Those of you who keep livestock know the value of a good electric fence, especially when predators lurk nearby. Every night before the lambs’ “bedtime” we turn on the electric fence that surrounds the sheep pen, knowing that the horses are smart enough to stand clear.
I wish I could say the same for myself. I was so distracted by the eye candy on the hill (aka those adorable lambs) that I completely forgot about the 7 joules of electricity (roughly +5,000 volts) running though the hot wire that brushed my ankles. The jolt caught me by surprise and knocked me back a few paces. I yelped and said a bad word (maybe two) as I absorbed the shock. I’m living proof that worldly distractions can easily overtake us, especially when they beguile our senses—or manifest as wolves in sheeps' clothing.
We all know what that looks like. The “sweet” and sassy friend who can gossip for hours about mutual friends. The allure of online shopping or scrolling mindlessly on Facebook while the invitation to pray goes unopened. The binges that turn our temples into trash bins. The weekend recreation (or sleep) that trumps worship. The questionable movies and tawdry reality shows that promise to entertain but actually undermine our purity of heart. The New Age practices that seem relatively harmless and lull us into cheap spirituality (yes, yoga, I mean you).
Such distractions and diversions might not look so bad on paper but there’s a kind of spiritual blindness that comes from their cumulative effect on our souls. String enough of them together and we’ve got a bigger problem. The Predator has breeched the perimeter and we’re too complacent or focused on eye candy/guilty pleasures to notice. That is, until we get zapped.
I don’t have to define what a zap from God or his holy angels feels like. I’m sure y’all have your own personal experiences and definitions. For me, it’s pretty much how it appears in the video. God’s “course corrections” seldom come to me in the form of gentle nudges. I’m pretty sure my Guardian Angel wields an electric cattle prod because sometimes I’m just that stubborn, dense, or distracted.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Scripture tells us that if we tune into the “still, small voice” we we can hear God say: this is the way, walk in it (Isaiah 30:21). For me, the challenge is to plug into my soul throughout the day and disconnect from worldly enchantments—even if it’s only for a holy moment. Often a holy moment is enough to break the spell and to hear the voice of God.
Letting go of what captivates our senses gives us the freedom to see where the Holy Spirit is leading and where our most savvy predator, the Devil, is lurking. He’s desperately hoping we don’t notice him in the shadows, lobbing all kinds of distracting, feel-good stuff at us like unholy hand grenades. His arsenal is deep. He knows us well. If he can storm the gate of our senses, he stands a chance at halting our spiritual progress and planting his flag in our soul.
Psalm 91 is the perfect prayer for protection and for regaining or retaining our focus on God. After all, look at some of its most dazzling promises!
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
Notice the “if/then” proposition the Psalmist puts forth. When we make the Lord our refuge in this world, our tent and its perimeter is secure. His angels are on guard. And our senses remain plugged in to something and to Someone far more powerful than any pleasures of the flesh. Let’s just say we become SPIRITUALLY GROUNDED. :)
To our POWER-FILLED God be the glory, both now and forever!