Christians worldwide face unprecedented persecution. Unless God intervenes, it will only get worse. Will you remain faithful to Christ if forced to choose between life, loved ones, and Jesus? Or, will you deny Him?
As a preparation to such a test, we face a similar choices everyday. We choose drugs over health (our bodies are His temples), pornography over family, screen time over prayer time. Most Christians fail these tests. I fail often. Then I repent, and start over again.
Here are the ten things that distract Christians most:
10. Our Jobs
Many Americans struggle working two and three part time jobs, working more hours for less money than they did a decade ago. This leaves little time for anything else. Unfortunately, many Christians choose to sacrifice spiritual rest for physical rest. Just As a body that goes without food and water suffers and dies, a spirit without spiritual food and water suffers.
Christians on both the left and the right are convinced that their party is the hand of God. While I do believe in absolute truth and that Christian values should prevail in our lives, I do not believe that ant party has a monopoly on truth. Is political affiliation the criteria by which we will be judged when we meet Christ face-to-face? Standing up for Christ does not always equal standing up for political values. We should spend more time on our relationship with Christ and less listening to network news or conservative talk radio.
Christians joke about how much they love to eat, but for many of us, food is an obsession, an addiction, or a bandaid to cover life’s wounds. While it is true that Christ utilized food in his ministry, it is also true that he knew the value of prayer and fasting. Do you eat for pleasure or eat for sustenance? When was the last time you fasted?
7. Pleasure Seeking
C.S. Lewis claimed that Christians are “far too easily pleased.” He said that during the Second World War. What would he say we’re he alive today? Our desire for Christ is weak, and we are too easily distracted by watered-down sermons from namby-pamby pastors they serve up moral platitudes and only hint at biblical truth. Many pastors worry more about entertaining their flock than feeding them. Congregations seek out churches with coffee houses, movies, professional musicians, and gymnasiums, rather than seeking a Bible-believing church full of the Holy Spirit. The two are not mutually exclusive, but the presence of the Spirit should take precedence over the presence of a Starbucks.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes the work we do within the church distracts us from our relationship with Christ. While driving the church bus or teaching children’s church or serving as deacon is important, they are not more important than prayer and Bible study.
One doesn’t have to be rich to make money your false god. Christ tells us not to worry about tomorrow. He told his disciples to follow him, leaving behind their families, home, and extra clothes. He tells us, in no uncertain terms, to TRUST fully in Him, not our jobs, not the federal reserve, not the banks, not the stock market, not welfare, nor food stamps. Trust in God.
Having many possessions is not a sin. Holding them more dear than you do your creator is. One does not have to make possessions into a false god to let them be a distraction. If you’re concern with possessions takes time away from your walk with God, then think twice about your love for Christ.
Sloth is one of the seven deadly sins. Let’s face it, many folks are simply too lazy to put forth the work necessary to develop a personal relationship with Christ. It takes time to pray and study the Bible. It takes effort to go to church, especially when that is your only day off work. Sunday night service? Forget it. Jesus was always busy ministering, praying, teaching, healing. Before he started his ministry, he worked as a carpenter. If Jesus stayed so busy, so should we.
How many Christian leaders or TV preachers, school teachers or politicians have fallen because of a sex scandal? I could, without much thought, name a dozen. Christians are human and humans like sex. God gave clear guidelines for our sexuality, guidelines that, though largely considered antiquated and irrelevant, have not changed. The problem is, illicit sex distracts us from our relationship with Christ. There are many other problems with sexual sins, but distraction is the one on which we focus. Volumes have been written and empires built on sexual addiction, pornography, cheating, divorce, and homosexuality. Suffice it to say, if it is taking away from your walk with God, seek counseling.
1. Screen Time
The number one thing that distracts Christians from their spirituality is screen time. Americans spend on average 11 hours a day staring at a screen. The average child spend 7 hours on those same gadgets. I suspect average screen time for Christians is not much different. While there is a definite place for the media, the Internet, and social media within Christian evangelism, Christians should not confuse clicking like on a cute picture and pithy piece of prudence with devotion to our Lord. Do not replace Faith with Face.