The Danger of Distraction

Distractions are all around us every day. Sometimes they can be fun or interesting. Often times they can be somewhat annoying, but we generally don't think of them much more negatively than that.

Yet distractions can also be dangerous. A momentary distraction on the road can lead to a serious accident. Being distracted in class can lead to disastrous exams. Distractions can be serious.

And nowhere is this more true than in the Christian life. Distraction can be disastrous for the Christian. Yet all too often we let ourselves be distracted.

Not just distraction in general of course, but distraction from what is most important. And no, I don't mean distraction from responsibilities, ministry or service. The distraction I have in mind is far more fundamental: distraction from the Gospel itself!

The big problem is our temptation to think of the Gospel as something for the beginning of the Christian life. So often we associate the Gospel with evangelism; we think of it as something for non-Christians, while we get on with the business of the Christian life. The problem though, is that if we think like that, then 'getting on with the business of the Christian life' may be a dangerous distraction.

We cannot let what we do, even if it is 'for the Lord', distract us from what Christ has done for us. Our service or ministry should never distract us from the Cross. Even such good issues as Eschatology or Creation can become distractions when we are more concerned with them than with the Cross. Almost anything can become a distraction if we let it. And that is the problem; it is usually when things that are good in themselves become distractions that we least realize it. It is perhaps 'Christian' distractions that we suffer from the most.

Nothing can take the place of Christ's death for our sins. Nothing can replace the Gospel as the foundation of all Christian life. Yet so often we let ourselves become distracted. It's subtle but it works. It works because we don't notice it.

So how can we prevent distraction. Well, God Himself has provided the antidote. He has given us the means of grace which bring us back continually to the Cross and confront us again and again with the Gospel of His grace in Christ Jesus. He has given us His Word, His has instituted it's preaching, and He has left us the sacraments which (together with the Word) proclaim each week the wonders of His saving love at Calvary. We're good at getting distracted; but God is good at reminding us of what's really important. As we listen, watch and taste He draws us back to the Cross.

Don't give in to distraction. Listen to His Word of the Gospel anew. Let His Table be a constant reminder of what Christ has done. The Gospel itself is the only remedy to our distraction from the Gospel.