It’s typical jargon around here when the thermometer rises above the 90-degree mark. Just enough time and I’m certain that’s how “he” got in. The door is never left wide open mind you, it’s just not shut “all the way.” The screen door gaps leave room, just enough room, for him to find a way in.
His mission? To annoy the stew out of the humans that dwell here.
He’s a fly, all two inches of him.
He’s an incessant fly that gravitates to the very fruit I’m washing or the plate I’m preparing. The very fly that finds the rested foot or still arm. My husband is the resident swatter. He goes after that fly as if it were Goliath while I tend to take the opposite approach. I ignore him until one day I find him on the floor dead. Eventually the air inside or lack of sustainable food leads to his eventual demise, but in any event that fly is a distraction to all who live here in the process.
They are all around us, even in the form of flies, but distractions are precisely what the enemy would use to turn our eyes off Jesus. We know it. We’ve heard the sermons, but when was the last time you made a list of the distractions in your life? I was recently challenged to do this and I came to the conclusion that EVERYTHING in my life is in one way or another a distraction that the enemy can use to throw me off course. I said EVERYTHING. Big or small, the list of distractions is long, and even a fly can cause irritation and frustration that turn my eyes off of Jesus. Seriously, the enemy is that good.
When I looked closely at the list of personal distractions, it was composed of good and honorable things. I found it’s often those very things that the enemy uses to distract me from my relationship with Jesus. It’s how we deal with the distractions, that often disguise themselves so brilliantly, that determines just where we are in our Jesus relationship. Let me ask, what distracts you most? Schedules? Thoughts? The kids? Work? Competing alliances? The past? The future? Finances? Unmet expectations? Relationships or lack of? Self image? What voices in your head distract you?
I found that when I made my list of distractions, I confessed it was the thoughts I have that often sabotage my actions and became the very thing that distances me from Jesus. It was one of the most relevant, revealing and convicting spiritual exercises I’ve done in a long time. Coming face to face with the distractions in my life was coming face to face with the subtlety of the enemy that clearly seeks to destroy me.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
John 10:10 (nkjv)
While ignoring my friend the fly usually works, ignoring the distractions and failing to recognize them as such is exactly the trap that’s been set by a very real enemy. If we listen to the subtle voice that lures us to turn our heads ever so slightly we will, without a doubt, find ourselves miles down the road wondering how we got there. On the other hand, becoming obsessed with the distraction, like my husband does with our fly friend, also has its repercussions. Obsessing over a particular distraction is also a subtle attempt by the ever crafty enemy to once again preoccupy us and turn us away from Jesus. Distractions are real and dangerous. The only perfect way to deal with distractions is to recognize them, confess them to Jesus and ask for HIS help. He holds the ultimate fly swatter.
It’s clear that we can’t do it on our own. Left to our own devices, we are tempted to look away (just a glance) and justify our actions or become consumed, ignoring everything else. He’s good, that enemy: he’s been at this game for quite some time now. That very real enemy that seeks to deceive, kill and destroy is an expert at slipping into the “gaps in the screen door.” It’s what he does. He slips in virtually unnoticed only to wreak havoc on our spiritual selves.
He’s subtle, relentless and convincing. We need a fly swatter. A fly swatter the size of Jesus.