Bible Verse: “Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:7-8
I must admit that I’m a bit of a Luddite. Not in the sense that I don’t like new technologies, just that I’m a bit slow on the uptake. When I finally got a Face Book account you could almost hear Zuckerberg exclaim “Yes!” as he rubbed his hands together in glee. I rarely post anything because I can’t imagine that anybody really cares what colour napkin I used when I ate lunch today, and I yet somehow, I’ve managed to follow people I don’t know and get messages in languages I can’t translate. I did a little research on this technological explosion, and I discovered that the average person is exposed to thousands of messages every single day on social media, radio, and television. Billboards (talk about old school), road signs, menus, bulletins, and so on and so on and so on. Yes, thousands. It’s difficult for us to filter out all that noise on top of our everyday responsibilities to family, work, friends and more. As great as technology is, our lives are filled with more distractions today than at any other time in history.
So, what are you focusing on? What is consuming your time, your thoughts, and your attention? What are you pressing into – work, social media, hobbies, sports, Netflix? There’s a saying that “you are what you eat”, and we are heavily influenced by what listen to. If we live on a steady diet of junk food and don’t eat anything healthy, eventually it will have a serious effect on our health. Likewise, if we’re constantly focusing on the negativity in the world, we’ll become negative people; we’ll speak and think negatively, and we won’t be much fun to be around. It’s hard to have a positive impact on others if we’re constantly negative, and our bodies are so unhealthy, we can’t properly function – or worse.
If we want to live a life of purpose and have a Godly impact on those around us, we must press into God and put him first in every area of our lives. We have to set aside the distractions that beset us daily, and spend quality time with our heavenly Father, just as Jesus did. Joshua 1:8 tells us to meditate on the word of God “day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” The interpretation here of prosperous and successful is to become more like Jesus, to have a Godly impact on my family and those around me, and to live out Matthew 6:33 to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” We’re called to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only.” James 1:22
If you’re struggling to press into God because other distractions are pulling you in a dozen different ways, I encourage you to put aside the technology, find a quiet place away from the noise of the world, and pray this bold prayer and ask God to help you lay aside the distractions and seek first his kingdom:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Praise be to our great God!
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.