By: Josh & Jennifer Pepper
All of us are influenced by outside elements of our daily life. In preparation for writing this devotion, a quick personal inventory of my external influences revealed a large number of people in my life, social media, news outlets, television shows, and even plain old busyness.
Now, not all of these elements are bad, but left unchecked, the dangers of outside influences on our lives can grow into distraction. Distraction, at least the dangerous kind I’m referring to, is shifting our attention from something of greater importance to something of lesser importance. Our fundamental and most dangerous problem in distraction is in being distracted from God — our tendency to shift our attention orientation from the greatest Object in existence to countless lesser ones. The Bible calls this idolatry.
In the search for the Lord’s vision and direction for our lives, the first step was saturating ourselves in His Word and in Prayer. Seeking the Lord and His guidance in a consistent and passion-filled way.
Now, it is time to ask the question, “What is keeping me from hearing Him?”
Our reading today is the Parable of the Sower in Luke Chapter 8.
Pastor Rick Warren says "You can’t hear God when your mind is crowded with thoughts, worries, fears, and plans, or if you always have the radio or TV on... If you are always on the go and you can’t hear God, you are facing the barrier of busyness. Often we confuse busyness with productivity and they aren’t the same thing. If you keep going, going, going but you aren’t spiritually growing, growing, growing, you are busy, not productive."
While the list of distractions any one of us could face in a week is indeed vast, the challenge before you today is take a personal inventory of the external distractions that make up your specific "barrier of busyness." Is social media taking up too much of your time? Do you spend more time in front of a television than you should? Are there people in your life that distract you from Godliness?
As you begin to explore these external distractions in your life, begin with prayer that God would give you Grace to confront these distractions and the strength to reprioritize where He leads. Next, write down all of the external influences that could be distracting you from God’s call on your life. Examine your list with an open mind, and ask the Lord to show you areas to pull back on. Ask for His priorities to become your priorities.
For more on this topic from Pastor Rick, read his full blog post about Luke 8 by clicking here.