We have entered a difficult season in 2020. It has brought with it unprecedented situations, placing us all in a spot we could have never before fathomed. I remember back in late March of this year feeling like life resembled a Sci-Fi movie, and now it resembles bad, reality tv. I have been saying for months now that I believe something is happening. I believe God is doing something. Perhaps it’s a rebirth, and perhaps He has begun to sort the wheat from the chaff. I wonder, if in this season of difficulty we haven’t also entered a season of testing, and I wonder how we will all come out on the other side.
Yesterday on my way to church I began to pray in the Spirit and immediately had a vision of a piece of metal being forged in a fire. It was a sword. I felt the Lord impress to my heart that we as a Nation were in a purification process, a fire of sorts, designed to burn away all the things not of Him. I realized, of course, that fire is hot. It burns. Many of us would leave the fire of God, drawn to false light, where it was certainly more comfortable, but in doing so we would miss becoming the finished product He intended us to be through this time.
I feel like when we pass through difficult seasons we have two paths we can take. We can take the less traveled, narrow path of Jesus, or we can take the wide and comfortable path. But I guess you remember where that leads. Destruction. I think the problem may come in knowing which path is which, because it’s easy to stumble on distraction from the enemy and get off course before we realize. So I’m going to talk about some ways I believe we lose our course. Consider this a loving, course correction.
Remember the sword in the fire, being forged by the flame to strengthen it? You see, God places us in situations so He can make us more like His Son, and if we’re not seeing Christ in the reflection, then we’ve moved away from the flame (the Holy Spirit). The narrow path, or the hot seat, if you will, isn’t a comfortable path to tread. Your opinion will not be popular. Have you ever heard people say that change is hard? It’s because it’s easier to stay the same. With change, growth, and refinement we must alter the way we have always thought or been taught to line up more with scripture. That is why the path is narrow.
I have seen a lot of things I consider distraction during this season. Distraction comes from the devil, and it is designed to take our eye off what God is doing from a Kingdom mindset. Please understand, this world is not our home, and the offenses we might consider important are not in the grand scheme of eternity. If you find yourself upset over a material thing, consider this might be a distraction by the enemy to take your eyes off what God is really wanting to do.
So, what is eternal? Is it a piece of cloth, or is it a soul being led to Jesus? I won’t mince words here or tiptoe around the subject. It’s really too late for all that. If you are a proclaiming Christian, but you are more concerned with what banner flies over your state than you are with the feelings of brothers and sisters in Christ, then you might just be distracted from what God is really trying to do in our country. He desires all people to come to Christ. It’s easier for followers of Jesus to lay down petty indifferences, but for a nonbeliever, they will only know the heart of God through your actions. So I ask, are your actions bringing nonbelievers to Jesus? That, my friends, is a kingdom mindset. Not pride, heritage, or personal opinion. We should only be interested in the opinion of Christ.
But back to distraction. I first saw it come in fast and hard during the difficult time of social isolation. As people sat at home, worrying about their health, their finances, or their stock options, instead of taking their concerns to Jesus, they found peace in YouTube. It’s laughable, except it’s not.
During a time when people were afraid (and really the basis of this issue is fear), they sought something to give them a sense of control. They couldn’t understand or stop a novel virus, but they could gain a sense of power in knowledge. Remember that tree the Lord instructed Adam not to eat from? As a learned woman, I am all about the pursuit of knowledge, but knowledge becomes a stumbling block when it instills fear. Do you recall Adam and Eve hiding after they had eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? God calls to Adam, and Adam finally responds that he was hiding from God, fearful because he was naked.
God asked, “who told you that you were naked?”
Today, I wonder, who tells us what we should fear? What we should place of value? What we hold as an idol above God? I watched hundreds of friends place their trust in their pursuit of awareness. I’m all for being aware (or woke, if you will), but if I am placing my hope in my own awareness, what good is it? I saw so many conspiracy theories, all promoting themselves as “the truth,” but in this false light we were rejecting the real truth. People became so distracted by what someone else (serpent or otherwise) was proclaiming as the truth, that they missed what God was doing with COVID.
God was trying to bring His children closer, show them His heart, show them His provision, His healing, and His power. That fire burned, y’all, and many of us jumped out to pursue a false light. We spent time chasing a white rabbit rather than seeking the Heart of the Father. Time that should have been spent in scripture and prayer was spent on social media and our smartphones. We failed the first test.
