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It was a beautiful clear day, early in the morning with very little traffic. I was behind another car driving down a main thoroughfare at maybe 30-35 miles per hour. With no other cars in sight – at first – the car in front of me began to cross left over the double solid yellow lines. It was then I saw the car coming the other way. But it was too late. In a moment’s time, the car I had been behind struck the car in the oncoming lane head on.
The driver in the car I was behind was unconscious and badly injured. The elderly couple in the car he struck were in very bad shape. The husband died .
And why all this tragedy? Distraction. The driver I was behind, had dropped something on the floor and was trying to recover it, causing him to drift into oncoming traffic and taking the life of another.
Of all the weapons in the arsenal of the Enemy of our souls it is this one which I find most deadly – distraction.
More on that today as we look at Esther 10–Job 2; Luke 11:27–32 and especially 1 Timothy 6:3–21 on Through the Word in 2020. I’m Reid Ferguson.
In this letter to Timothy, Paul had warned his young charge over and over to avoid and disentangle himself from any number of things which would do harm both to his soul, and those he was to minister to.
We can’t go back and list all that Paul warned him about here, but when get down to today’s portion, with its particular emphasis on not getting wrapped up in chasing material prosperity, he summarizes all of the previous issues he’d addressed. And Paul puts it this way: As for you man of God, FLEE these things!
But his exhortation isn’t just “stop doing X”. It is much more powerful than that. For the rest of vs. 11 goes on “PURSUE!” In other words, one can’t just stop being drawn off after the things of the World without a clear alternate direction. We never stop sinning in a vacuum but need to practice the opposite righteousness as the very means to do so.
We could well read it like this: “Flee these things BY pursuing these other things.” It is redirection. Refocus.
The Enemy of our souls as denominated in Eph. 2:2 has an incessant and ever increasing influence over the world in general, to keep all people – but especially those in Christ, diverted from what is essential, eternal and spiritual by a strategy of 24/7 bombardment of distractions. Some legitimate, some not. But all aimed at keeping us from what Paul outlines here.
So, what are we being diverted from? What are we to be giving ourselves to pursue in fleeing from all these distractions? 6 things.
Righteousness. Growing in the character of Christ while looking to the Holy Spirit to bring it to life in us.
Godliness. Devoutness in following Christ. Earnestly seeking out what pleases Him most.
Faith. Intentionally trusting God’s character, promises and Word. Looking to Him increasingly.
Love. Searching out His glories more so that I love Him more – with a love that then overflows to others.
Steadfastness. Patiently enduring stress and distress while trusting His care for us. Not running to other places for the comfort that is found in Him alone.
Gentleness. Refusing to buy into the anger and angst driven atmosphere of the day. Learning to be meek and mild in the face of a raging society.
These, are what Satan wishes to distract us from as our focus. And it is in the pursuit of these, that we end up fleeing materialism, false doctrine and “an unhealthy craving for controversy and quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions and constant friction.”
Sounds like a plan to me.
God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.