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It's automatic. Every time I say the word "squirrel" my dog will snap to attention and begin darting around with her head on a swivel. It doesn't matter if she is in a deep sleep, sniffing the best-smelling tree, or trotting in an open field; if she hears "squirrel" she is instantly distracted.

The news headlines and corresponding commentary have taken up a lot of oxygen. It's hard to avoid and even harder to escape. It's expected and even wise that we as Christians would be informed and interact with current events. However, as I've read and listened to what Christians are saying I have to wonder if there is something more than just being informed. I wonder if we aren't taking our eye off the ball. Or to put it another way, I wonder if someone isn't yelling "squirrel" and we are all running getting distracted.

Think about it. If you were Satan and your desire was to keep Christians from delighting in and talking about the gospel, what would you do? You would certainly want to find something that they would get passionately behind that would appear to be important but, in the grand scheme of things, be far less important than the glory of God and the advancement of the gospel. You would want to take their eyes off the ball. Because when our eyes are off the ball then we are not in the game; we are just commentators, analysts, and activists. We stop being ambassadors, workers, and soldiers. We are not ignorant of his schemes (2 Cor. 2:11)--or are we?

I cringe when I think about the time spent learning and interacting with every single issue that comes down the pike while fixed settled doctrines have dust on them. Christians can post and discuss, in great detail, the specifics of executive orders but struggle to articulate an orthodox definition of the Trinity. We can talk through well-reasoned defense about social justice but not articulate the doctrine of justification. We can spend hours in a debate about politics on Facebook or Twitter but not five minutes in prayer for our leaders. What's more, many of these issues that are taking up so much oxygen are not topics that all Christians agree upon. This means that we might have real differences on issues that are not central. In other words, you and I might agree about the gospel but disagree about political decisions and current events. But when we take our eye of the ball, the current events get elevated above the gospel, and cause division among good gospel-loving people. Brothers and sisters, this should never be.

Current events are whispering "squirrel" into our ears, and we are running around like a dog in an empty field. We don't need to respond to everything; and we certainly should never let anything eclipse the gospel--which is of first importance (1 Cor. 15:3). Let’s keep our eyes on the ball and encourage others to do the same.

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5 thoughts on “Keep Your Eye on the Ball”

  1. Anthony says:

    What if the current situation in America is the ball? What if the unending doctrinal argume…rather “discussions” in Christendom have been the “squirrels” the Enemy has used to divert our attention from the spiritual battle taking place in the heavens and here in America to tear down and destroy one of the last bastions of religious freedom and support of the Gospel worldwide?

    What if we have just been given a reprieve and the Lord is allowing us additional time to “fight the good fight” from a position of freedom and economic strength that will be used to help millions of people throughout the world?

    What if there really is only one side that is right in this fight? Only one side that represents light?

    And lastly, why does it seem that every enemy of God and His Church, every politician who has consistently stood on the side of evil and encouraged gross immorality and the sacrifice of millions of innocents…is now standing in opposition to the President of the United States on every level? Is it a coincidence that the powers of darkness have come out so strongly against this man and his administration?

    I think you can learn a lot about a man by his enemies and it sure seems as if the enemies of God have come out in force against President Trump… And anyone who truly knows and cars about the Gospel should take note of that fact.

    1. Mike Denney says:

      Absolutely brilliant comment! Thank you for reminding us of the spiritual battle that is being waged in this country…

    2. Joshua says:

      Don’t forget that the left was saying the exact same thing about Obama and the right. I’m sure there were christians who believing that Obama was a christian was portraying your attacks on Obama as a tool of Satan coming against a Christian. I think the point here is that we are not dominionists or Mormons. The new Jerusalem will be in Jerusalem not America. Our identity is anchored in Jesus Christ alone. Not in whether or not our politics are winning. If you want to say Trump is a good man and a fruitful christian, fine. But he is not king and so relying on the other hundreds of ungodly men/women in DC is a shaky foundation. If America and her non christian citizens take her into something politically unfavorable or unfriendly to christians that cannot change our eternal reality nor dethrone Jesus Christ as King of Kings. If I find in a different county a fellow christian who disagrees that America is good we are still brothers and united in our submission and love of Jesus Christ and both of us after our 70 or so years on this earth will worship the same Jesus Christ for all eternity. The point is priority must be Jesus Christ and the Gospel. The priority must be our eternal identity in Jesus Christ regardless of political environment and whether or not revival burns through America again or not. Whether the ppl in DC do what you want them to do or not what takes precedence is Jesus Christ and his Gospel of salvation and redemption.

  2. John T. Jeffery says:

    Good illustration, and good advice. I am reminded of “running around putting out brush fires,” and “The Tyranny of the Urgent” as well.

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Erik Raymond

Erik Raymond is senior pastor of Emmaus Bible Church in Omaha, Ne. He and his wife Christie have six children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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