By Francis Frangipane
The glory of God is coming but we must live in His presence now if we expect to walk in His glory later. And it is this very thing -- this entering God's presence now -- that Satan fights the most.
Yet the nature of our battle is not easily discerned. The enemy does not typically appear with fierce countenance, threatening us with retaliation if we begin to seek God. No, Satan's attack is more subtle. He whispers his crafty manipulations, stealing our time and draining us of spiritual passions. He even manipulates the good things of God's blessings to keep us from the best gift of all: God's presence.
The devil has a willing accomplice in our fleshly nature. Recall Solomon's astute observation: "Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices" (Eccl. 7:29). Our "many devices," gadgets, and technologies, for all the convenience they supposedly provide, are not much more than "mind candy." They fritter away our time and energy.
As our world experiences increased trauma and shaking, it will be evident: there is no substitute for the presence of God. Yet instead of having hearts full of God, or at least hearts that are seeking God, our hearts are weighed down, bloated with worldliness and addicted to pleasure. We are saddened if we have nothing to entertain us.
God is judging this excessive focus on materialism. When God is done, we will be much leaner, spiritually speaking. We will be ready for the days ahead.
The Unappreciated Gift
"Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth" (Luke 21:34-35).
What is the most valuable yet most unappreciated gift men receive from God? It is not money. It is not even food and housing. The gift we most fail to appreciate is time. Beloved, it is wisdom to number our days (Ps. 90), for we only have a certain allotment of time to fulfill our calling. Yet too many of us are squandering our days with meaningless distractions. Yes, all things are lawful, but not all things are profitable (1 Cor. 6:12).
Let me assure you, most of the things of our world are not evil in themselves, especially when dedicated to God and used in moderation. We need points of relief and times of recreation. My concern is that we not become out of balance. For what we call moderation, to the rest of the world is excess. My concern is that the things of this age not crowd out our time with God.
A Land of Idols
The issue for us is not about things, but discerning those things that keep us from God. The pleasures of this world can become intoxicating, numbing our discernment and our capacity to see clearly. Yet if we are truly seeking the Lord, setting apart time each day for Him, then our hold on life will be clear-minded.
Let us beware. Like the ancient Babylonians, ours is a "land of images, and [we] are mad over idols" (Jer. 50:38 Amplified). We worry about weapons of mass destruction in our world, but Satan also has weapons of mass distraction. Idolatry is so familiar to us, we think it not strange that our sports, music and movie stars are called "idols."
In the midst of a world of distractions, the Lord wants us to walk with a single mind toward His glory. Can we do it? Yes, but we may need to rid ourselves of the control our modern media and devices have over our will. Let us fast from entertainment for a month and use that time to seek God. If that is too long, deny it entrance to your mind for a week. The degree of difficulty in turning them off is the measure of our bondage to them. If we cannot let them go, it because such things hold us captive.
Let us make our portion in life the presence of God. Let us not be mastered by the issues, fears or distractions of our times. Rather, let us break the power of Satan's weapons of mass distraction. Let us return full-hearted to God
Adapted from Francis Frangipane's In Christ's Image Training, available at www.icitc.org.