From Distraction to Affliction

A follower of Christ is centered on him. He is “in Christ.” Satan’s game is to distract us from Christ. It doesn’t take much. While swimming last Friday I hit one of my hands on the rope that separates the swimming lanes. I apparently lodged a tiny piece of the rope in the area near my  nail. It’s been very painful and even got infected. It’s certainly not a horrible injury to look at but it has been completely distracting for a week.

It doesn’t take much for Satan to distract us: a minor injury, an unexpected expense, a disagreement at home, a tragedy in the news. It doesn’t even have to be something negative: sports, hobbies, friends. Any moment the enemy can get our eyes of Jesus is a moment when we are not growing more like him, not advancing the kingdom, not being truly blessed or a blessing.

We are all sometimes distracted. It’s a loud and busy world out there. Our task is to keep distractions to  a minimum and to keep them from becoming afflictions. An affliction is a state of pain, distress, or grief; misery. Put another way, an affliction is an obsession with a distraction. A distraction can become so intense that it begins to take all our time and attention. It becomes an obsession. 

These self-created afflictions are not to be confused with the tests and circumstances which may come from or be allowed by God. Those have a purpose: to strength us or our faith. Our self or Satan created afflictions only distract and misguide.

Before your dismiss the idea that you might have an affliction, ask yourself things like this: How many times a day do I check Facebook? How much time do I spend doing games? How much energy do I devote to watching, waiting to watch and talking about my favorite television programs or sport teams? How much do I worry about my health, my future, my stuff?

Maybe it’s easier to flip things around. How much time am I spending with Christ? When distractions become afflictions, it’s time to refocus on the only thing that matters eternally: Jesus.

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