This morning, as I was trying to shut out the world and have my personal devotions, I found myself frustrated and reflecting on how hard it is for me to truly concentrate on God and His Word, even for a few minutes. My thoughts scatter so easily. Why do I find it so hard to stay focused on eternal things? Why does my mind constantly want to drift from the important to the trivial? Maybe you too have asked these questions.
There are so many things that compete for our attention every moment of every day, but there are three things that plague me the most--clutter, noise, and hurry.
Clutter. I'm talking about the junk that we pack around, that we live with. I'm talking about the material things that we buy, or acquire, or are given that multiply in the night and end up owning us. In Luke 12:15 Jesus told His disciples, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions." That message goes against the "wisdom" of this age. Many people around us apparently think that material possessions are what life is about. For me, they become like lead weights tying my soul to this earth, diverting my eyes off of His Kingdom. Lord, please cut the cords that hold me to my stuff, and help me remember that life is not about possessions.
Noise. We are surrounded by sounds. It is nearly impossible to find a quiet place. We get so used to hearing background noise that if we do happen to find ourselves a quiet spot for a few minutes, the silence becomes deafening. I was reminded the other day that most of the world's classical music was composed in near silence. Many of the great composers lived in an age and in settings where the loudest thing they might hear in the course of a day were the blacksmith's hammer or the sound of a horse's hooves on cobblestones. Yet out of their silence came the world's greatest music. In the KJV translation of Psalm 46:10 the Lord says, "Be still and know that I am God." It is not easy to be still, to be quiet, even for a few minutes. The NASB translates the verse as, "Cease striving and know that I am God." It is not easy to cease striving, to quit squirming, to stop wrestling. Lord, help me to calm down and listen for Your voice, even in the midst of the world's noise.
Hurry. We all have a million things to do today. It seems like I live my life running--probably you do too. At the end of the day I often find myself reflecting on how much was left undone, how many things I didn't get accomplished. But then I think, "This is nuts! What is wrong with me for crying out loud?" That is because I know that this is not how God wants us to live. God is more concerned with our character than He is with our accomplishments. He is all about my being, not my doing. But I keep getting my priorities fouled up, going back to the mistaken idea that busyness is next to godliness. Lord, please help me learn to slow down and step out of the world's crazy fast lane so that I can see You, and hear You, and walk in step with You.