Distracted by Nonsense
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. 1 Timothy 4:7
I have lists of people for whom I pray every morning. I have a list of friends in recovery for whom I pray not to relapse. I have a list of friends struggling with addiction for whom I pray to find recovery. Occasionally my friends will transition from list to list. Someone who was addicted will find recovery or someone who was in recovery will relapse. Recently though, I learned that a friend for whom I’d been praying for years, died in his addiction. It was a somber realization, reminding me that addiction is a serious disease with dire consequences.
To this end, I meet weekly with a group of guys to address our own recovery. We meet, we share our ongoing struggles, and we challenge each other to daily abandon self and pursue Christ. Occasionally though, we’re tempted to get off topic. Sometimes, we’re just distracted by idle conversation that needs to be redirected. But at other times, we’re taken way off track by someone who appears to want nothing to do with finding recovery or following Christ.
We always start out with a pertinent Bible passage and some discussion about that passage. Occasionally though, someone will attempt to steer the conversation away from any productive conversation. What about giants in the Bible? Let’s talk about angels and ghosts. At those times, I must remind myself that we’re there for a serious purpose and that it’s the group’s responsibility to address that purpose. We can’t allow our short time to be consumed by silly myths or fruitless discussions. Does this conversation direct us towards faith and recovery? Or is it just a waste of time? It can be uncomfortable to tell someone that they’re off topic, but we’re not there simply for morning coffee and a laugh. Our faith and recovery are truly matters of life and death.
I’m not saying we can never joke around or discuss angels. In today’s passage though, Paul reminded us that we shouldn’t allow pointless discussions to distract us from following God. It’s easy to keep it superficial with friends, neighbors, and even family, never getting around to matters of life and death. We can know someone for years without ever discussing the most important things in life. Even in church or Christian circles, we’re regularly tempted to be distracted by gossip, legalism, appearance, and fruitless discussions. We don’t need to be continually somber, but daily, we must realize that faith is a matter of spiritual life and death. Does this thing point me and others to God? Or is it just nonsense that distracts us from our ultimate purpose?