One Trick of the Enemy That Is Trapping Too Many Christians

woman looking bored or thinking deeply on couch, bad habits distancing you from God

One Trick of the Enemy That Is Trapping Too Many Christians

Most people who are believers are fully aware that we are immersed in a spiritual battle with the enemy we know as Satan. You are probably very familiar with Ephesians 6:12.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Somehow amid this struggle it seems like many Christians are becoming victims of one of the schemes of Satan. It feels like this one trick of the enemy is trapping more Christians than ever before. That trick is distraction.

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All Things Work Together for Good, Romans 8:28

A Little Honesty

It is safe to say that many of us are distracted, even if you are not trying to be, it is so easy these days to become distracted. Do you have children? They can distract you. Are you married? Do you have a job and are you working from home? Do you have a cellphone or cable TV or even the internet? I think you get the point; many of us are distracted and many don’t recognize this as a trick of the enemy.

Where Should Our Focus Be?

Before Jesus left, there were two things he said that should always remain at the center of our focus.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).

“On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 1:4-5).

To keep this as simple as possible, Jesus said go make disciples and wait for the power of the Holy Spirit so he can help you go and make disciples. If I were to give it a mantra here it is.

Pray. Preach. Teach. Repeat.

I know that is overly simplistic, but when you are centering in on a vision or mission, it is usually very focused. Jesus was clear and direct with where he wanted the attention of the disciples to be. 

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3 Areas of Distraction

While there can be many different areas and types of distraction, I just want to highlight three.

1. Prophetic Distraction

Notice what Jesus told the disciples in Acts right after he told them to go to Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit.

“Then they gathered around him and asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority’” (Acts 1:6-7).

After receiving the instruction to go and wait for the Holy Spirit, their minds went to the question - when is the kingdom of Israel going to be restored? Immediately Jesus had to refocus their attention on the mission.

There are so many Christians who are consumed with studying every possible sign of the return of Christ. They are trying to figure out who is the antichrist or what is the mark of the beast and how will this be implemented. When will the rapture happen? Is it before, during, or after the tribulation? They are looking at all of the signs, and while there is nothing wrong with that, guess what they are not doing? Preaching the gospel and making disciples. Or as I said earlier: Pray. Preach. Teach. Repeat.

While the imminent return of Christ should impassion us to proclaim the gospel more, it seems to have sparked more debate about whose view of the end times events is the right one. Instead of creating in us a compassionate heart that sees a desperate world that needs to hear the gospel, it has caused in many a sense of entitlement. We have the truth and you don’t and it doesn’t matter what happens because we are going to be out of here soon anyway. All of this is a distraction. 

In Matthew Jesus asked this question:

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns” (Matthew 24:45-46).

This is the posture we need to take. We should be looking for and expecting his return, but we should also be working until he comes back. Let the return of Christ and the fact that it draws nearer everyday be a source of motivation, and not a reason for distraction.

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A man on a phone

2. Social Issues Distraction

There are so many causes that we are confronted with on a regular basis. They are too numerous to mention in this article. However sometimes the emphasis on the social cause distracts from the goal of the spiritual cause.

One major reason we engage with our communities is not just to change earthly conditions, but to change eternal ones as well. One of the purposes of social engagement is to bring a Biblical position and solution into the community to address the need of that community. When we do this, we position ourselves to be the light in that community.

However the distraction comes because, for many, we focus only on the earthly and forget the eternal. Let it be that we champion causes with the perspective of meeting the needs of the people, while at the same time bringing them the hope of the gospel.

3. Media Distraction

We all are prone to get distracted by media. In this regard I am referring to all forms of media, including social media, which is fast becoming the sole choice of many for how they gather and acquire information. While the access to information is great, it can be both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that it helps us obtain more knowledge. The curse is that same knowledge can become a distraction.

All media is designed to do one thing: to keep you watching and consuming it. That’s why social media, for example, allows you to scroll, because studies have shown if you keep scrolling you will stay on the screen longer. That’s why television media give you headlines and teasers because they are trying to keep you watching. If you are not careful you can become consumed with this stuff and it can easily pull you away from the mission. I always find it interesting how people will proclaim that Satan has so influenced the media, then these same people will spend so much time consuming it.

Is there any wonder people are distracted and not focused? We have to make conscious efforts to separate ourselves from the distraction of media, so that we can be shaped by the word of God and by prayer. Often when you spend so much time consuming media, remarkably those two things seem to disappear from your life.

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A Solution for the Distraction

Now that you are aware of one of the tricks of the devil, what is a solution to this problem? The solution is both simple and difficult.

The simple part is you must make a choice to not be distracted, but that is only the beginning. Once you have made that choice you must then be diligent in maintaining your focus. This is where the difficulty comes in. You need to identify the things that are moving you away from God’s mission and separate yourself from those things. This requires prayer and complete honesty. Anything less and this will not work, and you will find yourself still distracted.

You must ask yourself the tough questions, including are you fulfilling the mission and purpose God has called you to? The answer will not be based on what people around you say, but by what God has said in his word. As you do this work, you may not be happy with the real answers as to where you are, but those answers will make you more aware of the things that are distracting you in your life. When you do this, you will position yourself to not only be more focused but also more effective in doing what Jesus would desire you to do until he comes again.

I will sum it up for you one final time. Pray. Preach. Teach. Repeat.

More from this author
What Is the Cry of Our Father’s Heart?
Why Do So Many Christians Seem So Angry?
What Is the Point of Worship?

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Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club.  He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.