2005-05-11 - Attraction or Distraction
Luke 10:40-42, "But Martha was distracted by all her preparations; and she came up to Him, and said, 'Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.' But the Lord answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.'"
Here is my question for you. Is our culture an attraction or a distraction? It is an interesting question for a Christian. We know we are in the world but are not to be of the world. When I first began to think about this question, I immediately knew the answer. Our culture is a distraction. It is the spiritual answer. It is the pious answer. But then I began to think a little more about it, and as an honest Christian, I have to say that our culture is also an attraction. The answer to my original question, I think, really, is both. Our culture is both an attraction and a distraction. It really is both.
It is an attraction largely because of our indwelling sin nature. As Christians, we are bombarded by things that are antithetical to our belief system every day. We can look to the left or to the right, and we almost always can see things that reek of being UN-Christlike. However, we are also sinners, and we would be lying if we could not admit that the things of this world, in our culture, do have some attraction. In Christ, we seek faithfulness and try to resist the things of the world that are against God's Word and dishonor Christ. We are not ungodly in being able to admit this. We are being honest. The thing about sanctification is that, in the Greek, and it is not as obvious always in the English, but in the Greek New Testament, sanctification is put both in the past tense (we are sanctified already), and in a progressive - continuing tense (we are still being sanctified). Again, with sanctification and our growth in the grace of Christ, we are both sanctified and being sanctified.
There are a lot of theological implications to what was just said above, but let's quickly move onto the distraction of the culture. Yes, our world is an attraction, but it really is a distraction, too. The world entices us to deviate from that what we know to be true. It seeks us to go against what we really know is right and true, and in accord with our faith. It is a distraction. I want to be specific here, and what I say will be obvious. I am not saying this is a sin in itself, but I use it as an example, and it tempts us to make the Lord less than He should be in our lives. I think for many, TV is a huge distraction. It may not be for many, but as a Christian I was impressed to learn from someone who is a professing atheist, and really intelligent, that he has no TV, and never has had one. I thought about it and wondered if I would be smarter, or even more Godly in my life, if I dumped my idiot box.
TV is not the only distraction for us. We all know our propensities, and we all know what it is that takes time away from the time we should be setting aside to grow in Christ. That is an individual issue. I am not saying that recreation is a sin. I remember one Christian speaker who made a profound statement, and this was when I was 17 years old - and that was a bit ago. He said, "If you don't come apart, you will come apart." I think he was right, and I have always remembered it. We have to have down time. We all need it. That is not what I am saying. I am saying here that the world is an attraction, but when it becomes a distraction to our spiritual health, then we have a problem. It is always good for us to evaluate how strong or weak our spiritual walk is going. But, lastly, what I wish to do is encourage you a bit.
The great truth is that in Christ we can always turn it around. Not only is there forgiveness in Christ for all who will come to Him in faith and repentance, but also in Christ, there is a chance for those who are already resting in Christ, to turn things around. If you have become distracted by the world, you can change that today. If you are not growing in grace, you can start growing in Christ today. We can turn things around in a heartbeat, and make a resolve to read Scripture more, or again, to pray more, or again, to simply seek how we can best being growing in the grace of Christ. It doesn't matter what your age is, or your background. We can all seek to be less distracted, and more attracted to Christ, at any time.