It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these, and to tell you the truth– the reason why it’s been so long is because I’ve failed to do what I’m about to share with you in this post. We live in a world of distractions with people to see, things to do, and technology everywhere. We define productivity by how many tasks we can complete in a given time period– but have we become too distracted? Suppose productivity was only defined by whether or not you met with God.
As a product of this generation, it’s easy to quickly answer “No” and move on with our day, but before doing that I want you to reflect on a few questions: What does your prayer life look like? Have you ever struggled to make time with God in your day? Have you ever found yourself struggling to focus solely on God while you pray? Are you desperate to talk with our Creator?
It’s my greatest fear that our generation will lose sight of the awe, wonder, and importance in having genuine encounters with God. I’m not talking about going to a church service to “feel the Spirit” as the band plays or pastor preaches. I’m also not talking about attending more Christian/Church events. What I am talking about is a distraction-free time with just you and Jesus, in your own tent of meeting (more on that later).
We’ve become distracted… and I admit I have too (that’s why I’m writing this). Please– if you’re reading this… fight to never lose the awe in giving because we have the convenience of making automatic deposits from our paychecks. Your giving is not toward a cause, but to people who have souls. Fight to never lose the awe in your worship because some of us have been blessed to hear world-class worship bands every Sunday. Instead, I hope it’s equally amazing when we’re in a room worshipping with a few friends who can barely play the guitar. I hope it’s even more amazing for us to be alone with God and in His word. What makes worship awesome is the object of our worship– it is God and His presence; not the noise going into our ears.
We have become a generation that questions God when it comes to boundaries and then soften things by saying to ourselves, “Well… God didn’t really mean that.” But what if God really did mean what He said? How different would our lives look? I want us to focus on a small passage in Exodus:
The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear when I speak with you and will always believe you.” Then Moses reported the people’s words to the Lord. And the Lord told Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. They must wash their clothes and be prepared by the third day, for on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. Put boundaries for the people all around the mountain and say: Be careful that you don’t go up on the mountain or touch its base. Anyone who touches the mountain will be put to death. No hand may touch him; instead he will be stoned or shot with arrows. No animal or man will live. When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, they may go up the mountain.” (Exodus 19:9-13)
Picture that scenario. Do you believe that anyone who touched the mountain would be killed, or was God just being sarcastic? Whether or not you do, it’s obvious that God found time with Moses should be holy & set apart. Let’s continue a little later on in Exodus:
Now Moses took a tent and set it up outside the camp, far away from the camp; he called it the tent of meeting. Anyone who wanted to consult the Lord would go to the tent of meeting that was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would stand up, each one at the door of his tent, and they would watch Moses until he entered the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and remain at the entrance to the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. As all the people saw the pillar of cloud remaining at the entrance to the tent, they would stand up, then bow in worship, each one at the door of his tent. The Lord spoke with Moses face to face, just as a man speaks with his friend. (Exodus 33:7-11)
Moses setup a tent outside of the camp away from all distractions where he could meet and speak with God. It’s my fear that our generation feels that time with God is burdensome and we are always needing to squeeze Him into our schedule. Some of our pastors plead us to spend just five minutes a day in prayer or read a chapter of our Bible… but where did our zeal for the Lord go? I urge you– set limits and boundaries. Make your own “tent” to meet with God! Don’t let anything get in the way of your time with Jesus. God wants to meet with you.
In this age, we have a dangerous advantage with technology where we can listen to countless sermons from our favorite pastors. I’m not saying it’s dangerous to listen to these podcasts… what I am saying is that we can get too caught up in people. As a side note, we have a big issue if we leave our services and conferences talking about the worship, speaker, musicians, how someone talks about Jesus, how someone sings about Jesus, etc. Church-goers should be there to meet with and put the focus on Jesus– not be entertained. There’s only one person that saved us, and that’s the name we are to be lifting up. Instead of truly delighting in time with our Creator, we sell ourselves short and meet with “Moses” instead. Listening to sermons doesn’t change you; only being in the presence of God can do that. If we’re not careful, distractions can enter our quiet time too as we take selfies with our open Bible and cup of coffee. When we seek the presence of God, we need to fight to get all other thoughts out of our minds. Jesus reminds us, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” Love Him with not part of your mind, but ALL of it.
Distractions are everywhere, and we need to fight to keep our minds clear. The devil will do everything in his power to keep us distracted. Prayer is a highly effective weapon against him and he will do whatever it takes to keep our minds from being completely focused on God. So how do we fight this?
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. (1 Peter 4:7)
Peter reminds us to be self-controlled and sober-minded– having minds that are free of distractions. He is exhorting us to be self-controlled and sober-minded so that we may have great prayer lives. All of the things we can see are fading away. Paul tells us to take our minds off everything that we can see and focus on what we cannot see, so maybe it’s time for us to take God at His word and pursue Him with all we’ve got. Don’t give up the fight. Pitch your tent. Kill the noise. Jesus is ready to speak.