Editors note: This is part 2 of a series. Read Part 1 here.
Are you distracted? I recently wrote an article in which I said, “If I could pick one word that I think best describes this generation it would be the word, distracted.” So, how about you? Is your focus easily pulled from one thing to another? If so, you’re not alone. And, distraction is more problematic than you may initially think.
Distraction is doing a lot more than just keeping us from being able to hear God speak. Distraction is keeping us from effectively carrying out the mission of God. I’m fully convinced that unless we break free from the death grip that distraction has on us, the next generation will not know who Jesus is.
Have you ever been driving while talking on the phone and been so distracted by the conversation that you end up driving to the wrong place? I hate to admit it but this happens to me all the time (I’m not good at multi-tasking). This is what the distracted life looks like. More importantly, this is what God’s Church looks like when His people are distracted. Distraction leads to nowhere. Distraction murders potential. Distraction buries God-given dreams and visions.
In Matthew 13:18-23, Jesus explains the parable of the four soils. I believe the third type of soil best describes where most of us are today.
“As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful” (v. 23, ESV).
God’s Word has the ability to totally change a person’s life. It has the ability to produce tons of “fruit” in a person. But often times, as soon as the seed (God’s Word) lands in the soil (our hearts), it gets choked out. Look at Matthew 13:22 again. What is it that has the power to “choke the word”? Thorns. And what are thorns? They are “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches” (aka distractions).
The difference between the fruit-producing soil and the non-fruit-producing soil is not more water, more sun, or more seed; it’s simply the absence of thorns. This is huge!
Our greatest need isn’t more training on how to share the gospel, it’s not more outreach programs, and it’s not better preaching or music. Our greatest need is to remove the thorns. If we want to have fruit-producing lives and churches, we must remove the distractions.
The Enemy wants to keep you distracted. Satan doesn’t want you to hear God speak. He knows that when God speaks, stuff happens (i.e., God spoke all of creation into existence, Lazarus was raised from the dead, etc.). Satan doesn’t want you to see the beauty of the cross or the grandeur of God’s love. Seeing the beauty of the cross and the grandeur of God’s love is what motivates us to move.
If we want to be part of changing our cities, our campuses and our world, we must remove the distractions.
So, are you distracted?
Austin Wadlow and his wife, Lesley, live in Iowa where he serves as the Teaching Pastor and Salt Company Director at Keystone Church in Ankeny, IA. They will be planting a Salt Network church in East Lansing, MI at Michigan State University in Fall 2019. You can connect with Austin via Twitter: @austinwadlow