I opened my mouth to explain myself but he was adamant not to know what sin it was I had fouled myself up with.
In any other circumstance that would be a good call but in this case my "sin" was something usually not referred to as sin at all. You see as God works on your heart, usually the clean-out process begins and more and more of your sins get shelved away in a big "Do Not Touch" box wrapped in masking tape.
But no matter what God clears out there is one thing that persists to be a problem, something that persists to stand against us living out our "vocation" in Christ. That something goes by the name of Distraction and it takes many forms.
Not quite so innocent…
For me, there have been times where I've gotten into a particular video game and spent far too much energy in conquering it. Then when I'm done I usually wonder why I've bothered. I've been fandom obsessed (something I cringe to admit); plots, drama and character-driven hopefulness. Comics, TV shows, movies… you name it. All time wasting goodness.
We might say we're "just taking a break" but when do distractions get dangerous? Here are some hints:
1) You're thinking about your distractions in your free time.
2) You're not being "transformed in your mind" the way living a godly life is supposed to do.
3) You glaze over reading the Bible (because being convicted is never fun).
4) It consumes your intellectual and creative efforts.
5) You justify it.
No help available
Convicted by the Ephesians mantra "redeem the time" and "anything that is not done in faith is sin" from Romans made me decide to get prayed for. But did it work? Did I wake up and magically start to focus all my life and efforts on the Kingdom of Heaven again?
There's no such thing as a quick fix from distraction. Yes, fervent prayer gets your mind back on target but all the good intentions in the world can't ground you in godly motivations without effort on your part.
There are dozens of programs out there (Christian and non-Christian) to help the alcoholic, the drug addict and the porn and sex addict but what help is there for those who simply get caught in the web of distraction? Is a video game obsession just not serious enough? A comic book collector not in danger of letting their collection trump God's will for them? Does a fandom fanatic get ignored until it stems into something like pornography? Does a sports supporter get a bye unless they're gambling?
What makes a sin?
Is it just not sin? If it is sin why is it overlooked from our pulpits? Especially as most people would be guilty of it. I think the problem is that it's looked upon as an unavoidable reality. It's justified by society. We're just "taking time off", "relaxing", indulging a "hobby". So what could be wrong with that? Surely when the Bible says "anything that is not done in faith is sin" it doesn't mean it, right? It's natural!
And is it really our fault? I've blamed genetic entropy, poor wiring and generations of minute mutations which have given me ADD and a lack of self-control when it comes to living out James 5:5 (my pleasures and distractions coming first in my life). Yes, there's some biology partly to blame and God gives us leeway due to that, but it's not an excuse. We have a vocation, a responsibility and we are meant to die to ourselves: our lusts, our sins and (dare I say it?) our distractions daily.
Now there are going to be people who don't like hearing it but when will enough be enough? When will we start living entirely for Jesus? When we're retired? When God does it for us?
All in how you view it
There are no easy answers or solutions but we must learn how to "put aside childish things" (our distractions) and "run the race". Perhaps one day those of us ensnared in foolish time wasting will be able to get the help we need but as for now the first step is admitting we have a problem, crying out to God and getting accountability. The rest will follow.
It all depends on how you view the things that regularly eat up your time and your thinking: a sin, a mere inconvenience or a justifiable hobby. It's your choice, make it wisely.
Bridget Brenton has been researching apologetics, philosophy and the paranormal for years. You can check her apologetic effort out at www.101arguments.com.
Bridget Brenton's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/bridget-brenton.html