Satan has designed “his world” to be filled with distractions. It is not difficult to attract the human mind away from an original focus. A mind empowered by the spirit in man has a yearning for a spiritual connection. But without the knowledge of what an “original focus” should include, man searches here and there without fulfilling the yearning. He remains unsettled and his emotional state is conflicted. “The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing” (Ecclesiastes 1:8).
Many have been able to satisfy their yearnings to some degree through traditional approaches to religion. Religion is defined as a system of belief and the activities connected to that system. The activities become an important aspect of fulfilling an emotional spiritual need. However, without the true knowledge of God, man manufactures a form of religion. They change the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man (Romans 1:23). Many are finding that over time the lack of answers and apparent contradictions move them to keep searching for meaning. “When I applied my heart to know wisdom and to see the business that is done on earth, even though one sees no sleep day or night, then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. For though a man labors to discover it, yet he will not find it; moreover, though a wise man attempts to know it, he will not be able to find it” (Ecclesiastes 8:16-17). This creates a perfect situation for Satan to do his work of keeping minds distracted from thinking too deeply about the important issues of life.
An effective distraction will often include some kind of spiritual component – or at least a perceived spiritual component. Emotions can substitute for a spiritual experience very well.
We are about to enter the time of the year when a great many distractions occur. Beginning with Halloween, it proceeds through New Year. These holidays have no connection to God or the way of life outlined in scripture but are packed with distractions which play into fulfilling a human spiritual need.
In Ancient Rome, the emperor devised a program to distract the population away from dissatisfactions and unpopular actions the government wanted to take. It was known as “bread and circuses.” These extravaganzas engaged the people in activities which turned their focus of attention. Christian holidays which are based on pagan practices serve much the same purpose. Notice the example of Israel shortly after they left Egypt and they became dissatisfied when Moses was gone up the mountain so long. To control the milling mob, Aaron sanctioned a “bread and circus” event in the form of singing, dancing and a golden calf (Exodus 32:18-19). A classic move by satanically influenced human nature.
It is difficult not to be impacted to some degree by the distractions which surround us at this time of the year. We need to recognize them for what they are and not turn away from our original focus of attention. It is good to remind ourselves that God will provide what we need to be able to stand against the wiles of Satan. God tells us that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood. Other people are not the main issue. We wrestle against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places – against Satan and his demonic influence. “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13).
Let us not become distracted from where our focus of attention needs to be. “Bread and circuses” are no substitute for a truly satisfying spiritual relationship with our Father. Determine to set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.