Summary: We need to be sure we avoid being distracted from setting our hearts on developing a growing love relationship with God.
In Matthew 6, Jesus emphasizes our love relationship with God. He uses the word “Father” 11 times, showing the importance of that relationship. Our relationship to the Father as His children is a most remarkable and incredible relationship.
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry,‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” - Romans 8:15-16 (NIV)
The word, “Abba” is a term of child-like affection which would have the English equivalent of “Daddy.”
“Father,” on the other hand, is a term of mature appreciation. The point is that though we are to grow in our appreciation of who our God is, we must never lose the wonder of what it means to have God as our Father.
In Christ, we have a new identity and purpose for living. Our new identity is “child of God.” Our purpose is to live like a child of God. The degree to which I grow in my love relationship with God will
determine the degree to which I come to appreciate and experience all that God has in mind for me as His child, as I become more like Christ.
“The great secret of life according to our Lord is to see ourselves and to conceive of ourselves always as children of our heavenly Father.” - Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Through surrendering to the Spirit of God, studying the Word of God, and spending time with the people of God, my life can be transformed by the power of God to become more like Jesus, the Son of God.
But I need to be careful not to be distracted from daily delighting in our relationship with God the Father and our pursuit of Christ-likeness. That’s what Jesus is warning us about here.
To keep us from fulfilling God’s purpose us, Satan will use, “weapons of mass distraction.” - Dr. Daniel Henderson. That’s what Jesus mentions in verse 19.
1. Potential distractions - v. 19
The Devil’s distractions promise to enrich our lives, but don’t. They are temporary in nature. But worst of all, they distract us from focusing on what will truly enrich our lives - a growing love relationship with God.
What are some of the Devil’s distractions?
A. Sin - Make no mistake about it, a lot of sinful activity is fun! But what pleasure I experience is fleeting.
“The pleasures of sin (are) for a season.” - Hebrews 11:25 (KJV)
Sin is like cut flowers in a vase. They are beautiful, but their beauty is fleeting. The next day, they aren’t beautiful anymore, they are withered and ugly. Why? Because they are dead! There’s no life in them! So it is with sin. It might be attractive for the moment, but eventually, sin gets ugly, because a life lived for sin has no life in it.
“. . . let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus . . .” - Hebrews 12:1b-2a (NIV)
B. Stuff - The writer of Hebrews refers to the “stuff” of our lives when he tells us to “throw off everything that hinders.” The “stuff” of life can fall under one of two categories.
1) Prosperity - The “stuff” of life can be good things. Things like money, career, relationships, possessions. They aren’t sinful, unless I look to them to bring me the sense of security or satisfaction that only my love relationship with God can bring.
“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it. What will it benefit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his life? Or what will a man give in
exchange for his life? For the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will reward each according to what he has done.” - Matthew 16:25-27 (HCSB)
In the movie, The Mummy, there’s a guy named Beni. When they find the treasure room, Beni is enamored with the treasure. He probably had visions of wealth, but that’s not how the story ends. The room begins to fill up with sand and the doors close so they can’t escape. Beni could get out, but the treasure is his downfall. He fill his pockets and tries to drag out bags of gold, which are too heavy. The door closes and Beni is trapped with the treasure. Instead of enriching his life, the treasure costs him his life.
2) Adversity - The “stuff” of life can be things that are bad. Sickness, losing my job, natural disasters, etc. These things aren’t sinful either, but Satan will use them, if he can, to distract us from maintaining our focus on developing a growing love relationship with God.