Distracted, Deceived Souls
The good brother who had last week’s closing prayer here where I preach absolutely nailed it when he alluded to the fact that there is something far worse, far more dangerous, and far more deadly than the Coronavirus going on out there… and that is those poor lost souls who are dying daily, and facing their eternity, without ever being in a right relationship with the Lord God almighty. AMEN! However, I’m sure that most people you might come in contact with – and sadly, this includes a good number of Christians as well – will probably in some form or fashion, express their own personal expending of far more time, talk, energy, and interest consumed with Coronavirus-related matters, rather than with making sure that they and everyone else around them is ready to meet God – no matter when and what they may inevitably die of. How does this happen? Especially with Christians? And especially in light of the far greater, far more deadly, and far more long-lasting and devastating results of the latter?
First off, we must remember that Satan is not only the master of deception, but that he is also the master of distraction. Before he could deceive Eve, he first had to distract her. This he did by getting her focus and attention off of all of the other trees of the garden which God had so richly blessed she and Adam with (Gen. 3:1-5). Once the distraction was successful, the deception was inevitable.
This truth is likely why God warned Isaiah not to be distracted and caught up in what the people of his day feared and were caught up in: “For the Lord spoke thus to me with His strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: ‘Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, Him you shall honor as holy. Let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. And he will become a sanctuary…’” (Isa. 8:11-14a ESV). Remember: “Once distraction is successful, deception is inevitable.”
The same holds true today. I believe this is one reason why Jesus and His divinely-inspired first-century writers repeatedly addressed just exactly how deadly allowing Satan to thus distract us truly is. Jesus, in the parable of the sower, explained how “He who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world… choke the word” (Matt 13:22).
The Apostle Paul commanded: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:1-2); and, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2). As he wrote to Timothy, and by extension, to every “good soldier of Jesus Christ … no one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier” (2 Tim. 2:3-4). Writing to His beloved Philippian brethren, he said: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil 4:8-9).
The thing that you and I must understand is that in our world there is always going to be a “crisis” of some sort going on. Whether it is viral, financial, political, psychological, or some other, there is always going to be a “crisis of the day” – something that the unbelieving world around us is always going to be distracted by, consumed with, and/or far too worried about, to ever take the time to seriously focus on God, His word, and their eternity… and the news media is going to make absolutely sure that they dissect and dramatize every divinely-distracting detail and morsel of it. After all, without a crisis to report, their criteria for existence ceases to exist.
Consider: Do you perhaps recall the pre-Coronavirus crisis that had everybody so up in arms only about eight short months ago? Church shootings. Before that, it was something else… and something else before that… just as there will also be some other “crisis” to “worry” about and be consumed with eight months from now… and eight months after that… and etc., on into the future. It just simply never ends. And Satan makes sure it doesn’t. Because “Once distraction is successful, deception, as well as death and destruction, are all, also inevitable.”
The eternally-deadly danger for all of us as Christians, comes the moment we ever forget that; should we ever begin to incrementally get so caught up in and sidetracked by whatever the current “crisis of the day” is, that we start to continually forget or neglect that which is most important; should we, like Martha, become so distracted with other things, that we forget the only thing, that should ever really matter – loving, listening to, and being comforted and encouraged by our beloved Lord and Savior’s word (Lk. 10:38-42).
Brethren; do your Lord, yourself, and those you love around you a huge and heavenly favor: Do not allow the “always-a-crisis” events of the current day’s news, to continually consume, distract, and/or draw you away from the incredibly encouraging and uplifting good news of the word of God. Here’s an experiment to try: Turn off the bad news of man for just one, short week, and turn to the pages of the good news of God during that same time period instead. The world and its news won’t change all that much during that time, but you and your peace of mind surely will (Jn. 16:33; Phil 4:8-9). God bless!