The Plague of Busyness
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church
How often do we hear: “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have time for that” or “I have too much going on today!” Undoubtedly you’ve heard others say that but you have probably also said that yourself -- perhaps even today! Nothing is inherently sinful with being busy. But busyness can take our minds off of Christ, cloud our hearts from meditating on Him, distract us from serving our local church, and prevent us from communing with God in prayer and study of His Word. I ask you: has the busyness in your life become a plague that has caused you to lose your wonder of God’s magnificence, the privilege of bathing in Jesus’ ravishing and redeeming love, and the supernatural power available to you through the power, filling, and fellowship with the Spirit?
How Busy is Too Busy?
You’re busy. I’m busy. Everyone is busy. But how busy is too busy? How do you know whether you’re too busy? Is it possible to even tell? Perhaps you reflect on the recent past and wonder where your awe of God went. It may be that you ponder the past year of your life and contemplate how it happened that you’ve distanced yourself from your local church. You’re not as involved as you once were. You’re not meeting with anyone for discipleship and accountability. You do read the Bible -- but it can become quite rushed. You do pray -- but it often seems cold, lifeless, powerless, and just doing it to ‘do it.’ Ever been there? How busy are you? How much do you have going on in life? With what do you busy yourself? Perhaps a simple way of thinking of this: I’m too busy when I don’t intentionally make time to meditate on Scripture and actively invest in my local church.
What Occupies My Time?
What occupies your twenty-four hours of the day? Everyone has the same amount of time. The question is: with what do you fill it? Sleep? Eating? Work? Health programs? Sports? TV? Social media? Commuting? Take inventory and consider how you spend every minute of every hour of every day? Do you redeem it for Christ? We should! Our blessed Lord tells us to redeem the time because the days are evil. Every minute we live is a gracious gift from our God for us to live for His supreme glory and not our narcissistic pleasures. Let us live for Christ! Do you watch TV for one hour per day? Do you invest 5-10 hours per week in sports? Do you go to the gym and work out daily for an hour? Do you peruse Facebook or other social media with consistency? Consider. Think. Meditate. Don’t be too busy to examine how busy you really are. What occupies your time and your hours? Be specific and be honest.
What are My Priorities?
You do what’s important to you. You make time for what you deem the priority. A man who worships sports will do anything and everything to get home in time to watch ‘that game’ or to go to that ‘event’. There are many parents who so indulge their children in the ‘god of game’ that they spend hours each day playing sports to the neglect of spiritual instruction, family worship, and praising God in the home. This is not to pit sports and spirituality against each other. But often the god of sports has triumphed in our hearts and removed Christ from the ravishing delight of centrality in our minds. Do you prioritize sleep? Do you sleep your weekends away? Do you prioritize movies and entertainment? Do you stay up late watching certain things that you can’t arise early the next morning to awaken the dawn with your praises to God’s most worthy Name? Do you work so long and so hard that you’re unwilling to exert energy to go to the prayer meeting of your local church? Everyone has priorities and everyone makes time to do what is important to them. Examine your heart and your life.
Guarding from the Distraction of Busyness.
Good things that become God things are sinful things. When something that is good becomes a heart-craving and a ‘need’ in someone’s life, that good thing has become an idol, and thus, it is a god-thing. There are many things that occupy our hearts -- many, if not all, of which are profitable and good. But when ‘things’ and ‘stuff’ and ‘good blessings’ crowd our lives, occupy our hearts, distract us from Christ, usurp all our energies, we have veered off course and are in need to stop, consider what has gone wrong, and make adjustments. Praise God for His clear Word that guides us as believers to guard our hearts, manage our time well, and live maximally for Christ’s glory! Let us never forget that in Jesus’ parable of the soils, the third soil that he describes — the seed that was sown among thorns — lives a life ‘distracted with other things’. It’s not only sinful things that keep people out of heaven. It’s good things that become god things that prevent multitudes from entering heaven.
The Nonnegotiable Priorities.
So what can we do? How can we take inventory and guard our hearts, our lives, and our time? Here are some guiding thoughts and some essential priorities to ensure that we have in our lives. Whatever else a child of God may neglect, let him not neglect these important, nonnegotiable priorities. I’ll list four.
1) HEARING FROM GOD BY READING SCRIPTURE.
You probably don’t go most days without eating food. In fact, like most of us, you probably eat multiple meals a day. You need it! You enjoy it! You take pleasure in it! How much more must man live not by physical bread for our bodies but by the spiritual food — the Bread of Heaven — for our souls. To live a healthy, flourishing, joy-filled, Christ-centered life, all believers must hear from God as they read Holy Scripture. Eternal life is to know God and to know Christ! Knowing God comes as we allow the Word of God to dwell richly within us. Let us put off anything that crowds out our private, intimate times of hearing from God as we read, study, examine, apply, and memorize His precious Word. Like an eye-gripping, beautiful garden, God’s Word has sweet flowers of delight, sweet fragrances of divine comfort, and endless buds to stop and consider, look at, and smell and enjoy to the fullest! Let us hear from God by reading His Word.
2) COMMUNING WITH GOD IN EARNEST PRAYER.
No Christian grows apart from prayer. What a man is on his knees before God, that is what he really is, and no other. A man may have riches, prosperity, prestige, fame, and influence but if he has not regular, fervent, prioritized, and heart-warming times of fellowship with God in prayer, he has much to learn in the Christian journey. Prayer is the holy incense that takes the sacrifice of our lives up to heaven. Prayer is the soul’s converse with heaven. To neglect prayer is to forfeit strength. To minimize prayer is to depend on self. To abandon prayer is to welcome backsliding. A man falls on his knees in private before he falls into great sin in public. A man who does not pray in private is on the highway to backsliding and sinful living. Let us wage war with the devil, with temptation, yes indeed, with our own hearts and fleshly desires! Let us commune with our gracious Father, our merciful Savior, and our comforting Spirit! Let us approach God’s holy throne as Christ Himself always intercedes for us as the Spirit of God takes our prayers to God for us.
3) INVOLVING YOURSELF RELENTLESSLY TO YOUR LOCAL CHURCH.
To follow Christ as one’s Head means that the Christian joins himself to Christ’s body, the Church. Just as a bodily limb cannot live severed from the body, so impossible is it for a Christian to live severed from a local assembly of believers. Don’t allow the busyness of life — sports, TV, social media, laziness, work, vacations — seize you from the precious Bride of Christ! You need the Church! A local church should reside as the centerpoint of the believer’s life. Biblically, what we observe in Acts is that the believers made the community of believers, preaching, evangelism, and prayer the nucleus, the hub, the priority, the nonnegotiable priority in their lives. God used it. He matured them. They suffered much! He was glorified. Whatever you do: mortify the temptation and part with the thought that you don’t need Christ’s Church! You do!
4) MEDITATING ON TRUTH & EXAMINING YOUR SPIRITUAL CONDITION.
In an astounding verse at the end of 2 Corinthians, Paul writes to a church of believers and pastorally exhorts them to ‘examine themselves and see whether they’re in the faith’ (2 Cor 13.5). Believers must take spiritual inventory regularly. Where is there sin? Where am I being tempted? Where am I loving self more than loving Christ? Where are my idols? Am I hiding any sin at all in a private corner of my life? Am I loving the brethren? Am I walking in obedience to the truth as I practice righteousness? Am I believing the truth about Christ while submitting to Him and following Him? Let us examine our souls.
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