3 simple questions to ask yourself when reading a scripture in the Bible
- What is God telling me in this passage?
2. Where is the presence of Jesus in this passage?
3. Now that I have read this what changes or steps/actions will I take?
The devil loves distractions, he loves distracting you, in fact he is so slimy and sneaky, you may not realise it until you actually are distracted.
The distraction does not have to be the size or severity of an atomic bomb but it still has an impact in our lives.
An example for me is social media, Instagram and also YouTube. Today I remembered a Gospel song that I wanted to listen to and went immediately to the YouTube website. Before I could even type Tasha Cobbs’ name in the search bar, I was already distracted by the suggested videos on the YouTube homepage as they have so kindly created an algorithm specifically for videos that I may be ‘interested’ in.
I feel for the algorithmic videos. Before I knew it, I was 3 vlogs deep, with the hot water running as I only planned to play the song whilst having a shower. Then came the light bulb moment💡: I paused the video and said “wait a minute what did I actually come on here to do?”
Why would the devil bother with distracting me with simple YouTube videos?
Well the devil wants to:
- Lead us away from God
- From being edified by God’s Word
- From God’s purposes for our lives including our daily living and anything else related to God.
The devil is obsessed with what is not his, and that is you and I.
Distraction is a device the devil likes to exploit.
“lest satan take advantage of me, for I am not ignorant of his devices”
(I’ve made it more personal to me by changing the scripture to the first person)
Don’t be ignorant but be AWARE so you can –
“Put on all of God’s armour so that I will be able to stand firm against all the strategies of the devil”
By studying in the Word about the devil’s strategies to lead me astray, I am “taking the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God” – Ephesians 6:17.
Even by you reading these scripture you are actively in the process of putting on one of God’s armour to defend yourself.
The devil distracts us with things we need the least
Things that should not be a priority or were not a priority before, before we know it have become a priority.
We find ourselves being attracted to and giving attention to them. The more attention we give, the more they climb in our list of things to focus on.
These are ‘To-Do-List Distractions’ – they seem important to others or us i.e. family disputes but really distract us from what is truly important.
An example of a ‘To-Do-List Distraction’ for me is when I cut the time I would normally spend reading the Word: spending time with God because of plans I have with friends or going out. The time that I do spend with Him, my mind is focusing and worrying about how much time I have left to get ready and be out the door. This worry and new focus ultimately, in my opinion nullifies my sincerity of spending time with Jesus.
Here is a biblical example of the subtracting qualities of allowing distractions to distract you from what is important. It is relevant to today’s world and would actually be seen as a not that big of an issue.
In Luke 10: 38-42, Martha prepares a feast for Jesus after He agrees to visit her and her sister, Mary.
38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
41And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Martha complained that she was doing all the work whilst Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet “listening to what He taught”
The New Living Translation Bible says that Martha was “distracted by the big dinner she was preparing (verse 40)” therefore she was not able to listen to Jesus’ teachings.
Imagine you invited Jesus to your house and He said actually said yes. Then you spend all your time cooking, cleaning and complaining that your siblings are not helping you.
I do not even know if Jesus asked for a big dinner, but of course it is Jesus so you want to show your generosity.
So even in times where we are distracted by good intentions, they are still just that — distractions. No matter how we dress it up, put a bow on in the form of caring and generosity, they still distract us from what is important.
Another example from today…
I was not expecting that simply replying to a message from a friend whilst reading my Bible and writing on distractions, would be a an actual distraction. It was only after sending a ‘quick reply’ that I realised that I had been distracted as one reply turned into two and now it was transforming into an active conversation.
My initial intention was to just quickly respond to a message from a concerned friend.
I had good intentions but yes it turned into a distraction.
In Martha’s situation, she failed to realise that only “one thing was needed” (Luke 10:42) and that was listening to Jesus’ teaching.
I would love to have Jesus, in the flesh, in my living room and teach me things. I would ask Him about my future, am I on the right path? Have the sins that I have committed caused His prophesies for me to fail? (I would really just be seeking validation from Him)
Jesus’ answer to Martha’s distraction –
LUKE 10: 42 “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her”
I asked myself, what “will not be taken away from her”?
A moment to be taught by Jesus but more specifically the content of what He taught Mary was imperishable (unlike Martha’s food), invaluable and that time was irreplaceable.
We will never know Jesus exact words given in the teaching, as it does not say in the Bible, but when has a lesson by Jesus ever been useless?
