For Salvation and Spiritual Growth for Young Daughter
3 Ways Worldly Distractions Can Hinder Your Spiritual Growth
When it comes time for my ten-month-old grandson to eat, he must be fed where there are as few distractions as possible because, as soon as he hears something, he jerks his head to see what he's missing. As I watch my daughter try to quiet her son so he can be nourished, it strikes me how much him we can be!
We live in a world filled with distractions that can significantly influence our spiritual growth and obedience if we are not careful. Here are three ways that seemingly little distractions can have a great impact:
1. Worldly distractions can keep us from salvation
In the parable of the sower (Matt. 13:1–23), we learn that one of the reasons God's truth does not take root and grow is because the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches (which can seem so harmless!) choke out the Word that's been sown.
There are plenty of things we can worry about or lust after today, aren't there? To fight this battle, I must constantly remind myself that this world is not my home. But I must also be faithful to pray for those who are so distracted by the world that they have missed the only One who will truly satisfy the longings of their hearts.
Lord, thank You for saving me from the power of sin that once rendered me a slave to my flesh and the world. Use my life as a testimony of your great love and faithfulness!
2. Worldly distractions can keep us from growing and living according to the life-giving truths of the gospel
Paul prayed that the young church in Colossae would be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so they could walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. This would require them to say no to whatever distracted them from seeking Christ above all else.
We must do the same, dealing decisively with anything that pulls us away from what's supremely important—knowing Christ.
I find the battle is ongoing as I strive to keep good things in their proper place, such as smart phones, Internet, entertainment, , , exercise, work, children and grandchildren, home repairs, meal preparation, laundry, being occupied with worldly affairs, and so on. Even things that are very good must not keep us from what is best for our souls.
Father, I confess that in my weakness, I can be tempted to fill my time and soul with the things of this world rather than the gospel. Please help me to walk by the Spirit so I will not gratify the desires of the flesh, which keep me from doing the things I truly want to do! (Gal. 5:16–18)
3. Worldly distractions can keep us from enjoying the Lord's presence
One day, Jesus went to visit Mary and Martha who were both delighted to welcome their beloved teacher into their home. The account in Luke 10 invites us to learn an important lesson: “Her sister Mary sat at the Lord's feet and listened to His teaching, but Martha was distracted with much serving.” She was distracted from actually spending time with Jesus.
We can be distracted by things we're sincerely doing to please Jesus. Good things. But Jesus doesn't want us to be doing for Him at the expense of being with Him.
Jesus doesn't want us to be doing for Him at the expense of being with Him.
Our Lord is sympathetic to the demands of life that pull at us. Consider His few years of ministry on earth: Sick people wanted to be healed. Lame people wanted to walk. Blind people wanted to see. The Pharisees and Sadducees wanted to debate Him. His disciples wanted to elevate Him. But how many just simply wanted to be with Him?Jesus frequently went off by Himself to a quiet place to enjoy fellowship with His Father. He beckons us to do the same because there is fullness of joy in His presence and endless pleasures at His right hand (Ps. 16:11).
Finally, God wants to teach us how to be at rest in the midst of the chaos and confusion of this world. That's what God is drilling down more deeply in me these days.
Regardless of what distractions, pressures, trials, or sufferings are coming at me at any given moment, my heart will only be truly at rest when it's fixed on Christ.
The more I put my trust in God's goodness and sovereign control over every circumstance of my life, the less unexpected or hard things can steal the peace or joy I have been given in Christ.
I cherish my times of fellowship with the Lord each morning, but I have learned how easily I can get caught up or discouraged by the circumstances of my day. That wasn't the case with Jesus who lived in perfect communion with His Father from hour to hour. Nothing rattled our Savior. Nothing kept Him from the work He had come to do.
- Always busy, but never in a rush.
- Full of compassion, but never overwhelmed by the vast needs.
- Fully aware that many followed Him just to get something from Him, yet steadfastly committed to showing them their greater need.
- Always moving closer toward the cross where sinful men would crucify Him, yet never wavering from the mission He came to fulfill.
God calls us to a life where distractions fade and His voice becomes the One we listen to first and foremost . . .
- When we are being pushed and pulled from every direction. And when we feel life is calm and peaceful.
- When we feel we can make sense of nothing. And when everything seems to be falling into place.
- When our strength is gone and our faith is weak. And when we're feeling good and our faith is strong.
This is the life God calls us to as He weans us from the world's counterfeits of peace, joy, strength, and security. As we learn to increasingly depend on Christ for our every need and desire, we find that God's peace and joy well up in us a fountain and, even when everything around us is shaken, our confidence and hope in Christ remains.
Are there any worldly distractions you need to repent of and put aside in order to seek the Lord?
Spiritual Growth – What is it? Spiritual growth is detailed in 2 Peter 1:3-8, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, spiritual growth includes: (1) increasing in your knowledge and understanding of God's Word, (2) decreasing in your frequency and severity of sin, (3) increasing in your practice of Christ- qualities, and (4) increasing in your faith and trust in God. Perhaps the best summary of spiritual growth is becoming more Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul says, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of what it truly means to be spiritual.
Spiritual Growth – How is it done? In order for spiritual growth to occur, you first need to make sure you possess a true spiritual life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11-12).
When you believe in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit lives inside of you (John 14:16-17) and you are a new creation in Christ! 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Your old nature, which is dominated by sin, is replaced with a new nature that is under the influence of God's Spirit (Romans 6-7). Spiritual growth can only occur in a person who knows the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her Savior. Learning how to grow spiritually is a life-long journey which occurs as you read and apply God's Word to your life. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 teaches us, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” In order for spiritual growth to occur, we must be taught, rebuked, corrected, and trained by God's Word. Then we will be thoroughly equipped for every good work. This is the essence of spiritual growth. Another key to Christian growth is walking in the Spirit. Galatians 5:16-18, 24-26 explains, “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law…Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
Walking in the Spirit is allowing Him to fill you (Ephesians 5:18), control you, and guide you. This is brought about by consciously choosing by faith to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide you in thought, word, and deed (Romans 6:11-14). Failure to rely on the Holy Spirit's guidance will result in a believer not living up to the calling and standing that salvation provides. Ephesians 4:1 says, “…I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”
Spiritual Growth – What are the results? Spiritual growth is a life-long process of manifesting the acts of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) less and less and producing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) more and more. Notice that it is the Holy Spirit who produces the fruit in us.
Yes, we must submit ourselves to the Spirit's leading, but it is the Spirit who produces the fruit of spiritual growth in our lives.What does spiritual growth look ? Galatians 5:22-23 has the answer, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” If you are becoming more loving, more joyful, more kind, more self-controlled, etc.
, then you can rest assured that spiritual growth is genuinely occurring in your life.
God works in different people in different ways. Some people grow rapidly, while others grow slowly, but steadily. Our focus should not be on comparing ourselves with others, but on comparing ourselves with God's Word.
The Scriptures are the mirror to show us what we are spiritually and to shine light on the areas that need to experience and learn spiritual growth.
James 1:23-25 declares, “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks . But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK? – We have all sinned and deserve God's judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, “Jesus is Lord,” you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.What is your response?
Yes, today I am deciding to follow Jesus
Yes, I am already a follower of Jesus
I still have questions