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Inspiration for Today’s Devotional: “The Return of Harmony”

In this season premiere, the girls found out the hard way just how easy it is to get distracted, even when doing something of the utmost importance. Particularly in Twilight Sparkle’s case. While the other girls had the excuse of being “mind-trolled” by Discord, in her instance she forgot what she had learned way back in the first episode and focused so much on the “problem” that she ignored taking care of her friends, and ended up learning that she had to invest just as much energy in caring for them as well…which turned out to be just as important as putting a stop to the draconequis.

Western societies such as in Europe and the USA have a staggering amount of advantages from being “first world” countries, but when it comes to spirituality we have one major disadvantage: we’re utterly surrounded by distractions. Everywhere we go and whatever we do, we’re bombarded by ads, GIFs, video clips, TV, headlines…some of them advertising products, some of them pushing candidates, some of them just being loud noises…and we have a wealth of opportunities and means to go about and indulge each of them whenever we want. Yet with all of these privileges and blessings, it’s easy to get distracted from what matters most.

In spite of the means of transportation and the accessibility of churches, which surpass a lot of places in the world and especially those that persecute Christians, we can often get sidetracked on personal projects, work, activities, etc. In spite of how much money most of us have, we usually have to keep ourselves disciplined to contribute to church and charity, and even more so to tithe. Then, of course, there’s the media sources that range to simply bombarding us with a barrage demanding our attention to things that are genuinely perverse and valueless…especially on the Internet where you can access just about anything. But these, of course, are just physical external sources vying for out attention. There’s far more potent “distractions” out there.

Do I become so “distracted” by the fear of financial insecurity and the desire to own things that I forget to be generous or a “cheerful giver”? Do I become so “distracted” by other people who may have hurt me or wounded me in the past that I allow myself to become callous to others and my heart to become stony; never giving other people mercy or ‘second chances’? Do I become so “distracted” by news of phony pastors, conartists, and sins from people in the ministry that I discount Church and everyone in it; refusing to give them any trust to begin with? Or do I become so “distracted” by political ads and pundits using fearmongering and inciteful language that I vote for a candidate based on my own fear and hate, not on who I think can govern most in ordinance with Christian values?

Distractions are everywhere. Even if you don’t believe “the Devil” or any other sort of evil spirit is contributing, the fact is this world of ours has plenty of its own all on its own. Jesus cautioned about it in his infamous parable about the sower, likening worldly anxieties and distractions and their effect on the Word of God to thorns that choke the life out of young plants beginning to grow. Likewise, the Old Testament is rife with examples of the dangers of distractions. The idols of the nations surrounding Israel provided a rather severe distraction to the ancient Israelites, eventually drawing them away from the Lord. Likewise, after the return from the Babylonian Exile, Nehemiah’s enemies attempted to halt his work in rebuilding Jerusalem not by outright attack but rather by trying to sway him with distractions in the form of terrorist threats and phony meetings. And, of course, there’s the famous part of the Gospels in which Jesus is visiting Mary and Martha, and ends up having to tell the latter to calm down from all of the housework and just listen to Him.

So how do we avoid distractions? I think one good way is to find time to pause and concentrate on God some time each day. That’s why personal devotion, such as daily prayer and Bible study, is as important as going to Church on a weekly basis. And if you think you don’t have time, perhaps you should see if you can make a little time. See if you can’t sneak in a few minutes here or there. At the risk of coming off as “holier than thou” (which I assure you I am not), Matthew 6:21 says: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Therefore, from my own perspective, if I find myself making time for some of my “nerddom” such as comics, video games, or watching MLP:FIM…yet I’m not doing anything in my devotional life and I say “I don’t have time”, then that should say something about where I “place my treasure”.

Perhaps, somewhat like Twilight Sparkle, we all need to stop for a moment, step away from things, remember what’s supposed to be the most important, and then continue on with our day.

I’ll close with the words of our Lord in Matthew 6:25-34.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Suggested Prayer: “Lord God, thank you that you already know all of my worries, needs, and anxieties, and that you are always faithful to give me what I need…not necessarily what I want. When the toils and cares of the world, hateful speech, fear over loss of money, callousness, hatred, hurt, or anything else comes up to start distracting me from the call you have given me toward a Christian life, please help me to recall who I am in you and what you have destined me to be when I pause to remember, in the words of our Lord in the Book of Revelation, ‘my first love’. Gratefully in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”