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March 20, 2013

Distractions, Obsessions, and Kingdom Work

In this three-minute video, I answer the question “How can we guard against a hobby becoming an obsession or something that distracts us from pursuing kingdom work?”

I think what we’ve got to do is look at everything in our lives and ask, “Is this under the lordship of Christ?” Christ is to be Lord of my whole life—including my house, car, hobbies, television-watching, and whatever role sports may have in my life.

In 1 Corinthians 10:31 we’re told, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” So with anything in my life, I have to say, “Can I do this to God’s glory?” and also “Am I actually doing this to God’s glory?”

DistractionsWhether it’s fantasy football or quilting, whether it’s Facebooking or email or movie-watching—whatever it is—is this thing an instrument or a tool of God in my life that’s bringing about some good things like rest, recreation, and intellectual stimulation? Or is this thing a bad thing that is distracting me from kingdom priorities? Instead of doing this, could I be developing a relationship with my neighbor, helping someone who’s in need, spending time in God’s Word, reading a great book, or talking with my children?

So it’s not about legalism or a hard and fast rule that says, “You must do this or you must do that.” But it is about weighing and evaluating and finding a balance in our lives. We should recognize that all things (or nearly all things) can be used to the glory of God, but we must be willing to ask ourselves, “Is this thing in sufficient balance with everything else that I could and should be doing? Or has it gotten out of balance and become an idol—something that’s consuming my attention in ways that it shouldn’t?”

I think one of the ways to test this is by asking ourselves, “Does my mind go there all the time when it’s free to go where it wants to?” So, for example, if it’s your fantasy football team you’re thinking about all the time and not Jesus, it’s probably a good indication that fantasy football has too much of a role in your life. If fantasy football is in balance in the larger scheme of things, and is not interfering with the lordship of Christ, then by all means it could be something that God is honored and glorified in.

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