This series is dedicated to a Man of God who is after God’s own heart. My Pastor, Elder William Eakins, II wrote a book titled Conversations with the Devil and in this book, he goes into great detail about the different strategies and tactics that the devil uses to wreak havoc in our lives. The Bible tells us in John 10:10 that the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy. That is his job, but Pastor Eakins exposes how the devil plans to do that in his book. Being a student of the Word under the guidance of this Man of God, I am blessed to learn how to navigate this world and maintain my righteous walk with the Lord.
This is part 4 of an 8-part series about the different conversations we have with the devil on a regular basis. Part 4 is based on the scripture Matthew 16:13-23, and it deals with distraction. It took me some time to do this one because I was too distracted! I wish I was kidding! I am sure everyone here knows what it means to be distracted. However, in case I am wrong about that, I will give you the definition that Pastor Eakins gives in his book. He basically says that when you are distracted, your attention is “diverted,” or shifted away from what you need to focus on. We have heard a lot in the news about distracted drivers. Cell phones are distracting drivers from focusing on their driving.
The devil likes to use distraction to divert your attention from God and the things of God. It is his way to attack your “purpose.” Each of us has a purpose, an assignment, a job to do. If you have realized your purpose in the Kingdom of God, and God has given you an assignment to fulfill that purpose, the devil is going to do whatever he can to distract you from completing your assignment. You are probably thinking right now, “I am focused and there is nothing the devil can do to make me lose my focus.” While I commend you for your confidence, I caution you to be careful because I previously mentioned the subtilty of the devil. He is not going to distract you with something big that is obvious to you. He can use a simple glance, something that catches your eye, something that you hear that piques your interest. He has been studying you and he knows he cannot come at you head on. He has to come at you sideways, so you never see it coming.
Let me give you an example of something that happened to me recently, and quite often, I might add… After a long weekend, I had a plan of what my Monday would entail, but before I could get it started, I checked my email because I like to keep it free from clutter and I knew there would be some new messages to clean up. Of course, there were the typical promotional emails that I could just delete, but there were also some unexpected emails that I just had to read, and then I just had to act on them, and then my mind started thinking of other things that I should do. Before I knew it, I had used half the morning going down this unexpected path and still had not done what I had planned for the day. I got distracted.
In his book, Pastor Eakins mentions “two tools” that we have to “fight back” when the devil tries to use distraction. “The first one is discernment,” or “common sense awareness that comes from experience.” Some people call that mindfulness. Pay attention to the conversation the devil is having with you. Is it something you have heard before? Is it something that “contradicts” or does not align with what the Word of God says? Stop the devil in his tracks by recognizing the signs of distraction.
The second tool that Pastor Eakins mentions in his book is “focus.” Where is your focus? There are so many things in the world that we can focus on, but I like to shift my focus to the things of God. My favorite scripture in the bible is Philippians 4:8 because it helps me keep my focus on the things of God, like those things that are true and honest, just (or fair) and pure, lovely and of a good report, things that bring virtue and integrity, things that bring praise to God. The bible tells us to “think on these things” or focus on them. You can tell what people focus on by what they talk about. The more they talk about a particular subject, the more they are focused on it. The question you have to ask is whether that thing falls into the categories I just mentioned from my favorite verse. If not, it is probably a distraction.
Don’t let your feelings become a distraction. Have you ever had a disagreement with someone that turned into an argument, and later realized how silly it all was? That kind of distraction can cause you to waste precious time that could have been used for something productive. Time is not a commodity that you can get back or replenish once it is gone.
Remember that the devil has come to steal, kill, and destroy. If he cannot destroy or kill you, he will do his best to distract you from fulfilling your purpose, essentially stealing you away from God and His plan for your life. When you pay attention to the signs and recognize the tricks of the devil, you can stop him in his tracks, call him out, and “refuse to become distracted.”