Serve Jehovah Without Distraction
1 “Happy is the people whose God is Jehovah!” (Ps. 144:15) Are these words of King David still true, even during these wicked days? (Eph. 5:16) Yes! Christians still find joy in serving Jehovah. Things are not always easy for us. Satan causes us difficulties during these “critical times,” yet we are not downhearted. (2 Tim. 3:1, 2) The worsening conditions are further proof that the time is at hand for God’s Kingdom to sweep away this decaying old world and replace it with a clean new world. (2 Pet. 3:13) The darkness of this world does not dim or extinguish the flame of our happy hope; rather, our Kingdom hope shines ever more brilliantly. Are you not glad to be serving Jehovah as an illuminator in this dark world?—Phil. 2:15.
2 As individuals, we must constantly watch how we are serving Jehovah. Why? Because Satan is a great Distracter. One dictionary defines “distract” as “to turn aside,” “to draw or direct (as one’s attention) to a different object or in different directions at the same time,” and “to stir up or confuse with conflicting emotions or motives.” Since being hurled down to this earth, Satan has succeeded in “misleading” mankind. He uses many devices to turn man’s attention away from the true issues of our day. (Rev. 12:9) Though Jehovah’s Witnesses have exerted themselves in preaching the Kingdom for the past one hundred years, how many people appreciate the all-important issues of the sanctification of God’s name and the vindication of his sovereignty by means of God’s Kingdom? Relatively few. (1 John 5:19) If Satan can distract billions of people on this earth, the ever-present danger is that he can distract us or capture our attention so that we abandon Jehovah’s service. Sadly, some of our brothers have been confused by Satan’s distractions. They have allowed their minds to be drawn in different directions. There are all sorts of distractions today. Consider just a few of them.
3 Economic Problems and Love of Material Things: In most countries of the earth, unemployment and the high cost of living cause anxieties. True, we must provide food, clothing, and shelter for ourselves and our families. But if we allow ourselves to become overly anxious about the necessities of life, these concerns will dominate our thinking. Our physical survival can become the most important thing in life rather than our giving support to the Kingdom issue. The apostle Paul gave counsel in this regard at Hebrews 13:5, 6. Jesus Christ assures us that those who seek first the Kingdom need not be anxious; Jehovah provides what we truly need. (Matt. 6:25-34) Pioneers and other full-time servants throughout the world can confirm that this is true.
4 Satan’s world promotes the love of material things. Acquiring more possessions or safeguarding them is the driving force in the lives of millions. Similar distractions existed in Jesus’ day. A rich young ruler asked Jesus what he needed to do to inherit everlasting life. Jesus answered: “If you want to be perfect [or, complete], go sell your belongings and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven, and come be my follower.” (Matt. 19:16-23) Apparently, his many material possessions distracted this young man from serving God whole-souled. His heart was turned toward his riches. Jesus knew that the young man would be benefited if he unburdened himself of these distractions. They prevented him from being complete in his devotion to God. What about you? Do you find yourself working longer hours secularly just to maintain the life-style to which you have become accustomed? Has this affected your service to Jehovah? Are your material possessions crowding out Kingdom interests? (Matt. 6:24) Can you simplify your life to devote more time to spiritual interests?
5 Ordinary Affairs of Daily Life: If we are not careful, we may become so engrossed in the ordinary affairs of life that we begin to neglect spiritual pursuits. Remember the people of Noah’s day. They were so preoccupied with social affairs, eating and drinking, marrying and getting their children married, that they took no note of Noah’s warning message about the impending Deluge. Before they realized it, the Flood came and swept them all away. Distractions spelled destruction for them. Jesus said: “So the presence of the Son of man will be.” (Matt. 24:37-39) Indeed, most people today are too wrapped up in their own lives to pay attention to the warning message we bring to them. They show an appalling indifference to spiritual things.
