More than 3000 people were killed in 2012 in car crashes attribute to distractions while driving. Many more were injured because when driving our cars we should be focused on the road and the route but many of us do things like drink our coffee, put on our make-up, read bits of the newspaper lying in our laps, use our cellphones and probably worst of all ‘text’. Even adjusting our radio is enough to take our eyes off the road for that split second that could mean life or death, to us or to another driver.
And now I want to suggest, as part of my series on Road Grace that driving our car is somewhat analogous to our life as a follower of Jesus. Distractions on the journey of discipleship may not seem to lead to a deadly outcome but if they separate us from the walk that we intend with Jesus, well, we might just end up lost or even worse.
So let’s consider distractions to living the life of a follower of Jesus. I suspect that pride is right up there at number one. It’s hard to think of others when you are too busy thinking about yourself. It’s hard to listen to others with a sense of respect when all you care about is the sound of your own voice. I know. I have done it and realized too late how uncaring I seemed to the other person.
Anger is distracting. So is lust. So are material possessions. Worry is distracting taking our eyes off our relationship with Jesus and his direction because we are too busy thinking about tomorrow. Guilt is a distraction from the joy of a relationship with a loving God who forgives so completely. Busyness and hurrying are distractions to the time we could spend loving others and loving God.
I believe that Satan isn’t as dark and malicious as some movies portray him. He has only to ‘distract’ us for a moment. I am recalling (I hope correctly) that in one of Screwtape’s letters to his younger colleague he argues that when the patient (a new Christian) is reading the Bible all the colleague has to do is distract him with hunger so he will stop reading and probably not get back to it. How often has that happened to us where our devotions are interrupted never to be visited again that day?
Distraction is what Satan was about in the temptation of our Lord, distraction from the purpose for which Jesus came to our world.
Shame is one of the greatest distractions of the devil. Thinking that God couldn’t love us or care for us because of our character, or some bad deed or something someone has said to us. Shame takes our eyes off God’s love and places that sight back on ourselves that we are not good enough.
So be careful in your walk with Christ not to be distracted to the right or the left but to stay on the path with Jesus, doing what he has said and trusting his love more than we trust anything else. Let’s keep our eyes on Christ.
Hey, we want to get to our destination whole.