3 Ways to Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
In his book Christianity for Modern Pagans philosopher Peter Kreeft offers some great insights on why we create diversions in our lives, which might explain why porn is the “diversion” of choice for so many. Here’s a quote from his book:
“Diversions greatest danger is that it acts like a sedative; it keeps us just content enough so that we don’t make waves and seek a real cure. It deadens our spiritual nerves, it muffles our alarm system. A little respectable religion acts in the same way: as a mild dose of the infection, which builds up antibodies in us to shield us against the real thing. The devil loves a little religion. He doesn’t want us to be too bored and too miserable-yet.”
I’ve always said that the enemy doesn’t have to get us involved in gross sin he just has to get us distracted enough that we don’t even realize how far off track we’ve gone. Porn is just one distraction (there are many!), it is an illicit diversion that seduces us into taking our eyes off the prize. Paul’s encouragement in I Corinthians 9:24 reminds us to RUN and not get distracted by even the most alluring diversions, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” It’s that last part that hints at our vulnerability to diversions. In other words don’t run as if to say, “well if I get there I get there, but I may as well have some fun along the way!” Paul is saying, run with a single-minded devotion to obtaining the prize.
That isn’t to say that all diversions are bad. The reality is that in the busy, often chaotic world of ministry we need some “holy” diversions in order to remain healthy and effective. But often I’ve found myself seeking diversions that are more about indulgence than re-creation, more about idolatry than restoration.
Here are 3 ways we keep our Eyes on the Prize:
#1 – Understand your PURPOSE: The simple way to put it, is that you and I are here for a reason! God has set us on this planet with a plan in mind and we should spend our time RUNNING in that direction. Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us of that. Our purpose isn’t meant to be squandered on reckless, illicit diversions. Part of that divine purpose is to know God. Not just on the surface, but to live a life of deep, abiding, devotion to God alone. This means God has our fullest attention, our best resources, and our most sincere worship!
#2 – PREPARE to fulfill your PURPOSE: As a runner I know that unless I prepare the night before for my early morning run it won’t get done. I’ll easily get distracted with checking email, or Facebook status updates, or I’ll just sleep. Silly! But when I put out my running clothes, with my shoes, reflective vest, and LED light along with setting the alarm for 4:45 am then a decision has been made to run! Preparation is critical. Preparation comes through daily interaction with God. It may mean getting up a bit earlier than what is normal. But God will prepare your heart for the day and what He has in mind to do in and through you. Prepare.
#3 – Enlist PEOPLE for support: So much more is accomplished when we have people in our corner! It is easy to go it alone but it isn’t the best way to do life. There’s a greater chance that I’ll get distracted by something unless I enlist the support and prayers of friends and family. So join a small group, have a couple of good friends keep you accountable, or just plan to invite people over on a regular basis for a great meal. The book of Ecclesiastes says:
“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Purpose, Preparation, People! Keep your eyes on the prize!