6 Is your life becoming so crowded with social activities that spiritual matters are getting less and less attention? On one occasion, Jesus was invited to be a guest in the home of Martha and Mary. Mary was intently listening to what he had to say. On the other hand, Martha “was distracted with attending to many duties.” Martha had undue concern about being a good hostess. She failed to appreciate the need to take time to listen to Jesus. He kindly pointed out to Martha that elaborate provisions were not necessary; more attention should be given to spiritual matters. Do you need to apply that counsel? (Luke 10:38-42) Jesus also warned that we must pay attention to ourselves so that we do not overeat and drink heavily, dulling our senses. At this critical hour of human history, we need to be fully alert.—Luke 21:34-36.
7 Pursuit of Pleasures: One of the greatest distractions the Devil uses to draw attention away from the Kingdom issue is the pursuit of pleasure. Millions in Christendom have put pleasure in the place of God. They prefer being amused by some diversion rather than taking a serious interest in God’s Word. (2 Tim. 3:4) Of course, wholesome entertainment and recreation are not wrong in themselves. But spending excessive time each week on such things as television, movies, videos, sports, secular reading, or hobbies may permit a treacherous heart to develop and pull us away from Jehovah. (Jer. 17:9; Heb. 3:12) How can that happen? During Christian meetings, you may find that your mind wanders; you may even wish the meeting would end so that you can get back to the pursuit of pleasures. Soon, you could find yourself looking for reasons to stay home rather than attend meetings or engage in field service. Now is the time to determine explicitly if these pursuits have become distractions in your life. (Luke 8:14) Could not some of the precious hours consumed by entertainment be better used for spiritual development?
8 Time-Consuming Side Issues: Some have got caught up in efforts to resolve common problems in modern society. Christians need to avoid becoming involved in the world’s endless debates over social issues or its futile struggles to correct injustices. (John 17:16) All of this is part of Satan’s design to divert attention from the Bible’s counsel and the fundamental fact that there is only one long-term solution—the Kingdom of God. If we have suffered a personal injury or injustice, we must guard against becoming vindictive or so emotionally distraught that we forget who we are—Witnesses of Jehovah. Above all, it is Jehovah who has been wronged, and it is his name that we must sanctify.—Isa. 43:10-12; Matt. 6:9.
9 While everyone wants to maintain a measure of good health, paying undue attention to the seemingly endless theories and remedies offered can make one obsessed with health matters. There are ever so many who advocate a wide variety of diets, treatments, and therapies for physical and emotional problems, many of which are in conflict with one another. What a person does in matters of health is a personal decision, as long as there is no conflict with Bible principles. Let us always maintain our complete trust in God’s Kingdom as the true remedy for mankind’s ills.—Isa. 33:24; Rev. 21:3, 4.
10 Become Steadfast, Unmovable: As the end draws near, Satan will increase his efforts to distract you from your service to Jehovah. “Take your stand against him, solid in the faith.” (1 Pet. 5:9) How? You must nourish yourself with God’s thoughts. (Matt. 4:4) Do not let the distractions of the world rob you and your family of the time you need to meditate and to reflect quietly on God’s Word. At family meals, discuss upbuilding experiences and other spiritual matters together. Stick to a consistent schedule of personal study and preparation for the meetings.
11 When anxieties threaten to unsettle your mind, throw your burden on Jehovah in prayer. Be assured that he cares for you. (1 Pet. 5:7) Let the peace of God guard your heart and mental powers. (Phil. 4:6, 7) Do not let distractions blur your spiritual vision. Keep Jehovah before you constantly, as did Jesus. (Acts 2:25) Keep your vision focused straight ahead on your goal, as Proverbs 4:25-27 encourages us: “As for your eyes, straight ahead they should look, yes, your own beaming eyes should gaze straight in front of you. Smooth out the course of your foot, and may all your own ways be firmly established. Do not incline to the right hand or to the left.”
12 Faithfully attend all meetings, and discipline yourself so that you pay attention to instruction from God’s Word. (Heb. 2:1; 10:24, 25) And rather than look for pleasures offered by this decadent world, make it your goal to maintain a productive ministry. This is what brings lasting joy and satisfaction. (1 Thess. 2:19, 20) Finally, do not let anything or anyone distract you from your sacred service. “Become steadfast, unmovable, always having plenty to do in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in connection with the Lord.”—1 Cor. 15:58.