When we wish to read a good book and immerse ourselves in it, we do not go to a noisy bus station to read. Rather, we retreat to a quiet, private place to give ourselves completely to the book. When we wish to talk with someone who means much to us, we take him or her to a place where there will be no interruptions. When we study for an examination, we lock the door, turn off the radio, and give ourselves unreservedly to the subject matter. When we want to let the life of Christ make a revolutionary impact on our life, we go to the desert. Geographically it is not always possible. But we can do it spiritually by recognizing the terrible distraction of the ambitions, the standards, the music, the talk, and the noise of this world to our attempts at spiritual concentration—and then do something about it.
It takes a huge commitment to stay focused these days. There are so many moving parts that need our attention and an ever-changing landscape that must be navigated. I’ve never had to work harder to keep the main thing the main thing. We need the wisdom and guidance of Holy Spirit.
When I find myself racing around, trying to fill a day with mindless tasks or petty entertainment, this is usually the time that God whispers to my heart to draw away with Him and to silence my heart as He wishes to speak.
The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.
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Have you ever noticed that Jesus is never recorded as taking a holiday? He retired for the purposes of his mission, not from it. He was never destroyed by his work; he was always on top of it. He moved among people as the Master of every situation. He was busier than anyone; the multitudes were always at him, yet he had time, for everything and everyone. He was never hurried, or harassed, or too busy. He had complete supremacy over time; he never let it dictate to him. He talked of “my time” “my hour.” He knew exactly when the moment had come for doing something and when it had not. A life lived in God is a life that masters time. One can see the distractions for what they are and centre down on the things that really matter. But of course this doesn’t mean that Christians do less than other people. (Look at Jesus again, and think of those people – many of the busiest you have known – who have something of this quality.)
When the Lord makes it clear you’re to follow Him in this new direction, focus fully on Him and refuse to be distracted by comparisons with others.
Worship silences the noise of life.
Your call will become clear as your mind is transformed by the reading of Scripture and the internal work of God’s Spirit. The Lord never hides His will from us. In time, as you obey the call first to follow, your destiny will unfold before you. The difficulty will lie in keeping other concerns from diverting your attention.
I throw myself down in my chamber, and I call in and invite God and his angels thither, and when they are there, I neglect God and his angels, for the noise of a fly, for the rattling of a coach, for the whining of a door. A memory of yesterday’s pleasures, a fear of tomorrow’s dangers, a straw under my knees, a noise in my ear, a light in my eye, an anything, a nothing, a fancy, a chimera in my brain, troubles me in my prayers.