the “best” things. 

For example, think about the time when Martha was rushing around like crazy to get everything ready for dinner with Jesus, furious that her sister Mary was just “hanging out” with Jesus. Martha would have agreed that what Mary was doing was “good” – she just didn’t think it was “best”.

However, Jesus didn’t see it that way…

Luke 10:42 NKJV – 42 “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” 

We see something very vital for us to understand here.

So often in our lives at any given moment, one thing is needed. But so often (and I am speaking from experience!) we trade that one thing, for something far less important. The end result of this is that we miss out on God’s best for our lives.

As Proverbs 4:25-27 encourages us (see the beginning of this post) – it is very wise for us to stay focused, think carefully, and diligently stay on course in whatever best thing we are responsible to do, or whatever best path we are responsible for taking. We can only do this by defeating the enemy of distraction, which then allows us to live victoriously in that which God has called us to be and do.

For thought, prayer and application: Try to be hyper-alert today, to the many distractions that come your way, when you are doing the things that you are responsible to do. Ask yourself at that moment, “Do I need to respond to this?”, “What is the worst thing that can happen if I wait?”, “Will I pay for it later, by giving into distraction now?”, “Am I escaping responsibility by giving into this distraction?”. Ask God for His grace and strength to change established habits in your character so that you can learn to be more like Mary, and less like Martha.  There’s a time and a place for Martha activity – just not when it takes you away from Jesus and what He is wanting you to do. 

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