If you have traveled through any highway or any major roadway, you might have noticed roadside advertisements. Such advertisements are usually called, “billboards.” A billboard is a large sign that is designed to get the driver’s attention for the specific purpose of relaying a message. The message may be to promote a restaurant or a hotel, or perhaps to send a message that invokes thought or encouragement. Regardless of what the message may be, a billboard holds the key purpose of grabbing your attention. In many cases, a billboard may cause the driver to consider the attraction to the point that they end their travel at that very moment. This in turn means that the driver found something of worth or was compelled to put their journey on hold to see what is so attractive about the promotion.
In life, there are a multitude of distractions that you and I face every day. Satan who is the enemy of our soul has cunningly incorporated various mechanisms to distract us from coming into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. There are many who are living in sin because they have voluntarily given up the opportunity to be free from the power that sin holds over humanity. In the book of Proverbs 4:25-27, the following scripture is recorded:
(ESV) “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.”
In this chapter of Proverbs, the topic is that of a Father’s instructions to his sons. Throughout this chapter, there are various words of encouragement and admonishment to be wise, and to get wisdom. In verse 14 of this chapter, there is a mention of deviating from the path of evil.
(ESV) “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.”
It is important to note that the instructions given by the writer focus on adhering to a life that is aligned within a path of righteousness instead of evil. However, the focal verses which are verses 25-27, point to maintaining a life that is not distracted. The writer says, “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.” What does this writer mean when he says this?
To look directly forward is to look ahead without taking notice of your surroundings. In this context, it means that one is staunchly focused on what is in front of them rather than any distractions that could be within the vicinity. In today’s environment, it is extremely important to be alert but to also remain focused. This is especially true as it relates to our spiritual development. The writer is suggesting that it is better to keep your eyes focused ahead of you, rather than on what is around you.
The reason is because if your attention is diverted elsewhere and not on the things of the Lord, then you will fall prey to the deceptive attacks of satan. In Psalm 141 the psalmist David cries out to the Lord with the intent to seek Him for His help. In verse 8 David says, “But my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!” The posture that we are all to have is one of an undivided attention unto God.
Going back to Proverbs 4, verse 26 says, “Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.” This means that we should be mindful of the path that we take so that we are walking in steps that are ordered and set by God. Often times, there are many distractions which are presented to us, which cause us to veer off of the path that God has designed for us.
Daily, the media continues to promote poison and deceptive words which infiltrate our minds and our hearts. This in turn creates a system of falsehoods which become accepted as the truth, despite satan delivering “the truth” disguised as a multitude of lies. John 8:44 calls satan the “Father of lies.” It is satan’s goal to distract and to deceive by using any means that he can. He understands that if he is successful in distracting those who are not built up in Christ, then he will have the masses walking in blindness towards destruction.
However, the writer in Proverbs 4 encourages us to be thoughtful about our path and where we are headed. Not being prudent about your destination is sure to bring you to an end that God never intended. The final verse in this chapter says, “Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.” This goes back to the original point which is to stay focused in your attention and to abstain from the evil path.
So, how does Satan divert our attention and what can you do to stay focused? Here are a few considerations concerning this matter:
1. Satan uses what is attractive to us – The thing about sin is that it is attractive and it appeals to our flesh. It is because we are human beings, we are tempted daily to indulge in our sinful nature. So, satan challenges us daily with what our flesh desires because he knows that if we are operating in carnality, then we will give in.
2. Satan uses the majority to influence – Once you have a majority of individuals that have given into temptation, it is much easier to go in the direction of the masses. The path that is separate or contrary to the norm is one that is isolated. Thus, satan will often use others to ostracize and break you down into submission so that you conform to the ways of this world.
However, even in the midst of satan’s tactics, here is what you can do to avoid his distractions:
1. Live a life that is surrendered unto Christ – The very first step for anyone is to live in obedience unto Jesus Christ. This means, accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior. If you have not given your heart to Jesus, you have an opportunity to do so. By taking this first step, you are in a position of safety and your spirit is now open to the things of God.
2. Spend time in prayer and in God’s Word – Arming yourself against the distractions of this world requires that you have a life that is rooted and grounded in God’s word and that you are praying daily. Seeking God’s presence will increase your spiritual awareness so you can see what distractions exist through God’s eyes. Having God’s word hidden in your heart, gives you His truth which will always supersede the lies that satan produces.
3. Know your enemy – You must understand how satan operates. He desires to destroy humanity and to disrupt the very idea of anyone having a relationship with God through Christ. If you don’t know what the enemy uses as bait, then you must familiarize yourself with his strategy. This is so you can take measures to be built up in your relationship with God.
The overall message from Proverbs chapter 4 is to walk in the way that God has for us. You can only do that when you are in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Doing anything in your own will-power is certain to end in defeat. However, God wants to guide you on a path that is consistent with His design, and one that leads to victory and not destruction. Seek the Lord while He may be found, and avoid the evil path that satan desires for you to take.