Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Satan’s Subtle Tactic: Distraction

2 Timothy 4:10 – Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me.

THEME OF THE DAY: SATAN’S SUBTLE TACTIC: DISTRACTION. The devil is a schemer; a master at deception. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He is keenly aware of our weaknesses and the exact areas in our lives to attack and bring us into spiritual defeat. The devil has been dealing with human beings for over four thousand years. He knows what works to bring about spiritual disaster in Christ’s people. And remember the devil’s chief goal against Christians is to do great harm to their witness and testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ. There are many ways he does this, and perhaps the most effective is what is most unnoticed until it grabs us like a vise grip.

When it comes to the devil’s attacks against us, he doesn’t need to lead Christians into gross sin to do great damage to our testimonies for the Lord Jesus. All he has to do is distract us from seeking Christ. If he can get us to fill our lives with worldly events, activities, pursuits, and pleasures, leaving no time to behold Christ in His Word, through prayer, and with other believers, he will accomplish his goal; ruin our witness for the Lord Jesus. Nothing clouds and disfigures the image of Christ in His people more than worldliness. The only difference between the worldly Christian and the unbeliever is we have a religious ritual on Sunday mornings they lack. Other than that, the worldly Christian displays the same attitudes (complaining, irritation, frustration) as the unbeliever. The worldly Christian also has the same priorities as the unbeliever; earthly achievements, pursuits, pleasures, and comfort (2 Timothy 4:10). The Puritan pastor, Richard Sibbes, wrote, “Man’s nature desires pleasure, profit, or whatever appears good, and this can divert us from heavenly delights. Satan knows that nothing can prevail against those who are trusting in Christ, therefore he studies how to direct our attention to earthly pleasures.” We may alter Sibbes statement and not do it injustice by saying, “Satan knows nothing prevails against those who are trusting in Christ so he masterfully works to distract us from heavenly things and lures us to give our time and energy over to earthly things.”

Distractions. We live in an age of them. David Wells in his excellent book, God in the Whirlwind: How the Holy Love of God Reorients our World, identified two challenges facing 21st century Christians.

The first challenge is the pressure to conform to the world or allowing the world, not the Word, to conform us. Wells writes, “The shaping of our life is to come from Scripture and not from the culture. We are to be those in whom truth is the internal driver and worldly horizons and habits are not.” And think how hard this is in our daily lives. Pressure from the world abounds to achieve, be successful, promote self-esteem (not a Biblical term or command), and be always on the go. Should the Christian surrender to this worldly mindset, then Satan will have accomplished his goal – conformity to the world and discrediting our testimony for Christ.

Wells identifies another challenge, and one we are highlighting in today’s nugget; distraction. He writes, “The second challenge I am going to mention is the extraordinary bombardment on our mind that goes on every day from a thousand different sources that leave us distracted, with our minds going simultaneously in multiple directions. How, then, can we receive from Scripture the truth God has for us if we cannot focus long enough, linger long enough, to receive the truth? Every age has its own challenges. This one is ours. It is the affliction of distraction.”

The affliction of distraction. It is real, but curable. It begins with personal resolve to recognize it, then fight against it. Let’s be guarded today and every day of this subtle work of the devil. We don’t have to rob a bank, kill someone, or commit adultery to do great harm to our testimony for Jesus. All we have to do is allow the “age of distraction” get its grip on us and the harm will be done without committing gross, public sin.

PRAYER: “Father, make me resolved to refuse distractions to keep me from You.”

QUOTE: “The devil doesn’t need to lead us into gross sin. He just needs to distract us from seeking Christ. Both will ruin our witness for the Lord.”