Distracted by Everything
No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 2 Timothy 2:4
When we walk our dog, we have a route and a plan in mind. The dog does not. He, rather, is distracted by every noise, smell, and sight. He’s on a leash, so we maintain some control because if we didn’t, we would never get where we intended to go. My wife has always described him as a drunk toddler, staggering back and forth with no ability to walk a straight line. Everything along our route is a distraction. He is utterly incapable of walking ten feet without stopping to either smell something or to mark it as his own.
I am often like that. I know where I want to go in life. I know what I want to be in the long run. I am however, continually distracted by my immediate appetites and desires. I want to be in shape for an athletic competition this fall, but today, I want to sit on the couch and eat donuts. I want to grow spiritually, being the husband and father God wants me to be, but today I just want to sleep in and watch TV. I know where I want to go and who I want to be, but there are a lot of shiny things along the way that distract me from my purpose.
Paul addressed this phenomenon in today’s passage. In it, he used the metaphor of a soldier to encourage Timothy to maintain his focus. He pointed out that soldiers cannot become entangled in civilian pursuits because they must live to do the will of the one who commands them. As soldiers, it is their purpose to obey. Once they abandon their purpose, they’re no longer useful as soldiers.
Life is full of distractions. We have a thousand things competing for our attention. Often, we know what we want our lives to be in the long run, but today, we pursue the immediate gratification of our impulsive desires. Our immediate appetite though, is usually contrary to what we truly want to be in life. Daily then, we must consciously choose our path and purpose. Are we going to follow our faith, pursuing our true life goals? Or, are we going to let our stomach make our decisions?
When I let my impulsive nature guide me, I’m like my dog or a drunk toddler, staggering back and forth, never getting to where I want to go. Then, I wonder why I’m dissatisfied. When I abandon my way though, following God’s plan, I live in the purpose for which I was made, getting where I was meant to go.