I started writing manuscripts and poetry many years ago, but only began publishing any of it in the last seven or eight years. Although each book or poem I have written had a specific purpose behind it, none were written in a vacuum. Everyone was written in a time and place context. I stay up pretty well on the headlines and some of the stories. I am with people every day. I am on a couple of social media platforms. There have always been things going on outside of me that surely impacted the subjects I wrote about and what I had to say.
Having the vantage point of a 67-year-old man with 45 years of ministry experience, I can look back over quite a few socio political climates, with all their social and cultural nuances, which have come and gone in my lifetime. The one thing they all have in common is social tumult–anger, disputing, disruption, etc. Yes, most were fairly important and serious, but that’s not my point here. And for an author, writing useful and focused books on behalf of God amid the world’s commotion is like all of us simply trying to have meaningful, ongoing God-thoughts as we live out our days and do our work.
There’s always clamor and distractions not too far away from each of us. And it inevitably roils us inwardly, muddying our minds a bit and making it harder to focus on the important things. I think that is a big part of evil’s focus and intent in instigating it all. And the Apostle Paul tells us that the reality is, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12).
Indeed, the struggle is real!
And we are all tempted to enter the fray, perhaps even vociferously, to settle the argument, to make the point that fixes it all, etc! As if…
And that, I believe is exactly Satan’s scheme–to distract us and cause us to lose God-focus. Jesus taught this simple lesson in the Mary and Martha story (Luke 10:38-42). Jesus came to visit and was speaking to what was likely an all-male audience in the main room. At least nearly an all-male audience, because Mary boldly stayed in with the guys to listen to Jesus, while her sister busied herself in the other room with all the “womanly” chores that needed to be done to entertain guests. Martha audaciously tells Jesus to make Mary help her, to which Jesus answered, “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (v. 42). Mary was undistracted by the human things and she was zeroed in on the God-thing–Jesus!
Focusing on Jesus is the singular key to being unswayed and at least “less” affected by the clamor–”fix your thoughts on Jesus” (Heb. 3:1), and, “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). The key to not being drawn into the useless and endless controversies–social and political–and their troubling, disabling consequences, rather than preparing your mind for the real underlying battles in our own lives and the lives around us, is simple and singlular, although admittedly difficult–fix your thoughts on Jesus.