We’re not doing any better now. I said earlier that if you look at the reflection of yourself, that you are the metal being refined in the fire, do you see His reflection, or do you see the world?
Enter the next great distraction.
If you cling to a distraction over being the hands and feet of Jesus, then you are the problem. Remember, I promised not to tiptoe around this issue. If your heart would rather grab at any straw it can to explain why you can’t be loving, then you are part of the problem. Wait, I said I’d spell this out obviously for you.
Let’s take Black Lives Matter, as an example. After the death of George Floyd, God shined a big ole light on racial inequality and injustice. Eyes that had been closed for years suddenly were opened. Hearts changed. I changed. I’m not too proud to admit it. I followed the heart of Jesus, and I was able to see the areas where my own pride had prevented me from humbling myself like my Savior would do. But, since the devil is a liar, he had to bring distraction to trip folks up.
Did you know that you can believe that the lives of your black brothers and sisters matter without taking on all of the core values of an organization of the name BLM? For instance, I do not support Planned Parenthood at all due to their abortion stance. The organization Black Lives Matter does support it. Yet, I can still support people of color by saying yes, your life matters, and until everyone in this country agrees it does, I will stand with you and proclaim Black Lives Matter! It doesn’t mean I’m a leftist, liberal, or pro choice. It actually means I’m pro life, because I believe that all lives truly matter, and I show that by supporting people who have been wrongly oppressed for years.
If you’re using the disguise of the BLM organization’s beliefs as a reason for you to not support your friends of color, you might just be distracted by the enemy. Like, really, you probably are. You see, it’s easier to grab at a reason not to support racial equality than to admit you have been wrong in the past, to admit your country was wrong, the founding fathers were wrong, and a lot of what your grandma taught you was wrong. Remember, the narrow road isn’t easy. It involves admitting the ugliness of your flesh. It involves admitting you were wrong. It involves change. It involves doing things differently. Why? Because that’s the kingdom way!
Do you realize what a shake up it was for the Jewish believers when Jesus arrived on the scene?! He upended everything they had held dear. They wanted to hold to their laws of Moses, but Jesus wanted to show them a new way. Many couldn’t bare it. It was too hard to let go of the old way.
If it’s easier for you to believe this is a political stunt to throw Trump out of office than to believe that humans of flesh (a different color) and blood (the same color) just want to be treated the same, then you are part of the problem. You are allowing the distraction of political parties to blind you to human decency. The narrow path says it’s time to change the system that was built on unequal laws and assumptions. The wide path says this is a way for “the Left to take our Bibles and guns from us.” The narrow path begs us to look more closely at a judicial system that treats people of different colors and backgrounds differently, and this same narrow path demands an upheaval. The wide path would say to focus instead of material things like pancake syrup and state flags rather than the fact that black men are arrested more because they’re black, not because of crimes committed. Yes, it hurts to admit the truth, but it’s better than grabbing at distraction that’s so much easier for us to swallow. Distraction goes down like Aunt Jemima’s syrup.
Let’s look again at the forged metal. When you look at your actions do you see the character of Jesus, or do you see the world’s distraction? Are your words, actions (and inactions), and social media posts bringing further division or attempting to bridge a much-too-long racial gap?
Yes, there are angry people of color out there, but they have every right to be. How would you feel as a mother or father if you feared for your son’s life simply because of the way he looked? Don’t allow the rage or violence of nonbelievers to threaten your ability to be a beacon for Christ. Your actions should draw people to the cross, and your humility should allow you to lay your own down and follow His example. Jesus would always tell you to proceed with love, and if your reflection from this year’s season of fire isn’t showing you that, then you need to jump back in. If you look and see distraction is causing you to proceed in anything but love, get back to the right path. You’re lost, bro. Let love guide you.
Don’t let this season be one where you remain distracted, but let it be one where God changes you for the better. Allow the Lord to burn away everything not of Him. Let only love remain. Because in the end, it’s not a flag that we will take to heaven. It’s not bragging rights that our political candidate won or our theory on the Rothschilds and Rockefellers was correct. It will be the souls we lead to Jesus that accompany us. It will be our children that we have shown the way. It won’t be a record of how many times we were right, but we will be shown a record of how many we treated wrong. The narrow path lays down anger, turns the other cheek, gives a coat too when a shirt is demanded, and understands love is the greatest commandment of all. Anything else is just distraction.