“When a Christian shuns fellowship with other Christians, the devil smiles. When he stops studying the Bible, the devil laughs. When he stops praying, the devil shouts for joy.”
~Corrie Ten Boom
Conflict, comfort & complacency. These are some of my hugest distractions and temptations, which leads to the issues in the quote above. While it is unproductive to dwell on which of my actions the devil is or isn’t pleased with, the thought of it captures my attention, convicts me.
A day rarely slips by without some sort of conflict, whether it be within our homes, at the workplace, and nowadays, through our smartphones or computers. I can’t remember the last time I scrolled through the news feed of my Facebook page and didn’t see numerous conflicts among Christians, sometimes even one way via status update. And I hear story after story of families splitting up, people leaving life groups and churches because they were offended by something (sometimes never stepping inside the doorway of a church ever again), name calling, bickering and being divisive against other Christ-centered ministries, & on and on. It’s a tangled mess.
Then there’s comfort, which my Jesus knows I struggle with from time to time. And when I’m comfortable, a lot of things that need caring about and focused on get swept by the wayside…because if I surely face them, well…It will be uncomfortable.
Complacency sets in if I give in to my comfortableness (my word) too long. Yuck.
I dare say, Corrie Ten Boom was on to something.
See how distracted I can get? How about you?
Like the other distractions and sins in our lives, the answer is to flee them. But to stop at fleeing is pointless, self-defeating even. We must pursue Christ, submit to Him, turn and run in His direction. Scripture teaches of fleeing and pursuing in several places, but for me right now, this familiar passage is one I am praying and clinging to:
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3, NASB
So while conflict will always be only a live body or a click away, and comfort and complacency will often rear their ugly heads to distract and detain, I pray that each day we will fix our eyes on Jesus…not only to keep the devil away, but mostly because it is with Jesus in full view that we can live untangled–running forward fiercely in the faith-filled life that He has paved out for each of us.
And I’m VERY thankful He provides the company of others running alongside me. Let’s help each other lay aside the junk, my friends, by staying unified in Christ, living by His Word, and abiding in His presence through study & prayer. There’s no better time than today to untangle.
“Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. Hebrews 3:12-14, NLT
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