In our day and age, all we have to do to find something to distract us is shift our eyes from one direction to another. There are tons of things that stand ready to take our time and energy away from what truly matters. If I asked you to make a quick list of distractors in your life, you would most likely rattle off things like any number of apps on your phone (Facebook, Twitter, Words with Friends, etc.), television shows, your different media gadgets (ipad, Kindle Fire, etc.), maybe novels, talk radio, the news, sports, shopping, or idle chit-chat. But something we need to consider is that we often make distractors out of admirable things.
Distractors don’t have to be those things we do that end in very little productivity; they just have to distract us from the things that are more important. It may be that while your wife is at her small group you put the kids down for bed and spend two hours cleaning the house. She gets home and is delighted as she sees the floors are clean enough to eat off of, and you feel good because you accomplished something valuable so that your wife doesn’t have to spend the next morning laboring over a mess. After sacrificing like this, who can say anything negative about you? I mean most husbands would have nestled themselves down in front of the tv until their wives got home, right? No one can bring a charge against how you used your evening, but in your heart you know there was something else you should have been attending to that is more important than cleaning. It may be something like the checkbook you haven’t balanced in weeks or, perhaps, it’s that you have not sat down to read your Bible and meet with God in days.
Cleaning so your wife can rest is admirable, but we frequently use even better things to distract us from what we don’t really want to do. Sometimes we even use family or the church in this way. What person can be incriminated for spending time playing with the kids or engaging in deep spiritual conversation with another brother or sister in Christ? The fact is, because our hearts are deceitfully wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), we choose to distract ourselves with things that are good so that we can mount up a defense against the accusations that are thrown at us… whether they be from others, our own consciences, or even God’s Word.
Church, we must ask God to reveal the schemes of our hearts to us and help us honestly prioritize how we use our time and energy so that we do the most good for his glory and our joy.