Pastor Ricky Page filled in for Miles today and gave an inspiring sermon on an important subject that is often overlooked: distractions.
Pastor Ricky pointed out that Satan attacks all of us, whether saved or not, in three ways: he kills, steals and destroys. Unlike people in other parts of the world, we Americans are very fortunate because the first two don't affect us very often, if at all.
However, Satan destroys us by using the powerful weapon of distraction. We should be focused on God and what He wants us to do, but when we get preoccupied with things, we often forget what we are supposed to be doing.
Don't Be Distracted By Others' Opinions
Pastor Ricky illustrated this point starting with Mathew 16:13 where we find Jesus and his disciples arriving in Caesarea Philippi. Now in this book, we are nearing the end of Jesus's ministry as His crucifixion is coming soon. Jesus is spreading his word in this region that is known still to this day for its idol worship.
In Matthew 16:13, Jesus asks his disciples what others say about who He is. After various responses, Jesus asks them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon replies that He is the Christ, Son of the living God. Jesus then gives Simon His blessings.
Jesus asked the twelve disciples what others thought about Him, but the opinions of others were not His main concern. He was concerned with what His own followers believed. This should remind us that just because people around us don't believe in Christ, that shouldn't distract us in the slightest. We know who Christ is and we will be blessed for it. When you know the truth, other people's opinions are only distractions.
Don't Be Distracted By the Enemy
Now Pastor Ricky talked about a story in the Old Testament from 2 Kings 6. We find the king of Syria making war with Israel. This king wanted to stop Elisha, the prophet for Israel, and sent a great army to seize Elisha and his servant. In Matthew 16:14-15, Elisha's servant awakes in the morning to find the city surrounded by the king's army. He is frightened and says, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?"
In this moment, Elisha's servant has overlooked God's power; he only sees the army coming to capture them and is distracted by this show of force. Elisha tells him, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." Matthew 16:16
Then Elisha prays for God to open the eyes of the servant. God opens the young man's eyes, and he looks up to see the hills filled with God's army sent to protect Elisha.
We have to remember that God is here for us. We can't be distracted by the enemy's show of force; it is nothing compared to God's. Elisha went on to win a battle for Israel, thanks to God's protection.
It is human for us to be distracted and forget God's power. Remember, the Jews did it before crossing the Red Sea and Jesus' disciples did it when he was crucified. We will inevitably face distractions, challenges and obstacles in life, but with God's power and grace we can overcome anything.