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Strategies of the Enemy (Distractions) – Part One

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By Rod Nichols

John 10:10 tells us that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” Satan’s sole purpose on this earth is to destroy the lives of God’s people. He knows your name, where you life, where you work, and what you drive. He has a bad plan for your life. The good news is that he has no power over you, unless you let him. In this three part series, we will be studying the three main ways that the devil has used for thousands of years to keep people from developing a strong relationship with God and enjoying the abundant life that Jesus promised in the second half of John 10:10.

Strategy #1: Distractions

There is a story that pops up on the internet every once in awhile about a meeting that the devil has with his high level demons. They are discussing how to keep people from having a relationship with God. Many ideas are shared, but one really catches the ear of Satan. One demon suggests that they create many distractions such as television, internet, movies, music, cell phones, PDA’s, amusement parks, CD’s, and video tapes, that will distract people and keep them from going to church, investing time in the Bible, and in prayer. They settled on this idea and the rest is history.

This, of course is a fictional story, but is obviously very plausible. Our world has gotten out of control. We have far more things of the world to distract us than we did 30 years ago. I remember a day when there were only 4 channels on the television and there was only AM on the radio. I remember when there was only one movie theater in town and it showed one movie for about a month. I remember when we shared the phone line with neighbors and needed an operator to make a long-distance call. I remember when we used to do our math on a piece of paper and read books in order to research. That was a much simpler time. The devil’s plan to distract us has worked. So, let’s study the various ways that he distracts, so that we can recognize his pitfalls.

1. Subtle Temptations. A friend calls early Sunday morning with a tee-time; you are watching TBN and there is going to be a great program on at the same time as church; you sit down to do your Bible study and the phone rings; you think “I’ll just check my e-mail before starting my Bible study;” you are tired in the morning and decide to sleep a little while longer and do your Bible study in the evening; it’s time to go to your weekly small group/Bible study and a friend calls to see if you’d like to go to a hot new movie. These are all examples of subtle temptations that keep us from growing in our relationship with God. Watch for them and don’t give in to the devil.

2. Healthy Activities. Exercise is important to your health, but if it takes up time you would invest with God, then it is a scheme of the devil. The devil will even present you with seminars and conferences that appear to be good for you, but you must give up church, Bible study, or some other activity where you would grow closer to God. Beware of this wiley scheme.

3. Rare Opportunities. Jobs, businesses, trips and other activities that take you away from what God is doing in your life. Watch out for money schemes that promise big money without much work. Watch out for jobs that require you to work on Sunday and miss church. Make sure that when you plan a trip that you take your Bible and continue your studies. If the trip requires you to stay over a Sunday, then find a church in that area at which you can worship the Lord. Do not let the devil control your life with unusual opportunities.

4. Unholy Alliances. Marriage partners, business partnerships, and even friends can be part of an unholy alliance that keep you from growing close to the Lord and fulfilling the purposes He has for you. The Bible tells us not to be unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14). The devil will put wonderful people into your path, who are there to distract you. I have even seen Christian couples distract each other from their growth in the Lord. Look inside your own relationships and make sure that those you are yoked with are not distracting you or you distracting them.

5. Putting Out Fires. The devil loves to set fires in our lives – business, family, friends. It’s important to study these fires and determine how important they really are. Many times they would put themselves out, if you just let them go. Sometimes, if you wait, someone else will put the fire out. Evaluate whether your time putting out a fire is beneficial to your growth as a Christian or is it a distraction set before you by the devil.

Here are some tips for avoiding distractions:

1. Recognize the value of your God-given calling and what God is doing in your life. The higher a value you give the development of your personal relationship with God, the less likely distractions will work. You are a child of God, called to learn more about your Father and your Brother and the Spirit that resides within you. You are called to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and make disciples throughout the world. Your calling is great and important. Don’t let Satan distract you from your calling.

2. Finish your God-given assignments first, before moving on to anything else. God can’t move you to a new level until you have finished what He has given you at your current level.

3. Learn to prioritize your activities. The apostle Paul considered everything “rubbish” compared to knowing Jesus (Phil 3:8-9) and you should too. Evaluate the things that you do based on whether they have eternal value. All the things of this world will one day pass away and have no value. One day you will die and you won’t be taking anything with you. I’ve yet to see a hearse with a u-haul behind it.

You came into this world with nothing and you will leave with nothing, however the Bible talks about the rewards in heaven based on what we do here on earth, so prioritize your activities. Every time something is presented to you, ask yourself this question: “Does this activity have eternal value?” If it does, then do it, as long as it doesn’t take time away from something else that God has given you to do. If it does not have eternal value and there is something else that can be done, that does have eternal value, go with the latter.

©2010 Rod Nichols. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Bio:
Rod Nichols is a pastor, author and speaker as well as a professional writer. He’s written nine books and hundreds of articles. He and his wife Karen have been married since 1988 and have five children and five grandchildren. They make beautiful Washington State their home but enjoy traveling to other parts of the country.