Because our minds are naturally poised toward earth-bound objects and passions, an effective strategy employed by spiritual wickedness is to constantly provide diversions and distractions to keep the follower of Christ from heavenly pursuits. The world in which we live is replete with such a myriad of alluring vanities, of fruitless enticements and empty attractions as to make each inch of our sojourning here a potential bog to gratify our insatiable intellect and tantalize the flesh. To effectively circumnavigate these bogs, a certain measure of determination and diligence is required on behalf of the Christian: we must have the discipline to pray for the grace to withstand these potential pitfalls and to maintain an unmolested mind on our stalwart path to heaven.
These distractions present themselves at first in small increments. Initially they are but the polyps that warn of a future cancer if not excised upon detection. Though they at first appear benign -- that is, as some harmless flirtation off the beaten path of holiness or an aroused interest of some innocuous albeit carnal sort -- they are, in fact, strategically-designed to infiltrate our minds and set down destructive roots. When these roots gain a deep enough foothold, they may blossom into invisible fortresses which seek to strangle the purity of ones inner devotion to God.
As with physical agents upon earth, these distractions can manifest themselves in both large and small proportions. They may run the gamut, spiritually-speaking, from the microscopic to the leviathan. Generally, the more mature one is in God, the smaller the package is presented which houses the fatality. A massive distraction in the form of financial trouble, for example, can be easily dismissed by a mature saint who has since learnt to trust in God for all his provision. An immature saint in the same predicament would succumb at once and fall to the wayside. A self-sufficient adult might worry if he could not pay his mortgage; a trusting child, however, looks to another for his clothing, food and shelter. The same distraction that terrifies the adult leaves the babe non-phased.
What threatens the child is not the big distractions, but, in fact, the small. Let this same child acquire a microscopic virus in his weak frame and he may well succumb to the disease before the viral-resistant adult even realizes his immunity has been compromised. There is an object lesson here to be learnt: a tiny distraction can infiltrate the child of God, and proliferate within his mind, whereas the more proud, and hence, immature believer is more apt to be defeated by the massive distractions by the gargantuan enticements of sex, money and the pride of life.
The mature child of God tempered by years of spiritual warfare has been conditioned by the Holy Spirit to beware of the giant distractions. He hears them coming while they are yet off in the distance. He prepares himself for the fight. He immediately humbles himself, prays for grace and God grants him the victory. The powers of darkness have since acquainted themselves with his on-going victory, and have thus changed battle tactics. They now seek to infect him in small, poisonous portions, inch by inch. The attacking ogres of money and sex are better used against the proud religionists, the legalists, the strong and sure.
Dear saint, if you have been serving Jesus Christ as a poor and helpless child, I have a word for you: beware of the little distractions. It is the design of darkness to spoil your mind and heart by way of the little foxes. Keep your mind daily girded against spiritual evil masquerading as benign growths. You can know the distraction by its fruit, by the purpose of its importuning. Use godly wisdom to decipher the distraction's destination, and then apply the grace of the Holy Spirit in removing it from your inner man.
Scripture Meditations: Song of Solomon 2:15; Matthew 6:24-34; 13:19; Luke 18:15-17; I Corinthians 7:35; Philippians 4:8; I Peter 1:13
Paul Frederick West