Mary took the time to listen to His teaching despite her sister’s expectations of how she should conduct herself. Martha’s reaction is similar to how some mothers expect their children to behave when they are entertaining (particularly girls).
Despite Martha’s objections, her susceptibility to distraction was not going to taint Mary’s focus. Mary being at Jesus’ feet instead of in the kitchen ensured an opportunity to receive a relevant teaching by Jesus because why would He choose to teach if it were not relevant to her life and the others in the room.
Distraction could not take away from Mary the enlightenment that she received from a teaching by Jesus. It was the medicine that she needed, we know this because she was transfixed to the point nothing was moving her from His feet.
That enlightenment, medicine….word… once heard can never be taken away from you by satan or anyone else.
Proverbs 4:20 -23
God says, “give attention to my words,
Incline your ear to my sayings,
Do not let them depart from your eyes,
Keep them in the midst of your heart,
For they are life to those who find them and health to all their flesh”
Mary listening to Jesus’ and positioning herself at His feet demonstrates that she was:
- Giving attention to Jesus’ Words which are from God
- She physically positioned herself at Jesus feet to lean into His teaching, to be nearer to Him.
We physically position ourselves to receive God’s Word when we read/mediate alone in our rooms, cars, office rooms. It does not have to be the typical domains but YOU have the power to create an intimate environment that allows you to spend time with God without the distractions of other people, even in your mind
- Mary’s eyes were on Jesus; by eyes I mean her focus and probably her actual eyes. They were definitely not locked onto the chaos of Martha preparing a big feast for her esteemed guest, so much so that Martha felt a need to interrupt Jesus and the positive vibes 💆💆♂️ to publicly ‘chastise’ or maybe even ‘guilt’ her sister into helping her in front of their guest.
“Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
- The word taught was for her heart. Mary’s dedicated attention shows faith because she looked to Jesus and His teaching, and not the demands of the world, the expectations of others or customs that many of us accept as normal and allow them to distract us.
Mary gave herself the best gift to herself – an opportunity for the word of God to enter her heart.
- “The good part” (Luke 10:42) – the good part of anything means it is a cut above the rest. Receiving the good part of anything is always beneficial to the recipient. And it is more beneficial to the recipient that the giver. It is the giver that is giving away said good part: i.e the fat of a pork chop, the crisper more seasoned part of a chicken drumstick, the icing on the cake….(as you can tell I am very hungry)
But the point is that, the good part is a metaphor for Jesus juxtaposed against the world and all its distractions – the lesser, blander, not so good part.
Jesus in giving me His Word (the Bible) He gives me the good part, the good portion. His Word is more beneficial to me compared to me seeking temporary vices – getting drunk, sex, lust, drugs, counsel from bad friends.
Jesus is perfect like God and so all of Him is good for my soul. Rather when I feel like crap and read/mediate on His Word, even if do not immediately feel like I am on cloud 9, it is still better than avoiding the Word.
When I avoid God’s Word, I know that I am only delaying the effects of the struggle that I am battling with that day.
I am only allowing myself to wallow longer in self-pity, sadness, hurt, rebellion, stubbornness etc. It baffles me when I know the answer is to surrender to the good part, Jesus, by seeking His help but my body and mind wants me to remain in turmoil. It sometimes feels like I do not want to get better, because if I did, I would run to Jesus, whom I know has the power to make me better.
By reading and mediating on His Word everyday, I receive the good parts everyday.
What we do with those good parts is another situation. But like Mary I want to desire them, to keep them close to me and in my heart and to enjoy them.
You do not need Jesus to physically knock on your front door and place at His actual feet in front of you in order to respond like Mary. Meet Jesus at His Word, the Bible.
When I read my bible instead of doing something else, I am giving myself the gift of allowing the Word of God to penetrate my heart and spirit. I am inviting Him in by reading what He has to say; His guidance and instructions, and in faith believing His Words is just as relevant and specifically for me today, than they were for the people 2000 years ago.
In the clip below, Pastor Joseph Prince says, “when you read your bible you will meet Jesus”. Let us use Pastor Prince’s words to change our approach to reading the Bible; start believing this and it will be evident.
Jesus said “Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me”
Here is the clip for a little more context: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTA3Kxm3_pY
He also has a longer version of the sermon called “How To Meet Jesus In The Word” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mo14IoIxD3I