Abundance of Distraction
“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. Luke 21:34-36
It is worth your attentive notice that you focus on the major subject matter of the Lord Jesus in the week before He went to the cross to die; to die a death He knew was coming, and knew exactly when it was going to happen. As you approach another Holy Week culminating in the celebration of eternal Life and the power of the resurrection, if you are concerned for your protection and those for whom you care you will particularly digest the warning words of the Lord in the week immediately prior to His death. Jesus was focused upon today, your generation, and what is now falling upon all of us who live upon the face of the whole earth, believer and unbeliever alike. Jesus warns that the distractions of this day are many and powerful, intended for you to miss what He says. No one knows the exact day He will appear in the sky, but the warning signs are abundant, and He commanded, “Be attentive to the signs.
Jesus was abundantly focused on His return in the week we call Holy Week. His focus was as much upon those who would heed His warnings and take action, as it was upon the disaster that would come upon all those who purposefully would not listen. The Scripture assures us that no one will be innocently guilty by virtue of not being given fair warning. Many may be certain in their own eyes that a whole segment of the world’s population is “innocently and thoroughly oblivious; but unlike man’s perspective God knows the hearts of men and says that no one is without excuse (Romans 1-3), which should always inform every perspective of this time in history.
The word “dissipation in today’s text refers to the many things that distract people from the truth: habitual search for constant amusement, the acquiring/desiring of abundant possessions, escapism, multiple diversions, anything to not face and deal with the truth in your life. All of this and more constitutes dissipation in one’s life. The Lord says if you are not careful and cognizant of this danger His sudden, unexpected appearance will close on you like a “spring-loaded inescapable trap, rather than an expected, desirable, eagerly anticipated event. Perhaps this picture the Lord portrays, opposite to the perspective of how you see a loving, merciful Christ, does not equate with your present mind-set; all the more reason to set your eyes on the Christ of the Scriptures who is revealed by His Word. As you approach this Holy Week “capture (it takes an aggressive approach) more time in that Word, read the words from His own mouth, concentrate your thought on what He has said. Perhaps your view of who Jesus is has been framed by someone else’s words or how your mind would like to see Him. See Jesus as He is through His own authenticated words and actions as given by God’s revelation of Him.
The troubled teenage boys who now live at the PAYH are representative of the youth in this country and the world who have been assailed since birth with the distractions of their world bestowed on them by parents, peers, worldly heroes, pride, and their own congenital sin inclinations; distractions intended to keep them from the truth of who they are as created in God’s likeness. They have been diverted by this dissipation from true manhood and have a false view of what it is to be truly human. It is the PAYH’s mission to help redirect the eyes of their heart to see in the face of Jesus Christ the authentic definition of what it is to be a man. For their parents and families we desire the transformation of their vision to see what it is to be an authentic man or woman, not the disfigured caricature the world offers. But the time to do this work is drawing to a close. We are time constrained by the average of 18 months of residence and by the Lord’s words that work ceases when the night of history descends (John 9:4) and the lightening flash of Jesus’ return brings everything to a halt (“suddenly like a trap).
There is no better preparation for Holy Week, for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday than sitting down with your Bible and reading Matthew 23-26 and the same-time passages in Luke and John. Read what Jesus said within this calendar two millennia past, and of what may truly be prophetic of today. Convincing yourself that it is for a day yet long off is dissipation. These warning words of the Savior are intended for you today, where you are, in 2015. Do not think to be dissipated by procrastination. Flee from your distractions and get down to eternal business.
“O Lord haste the day when the faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll, the trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, “Even so—it is well with my soul. It is well…with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul.
(4th verse of Horatio Spafford’s hymn, “It is Well with My Soul, 1873)
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