Distractions! or Vain Influences?
Tozer's devotionals have really been good the last few days, encouraging holiness in the face of the world's busyness.
Distractions! Distractions! Distractions!!
And what is the devotional mood? It is nothing else than constant awareness of God's enfolding presence, the holding of inward conversations with Christ and private worship of God in spirit and in truth. Public worship embraces the community of believers and is genuine only as the individuals who compose the company assemble in the mood of reverent devotion. Anything short of this is sheer formality and must surely be unacceptable to God.
Among the enemies to devotion none is so harmful as distractions. Whatever excites the curiosity, scatters the thoughts, disquiets the heart, absorbs the interests or shifts our life focus from the kingdom of God within us to the world around us--that is a distraction; and the world is full of them. Our science-based civilization has given us many benefits but it has multiplied our distractions and so taken away far more than it has given.
One thing is certain, however: we cannot turn the clock back to quieter times, neither can we hide from the persistent clamor of the 20th century. We must learn to live in such a world as this and be victorious over it.
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. Psalm 130:5
The telephone, e-mail and internet, TV, books and magazines, other people, things to do and the swirling mind. We are mired in the midst of distractions! But despite it all and in it all, God is there and with Him we can engage in heart communication.
Despite those endless distractions You are there, Lord, You are there. And with You I may walk and talk and listen. Thank You!
Experiencing God Despite the Distractions
In the normal course of things a certain number of distractions are bound to come to each one of us; but if we learn to be inwardly still these can be rendered relatively harmless. It would not be hard to compile a long list of names of Christians who carried upon their shoulders the burden of state or the responsibilities of business and yet managed to live in great inward peace with the face of the Lord in full view. They have left us a precious legacy in the form of letters, journals, hymns and devotional books that witness to the ability of Christ to calm the troubled waters of the soul as He once calmed the waves on the Sea of Galilee. And today as always those who listen can hear His still, small voice above the earthquake and the whirlwind.
While the grace of God will enable us to overcome inevitable distractions, we dare not presume upon God's aid and throw ourselves open to unnecessary ones. The roving imagination, an inquisitive interest in other people's business, preoccupation with external affairs beyond what is absolutely necessary: these are certain to lead us into serious trouble sooner or later. The heart (mind) is like a garden and must be kept free from weeds and insects. To expect the fruits and flowers of Paradise to grow in an untended heart is to misunderstand completely the processes of grace and the ways of God with men. Only grief and disappointment can result from continued violation of the divine principles that underlie the spiritual life.
But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29
Even though scattered among the nations and subject to cultural influences drawing them from God, if Israel will seek God with all their heart and soul He will be found. So with us today. Surrounded by evil influences and a myriad of distractions, we may find God if we seek Him with heart and soul. Are we so seeking Him?
Forgive me, Lord, for cluttering my life with unnecessary distractions. I throw them aside and look to You.
These devotionals become a lot more meaningful with the real definition of ‘Grace’ being applied and understood, “... especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude.”
I believe that Tozer is referring to this idea of grace in his devotional, but I see some of his distractions are worse than a distraction, like television! Distractions that feed our sences are ‘negative influences’ which are far worse than a simple distraction, especially when you consider what James says about being double minded(two spirited, one foot in the world and one in the church). A distraction carries the idea, in my mind, of a just a minor pull on the attentions of our normal life.
An influence to me is something that can or does impact our life and the path that we walk as well as how we think, talk, and act.
Matthew 6 especially verses 22-24. “The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is sound, your entire body will be full of light. But if your eye is unsound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the very light in you [your conscience] is darkened, how dense is that darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions, or whatever is trusted in).” Think about the facts of Light and darkness. Darkness is the absence of light. As one slows down feeding the Holy Spirit, it is like dimming the light. Issues become obsure, confusing, even twisted.
The eye was and still is the primary input into our minds(heart). Today with the electronic media we are being influenced (attacked) by the replacement of Light in all areas of the senses. Think about all the things that take up our time. How many of them will enable you to honor and intimately know the Father? How many of them could be taken to heaven? Those are the only things of value, the rest is vanity, worthless and darkness.
We must ask ourselves, are we really living by or under ‘grace’ when we spend most of our time feeding at the table of the world’s menu and little to no time in the Word or walking in obedience to the Holy Spirit?
I see living in grace as living with the Spirit of Christ truly inside, meditating on His Word, hearing his voice saying this is the way, walk in it, walking in obedience to the still small voice, day and night, that Tozer spoke about.
Thus are we ‘saved by grace’, which really means ‘delivered by the divine influence’, the Spirit of Christ that dwells within, continually being feed and causing our lamps to burn brightly by our obedience and being continually in the presence of Jesus.
Think about it!!