Have you ever been to Wal-Mart or some other big store and got a basket that had squeaky wheel? At first, you think you will be able to ignore it, but the more you push the basket the more that squeak grades on your nerves. Then you start thinking that everybody is looking at you because of the continuous squeaking coming from you basket. Since you become so distracted by the basket, it causes you to forget some of the things you were supposed to get.
The devil loves it when we get distracted by the squeaky wheels of life because he knows the more distracted we become the less time we will have to focus on what is important in life, which is serving God by living our lives for Him.
Life has a way of getting out of control because problems can come from anywhere. Sicknesses can pop up along with accidents. The government can change the rules that govern our lives. Our children and grandchildren can get involved in so many activities that we end up living just run them from one activity to the next. Or we may have friends or other family members that get sick and need our help.
Before we know
it the week is gone and we have failed miserable at serving God almighty
because we have got so distracted by living our lives. While we may have accomplished
many worldly things, we feel empty because we know little was done to further
This is one way that the ole devil can keep some Christians out of heaven because he is the master at causing distractions. He knows that those who have their priorities straight will be committed to serving God, but if they get too busy living life, he knows that he can slowly but surely break their commitment with God.
The devil is smart, he will not usually attack your strength, he will attack your weakness. He understands that a body in motion tends to stay in motion so it is hard to stop, but it easier to divert. For example boxers don’t try to stop the blows of their opponent, they divert them. In similar way, scientist know they cannot stop a large asteroid that is making its way the earth so they will figure out away to divert it instead. So, the devil will do what he can to divert our attention away from God.
Ever Christian starts out being committed to serving God. I do not know any Christians who ever had any intentions of falling away from God, but it happens over and over again. Of course there are many reason for this, but one of the reasons this happens is because Christians become so preoccupied with the world that they forget about serving God.
We must remind ourselves that we live in world that is full of distractions and it easy to allow ourselves to become so involved in those distractions that it can cause us to fall away from God, which will cause us to miss heaven. Notice what the writer of Hebrews challenges us to do:
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Yet the devil says, “If you’d just work a little longer you could have a new car.” “If you put your children in one more program, they will be more popular and successful in life.” Your family and your friends need more of your attention because they cannot survive without you.”
The ole devil knows how to appeal to our emotions and our fleshly side, but we have to remember that God and spiritual matters must come first in our lives. As Peter said:
1 Peter 1:13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
It would be easy to keep our complete attention on Jesus and the way of God if we did not live in world full of distractions, but we must learn how to keep our priorities straight. Just as we cannot face north and south at the same time, we cannot be worldly and Godly at the same time. We have to choose our priorities and stick with them.
While we live on this earth, we need to remind ourselves that it is just a temporary dwelling place. While we can glorify God in our work ethic and we might have some earthly wealth built up, we must never forget where our true treasure lies, which is heaven. Jesus explains it this way:
Matthew 6:19 " Do not lay up for yourselves
treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and
steal; 20 "but lay up
for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and
where thieves do not break in and steal.
21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be
also. 22 " The
lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body
will be full of light. 23
"But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If
therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that
darkness! 24 " No one
can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or
else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God
and mammon. 25 "
Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what
you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more
than food and the body more than clothing?
26 "Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow
nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you
not of more value than they? 27
"Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 "So why do you worry about
clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil
nor spin; 29 "and yet I
say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of
these. 30 "Now if God so
clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the
oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 "Therefore do not worry,
saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we
wear?' 32 "For after all
these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need
all these things. 33
"But seek first the
What Jesus has just said goes against everything that society teaches us because they teach us to put our faith in ourselves, our allies and our retirement plan, but as Christians we should put our faith in God and enjoy the wonderful blessings we receive right now and look forward to the eternal ones we will receive in heaven. We must determine in our minds to always put God first knowing that everything else will fall in to place when we do so.
The struggles that we go through are battles between the flesh and the spirit. If we want to be pleasing to God, we have got to stop letting the flesh win. Paul says:
Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
The way we learn to deal with the flesh and stay focused on the spiritual is by constantly reminding ourselves that we are simply sojourners on this earth. As Paul said:
Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
As Christians, we must continue to transform our minds and our thoughts toward the spiritual:
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Again Paul says:
Colossians 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
When we can learn to focus our thoughts on God and how we will spend eternity in heaven, it will help us to stop focusing so much on the flesh. Even when we have great trials and tribulations that consume us and try distract us, we must remain focused on our goal of heaven. We must have the attitude of Paul who said:
2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
While we live on this planet and live our physical lives out, we must learn to live in a such away that causes us to separate ourselves from the world and its ways so that it distractions will not divert our attention away from God. John says:
1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
To love this world is to place a higher value on it and what it offers. As John said, this life and this earth are passing away and it will not last. Knowing that the world and all that is in it will not last and will eventually be burned up should cause us to shift our focus from the world and what it has to offer to what God has to offer. Nothing we build or earn in our lifetime can be taken with us when we die, so we should learn to content with what we have and not allow ourselves to be distracted with trying to keep up with the Jones. As Paul points out:
1 Timothy 6:6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
We must remind ourselves that once we became Christians, we became a new creature who is supposed to live in a new way:
2 Corinthians 5:17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
We have been given a fresh start. From a spiritual perspective, we have been separated from the world and we should not allow the distractions of the world to keep us from serving God as we should. Anytime we feel ourselves being distracted by the squeaky wheels of this life, we need to nip in the bud because there is nothing and I do me nothing in the world that is worth losing our soul over:
Matthew 16:26 "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Our challenge as Christians is to become noticeably different than the people of the world. For example, notice what Paul says in the following verses:
Ephesians 4:20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
When we become a Christian we must change our ways because the way we were living before was like that of the world. Paul goes on to give several worldly sinful examples that we must change and never allow to distract us again:
25 Therefore, putting away lying, "Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one another. 26 "Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil.
It is easy to tell a lie, but it much harder to remember what lie you told to who, so the best thing to do is to tell the truth then you will not have to try and remember what lies you told. We also learn that there is nothing wrong with anger itself, but we must not allow our anger to cause us to sin, and we must not allow our anger to continue or we will give the devil a place in our life.
28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
Once you become a Christian and start focusing on the treasures in heaven, there should be no desire to steel because not only is wrong to steel, we can know that steeling things will serve no purpose. Again knowing that we cannot take things with us when we die, makes the possessions of this world have less of a value.
Of course, we must also learn to change the way we speak. No longer should foul words come from our lips. Instead, we should speak in away that is pure and holy.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Anytime we allow the distractions of the world to take our focus off heaven and they cause us to sin, it will cause us to grieve the Holy Spirit. He does not want us to miss heaven. Finally, Paul said:
31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.
These are just some of the changes we must make when we become Christians, but the main idea is that we must continue to grow and change our ways to God’s ways. The more we do that the easier it will be for us to ignore the distractions of this world and stay focused on pleasing God and making our way to heaven.
We must also remember that we are an example to those that around us. It should be our goal to not only make it to heaven, but to take as many people with us as can. We do this by living Christ-centered lives without allowing the many squeaky wheels of this life to keep us from serving God as we should.
I want to leave with the following questions to ponder on:
How often do you think about God during the day?
What do you actually do for God each day?
Do you make time to study God’s Word and to pray each day?
Do you spend more time running your kids around to various worldly activities than you spend time serving God?
Lets all make a special effort this week to keep focused on the things above.