October 19, 2018
Pure Heart, Answered Prayer Series:
This Week’s Lesson: “Deadly Distractions”
Scriptures: “I will take away your stubborn heart and give you a new heart and a desire to be faithful. You will have only pure thoughts, because I will put my Spirit in you and make you eager to obey my laws and teachings.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27, CEV); 1 John 1:9; Romans 10:9; Acts 3:19; Romans 7:18, 20.
Earlier this week, my husband and I were driving along and in the distance, we could see a crow feasting on some “dead” roadkill. I expected the crow to fly off quickly as is their custom, but this crow decided to linger a little longer than expected. The driver swerved to miss him, but the crow took flight directly into the path of the oncoming car. Boom! The crow was the victim of a deadly distraction, that is, the roadkill distracted the crow so much, it led to the crow’s demise. I felt pretty bad seeing this happen, but then realized, it was the very message I had just finished preparing for this week’s presentation, “Deadly Distractions.”
Any distraction can be detrimental to one’s spiritual well-being if consistently repeated. There are some exceptions, like the one’s we discussed in an earlier presentation about “good distractions.” But, for the most part, any distraction that draws you away from a meaningful and consistent relationship with the Lord can be deadly. Certainly, a pure heart - the subject of this series - cannot be attained and maintained if we willfully and deliberately engage in deadly distractions.
One example of a deadly distraction is pornography. I chose to focus on this deadly distraction because it is common knowledge that pornography has a profoundly negative effect on families and on the church. It follows, that engaging in this deadly distraction would affect one’s ability to receive answered prayers. You cannot have a heart engaged in pornography and expect God to hear and answer your prayers. This is only one example of a deadly distraction, but let us not downplay the many other numerous distractions that may be viewed as minor yet are no less deadly. I could give you a laundry list of deadly distractions, but I won’t. You know what, if any, deadly distractions may be influencing you or trying to influence your relationship with Christ. They can be tangible (what you can see or touch) or intangible (your thoughts, feelings, emotions). And there are those secret distractions no one knows about - only you. Be honest with yourself and determine to identify any deadly distractions and deal with them. Read on.
Why do we (Christians) tamper with deadly distractions? Paul answered this question best in Romans 7:15, when he said, “ . . what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” (KJV). Paul may not have been referring specifically to pornography, but he had to be referring to some serious “stuff” to use the word “hate.” And why did the Apostle Paul say he did the thing he “hated” to do? The answer - the flesh and sin: “For I know that in me (that is in my flesh,) dwells no good thing . . . it is no more I that do it [the thing I would not do] but sin that dwelleth in me“ (Romans 7:18, 20, KJV).
So, how do we overcome the deadly distractions or minor distractions that can develop into deadly distractions? Paul answered that question as well. (The Holy Spirit does not expose the problem without providing us an answer.) Very clearly and without question, Paul said, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death (deadly distraction)? . . . ‘JESUS CHRIST, our Lord’” (Romans 7:24, 25, KJV paraphrased). Jesus Christ is the answer!
It would take a book to discuss how to overcome deadly distractions. For now, if you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, but have detoured into deadly distractions or minor distractions that have drawn you away from Him, repent and be renewed. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9, KJV). Seek the Lord for help in assessing your situation and if necessary, find godly, holy, spiritual help for guidance.
If you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, now is a good time to receive Him: “So you will be saved, if you honestly say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death.” (Romans 10:9, CEV). “So turn to God! Give up your sins [repent], and you will be forgiven.” (Acts 3:19, CEV).
God will give you a new heart, a new way of thinking, and a new love. “I will take away your stubborn heart and give you a new heart and a desire to be faithful. You will have only pure thoughts, because I will put my Spirit in you and make you eager to obey my laws and teachings.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27, CEV).
So, don’t be like that crow. Stop feasting on deadly distractions. Don’t you become the devil’s roadkill.
Click here for last week’s lesson “Good Distractions”: Bible Study 10 11 2018
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Stephanie Wright, Dr. jur.
CGM Media Director