Challenge Central: a CBC devotional
by: Pastor Alan Rietberg
Imagine with me for a moment that someone walks up to you and says “I’ve just heard about something called COVID-19. What’s that all about?” What would be your first thoughts? Or “Was there something going on in Ottawa that had to do with trucks?” What was THAT all about? Or “What is happening in Ukraine?”
We would wonder where this person has been because these events have filled the media over the past two-plus years to such a point that you can’t listen to anything on TV or the internet or in conversations with other people that don’t seem to include fact, fiction, opinion, and (sometimes heated) discussion.
What’s going on behind the scenes? Is there something happening of which we aren’t immediately aware? Ephesians 6:10-20 reminds us of the reason behind and how to respond to situations that can distract us from God’s plans and purposes for our lives.
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
We need God’s armour so we can be strengthened by it in order to resist an onslaught. From whence does this attack come? “…the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (v12)
Our main goal in life is to know and enjoy loving God forever by bringing Him glory, which involves making Him known to others so they may know Him too. (1 Corinthians 10:31; Revelation 4:11; Psalm 73:26, 27; Matthew 28:18-20)
This brings me to my main question: what is distracting us from our main goal?
Sadly, the three questions I posed above can potentially create distractions and even disharmony amongst Christians. We can become absorbed in all that’s going on and our main goal begins to fade while earthly/fleshly circumstances become our priority.
First-century (and following) Christians faced these same things that are thrown into world events by the spiritual forces of evil—distractions! When Christians begin splintering over temporal issues, we are being distracted from our main goal in life.
Whether things are going well or going poorly in our world, country, or personal life, let’s recognize and not succumb to the schemes of the devil who wants to distract us from our ‘main goal’ in life.
We need to remind ourselves by asking some questions:
Am I bringing glory to God in my attitude, in my online and verbal opinions, in my finances, in my Bible reading, in my relationships, and in my Christian priority of sharing the gospel with others?
The devil will use any distraction to sway us from our main goal in life because his main goal, as the father of all lies (John 8:44), is to prevent people from ever placing their trust in God as their Saviour and Lord.
Please join me in prayer, that we will not allow circumstances to become the distractions that may dim the main goal of keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and reaching the lost with the gospel.