#344 – Death By Distraction : Day 1 of 5

Day 1 of 5 – Distraction by Lance Lang on YouVersion

Don’t question your calling.

Recently, I struggled with something for about a year and a half, something I wasn’t able to put my finger on. I couldn’t quite name it or figure it out; I just knew something wasn’t right because I didn’t feel like myself.

Anger had often become my knee-jerk emotion.

My thoughts seemed to constantly float towards negativity.

I had periods of depression.

I even questioned my calling.

I’ve worked alongside people struggling with addiction and other painful life choices for over 10 years now, and one thing I’ve learned in that time is this simple truth: people don’t change until they are desperate enough to do so.

Thankfully, finally, I got desperate. Desperate for something new. Desperate for the freedom I once lived in.

Desperate to release resentment and start living in HOPE again.

One night I went on a long run around my neighborhood. Running has become a new hobby that really helps me clear my mind and challenges me to persevere through pain. On this particular run, I listened to a podcast called “The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill,” which details what happens when the Pastor or even a group of Pastors gets off track with their focus and how that can bring down what was once a mighty and super-impactful church.

As I ran and listened, God spoke: “Distraction leads to death.”

Boom. This hit me so hard, I stopped running mid-stride.

Distraction leads to death.

WOW.

In my head, I began to ask God, Really? Death?!

As I started jogging again, I began to sense God responding… Not a literal death, but something worse: the death of your calling.

Distraction leads to death.

Oftentimes the first step towards freedom from anything debilitating is to name it.

Are you being distracted today? Is your calling at risk?

What are you being distracted from? How are you being distracted? Who is distracting you?

How do these distractions affect your calling?

And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years

There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children. And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” Then the woman came and told her husband, “A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name, but he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’”

Then Manoah prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.” And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field. But Manoah her husband was not with her. So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, “Behold, the man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.” And Manoah arose and went after his wife and came to the man and said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to this woman?” And he said, “I am.” And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true, what is to be the child’s manner of life, and what is his mission?” And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her let her observe.”

Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “Please let us detain you and prepare a young goat for you.” And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “If you detain me, I will not eat of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the Lord.” (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord.) And Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that, when your words come true, we may honor you?” And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the Lord, to the one who works wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching. And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the Lord went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground.

The angel of the Lord appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord. And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.” But his wife said to him, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these.” And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the Lord blessed him. And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Judges 13:1-25

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,

nor be weary when reproved by him.

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,

and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.

Hebrews 12:1-13

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