One of the many blessings God has given me and recently has reminded me of is my loving wife. One of her greatest qualities I admire is her hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness. Oh, she’s not perfect as she always reminds me to tell everyone, but she does have an insatiable appetite to stay close to the Lord. It inspires me to in my own walk. I love hearing her thoughts on what God presses on her heart. Below is something she wrote down recently on our vacation in Va. that we discussed at length. Enjoy!
Psalm 119:37 – “Turn my eyes away from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way.”
In the middle of a chapter on treasuring God’s word, David offers a prayer asking God to turn his eyes (mind, face, attention) away from looking at (meditating on, thinking about) worthless things SO THAT God could revive David in His righteous and holy ways. This is a two-step process. First, I have to shift my attention away from the worthless things that always draw me. For me this is facebook and my phone. For you it might be tv, or internet, or magazines, or a good novel, or video games, or pinterest, or any number of other things. Not evil things, necessarily, but worthless things. Things that have no eternal value. Things that serve to distract you from the things that do matter. Things that fill our hearts and minds, leaving little room for God’s ways, God’s word and God’s voice. It’s interesting to me that even before all this social media and internet, King David had worthless things pulling his attention away as well. Satan has been skilled at distracting us from eternal things since the beginning of time. What did he do to Eve? Shift her focus from the blessings of God to what she “didn’t” have. One thing Zack pointed out when we were discussing this was that Satan often uses this distraction in mature believers. He knows he might not be able to trip them up with pornography or adultery or any other number of sins, but he can distract their attention away from God’s way and God’s word and fill their mind and time with worthless things, thereby disabling them in their walk. He has mentioned several times that D. L. Moody said the enemy will always try to distract him from time with God, even if it’s nothing more than adjusting the window shades.
I’ve often read this verse and applied it to what we watch on tv. I even printed it out once and taped it to our tv, so it would be in front of us as we decided what to watch. I still believe it applies to that, but God showed me this time, that there is a connection between the two parts of this verse. A turning away from worthless things is necessary for a revival in God’s way. The fact that a revival is needed, shows that there has been a falling away or a falling to sleep in the believer’s life. Why are so many people in the church apathetic, numb and in need of revival? Maybe it’s because their eyes are fixed on worthless things. They are trying to fit God in to their busyness. They want to hear from God and receive His blessing and enjoy intimacy with Him, but they aren’t willing to first turn away. I know I have been guilty of this as well. I do my quiet time, but with my phone right next to me. I stop to respond to texts or to message a friend on facebook a verse of encouragement, which leads to a few minutes of scrolling and responding to messages.
I have been recently convicted about two things: my time with God is dry and I’m not very committed to really digging in like I once did, and I spend too much time looking at my phone. (I’m convinced, with all the conveniences and helps it provides, my productivity has dropped quite a bit since I got a smart phone.) God showed me in this verse, that those two convictions are connected. I need to make a commitment to turning away from all these other “things” that hold my attention in order to be revived in God’s way. A pastor recently shared with us how it seems his flock is dead or at least numb; that one by one they are getting “picked off” and drawn away. We see that everywhere and hear that from so many church leaders. Could it be that their eyes are too fixated on worthless things? That their flesh has been drawn away from God’s way one “no big deal thing” at a time?
Colossians 3:1-2 tells us that we need to set our mind on things above, “God’s way,” not on things on the earth, “worthless things.” Paul also tells us in Romans 8:5-11 that those who live according to the flesh have their minds (and eyes, naturally) set on the flesh. And to be fleshly minded is death – hence the need for a revival (renewal, rebirth, reawakening) in God’s way. Verse 11 gives us a promise that if we have the Holy Spirit in us, He WILL BRING LIFE to our mortal bodies. But first we must turn our eyes away. All this “snacking” on worthless things takes away our hunger for the meat of God’s word.
So what’s the solution?
* Start by asking, as David did, for the Holy Spirit to intervene and turn your eyes away from what doesn’t matter.
* Turn your phone off during your quiet time.
* How about a fast from facebook, internet, social media, tv or whatever has your eyes fixed.
* Dig deeply into God’s word and look for ways to immediately apply what He shows you. Don’t be content with quiet times spent in short devotionals, reading what someone else got out of God’s word.
* Take some time to fix your eyes and feast your soul on God’s amazing creation. It will draw you to Him.
*Read through Romans 8 and meditate on how you might be feeding your flesh vs your Spirit.
* __________ You fill in the blank. This list is just to get us started!
Lord God, I know that Your Word is a treasure. I want to seek it with my whole heart. I don’t want to be distracted by worthless things that just don’t matter. Please turn my eyes away. Reveal to me what is in my life that is distracting me from You, Your word and Your way. Revive me in Your way so I can walk according to Your truths. Amen