Today, I would like to address a topic that Satan has been using since the dawn of time against the children of God. It is DIVERSION.
diversion [ diˈvərZHən, dī- ] NOUN ||noun: diversion
- an instance of turning something aside from its course:
More than ever it seems like at every turn I have been hit relentlessly from Satan. Just in last two weeks I was not hit once but also blindsided twice and either one of them could knock one down and have their head ringing for days. The hits were not only fierce but spread far apart and I found I was trying to put fires out that I had no control of. Opposed to trusting by faith Satan injects fear and instead of believing the best we are tempted to expect the worse. Regardless, if it be bad news from a doctor report, strain in a relationship, death of a loved one, dismissal from a job, etc either way it is emotionally exhausting. God doesn't expect us to put out fires but trust Him to resolve the situation. It is difficult to function when overwhelmed and its harder to minister when not focused and at peace. The Devil wants to rob of us our JOY and make us inactive.
While being hit by Hell I was comforted by Heaven. God can use the most unusual ways to speak to us. As a lifelong Sly Stallone fan I was reminded when Balboa was being beat early in the fight by Ivan Drago in ROCKY IV. As the Russian nearly twice his size was overwhelming him after one round barely breathing in his corner his trainer asked him, "What's happening out there?" Rocky replied, "I see THREE of them out there." Adrian's brother Paulie (Burt Young) said without missing a beat, "Hit the one in the middle!" The crowd roared in the theater when he said that but without question that was wisdom on the spot. Satan wants to have us stare at the waves here and be intimidated by the wind yonder but God reminds us to focus on the Water Walker. Even at the cross, Christ was surrounded by two thieves on both sides but it is the One in the middle that makes all the difference. God has a unique way of doing things because when I was in the battle recently I was checking my Instagram and noticed I got a shout out from Burt Young the actor who played Paulie in all the Rocky movies! It was one thing to be reminded me of a classic movie and God give me a nugget but it was icing on the cake during the same time to hear from the man who uttered those iconic words. When going through life's battles some of his can recite the Bible backwards but when we hear from The Man (in the middle) we find peace, power and purpose.
Diversion is related to division. The Bible says, "a double minded man is unstable in all their ways." It also states, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." When we are being assaulted by the enemy we are tired, weak and confused. Satan desires to derail us and make us feel inferior and unworthy to be part of God's Kingdom building work. When going through tough times I have found help digging in God's Word, listening to soft praise music, take a walk and call friends for prayer and support. However, nothing grants help and hope like being alone with God. We need to block out the chaos and focus on Christ in the middle. While being hit relentlessly one is flooded with tons of emotions and it was a faith walk like never before to keep placing one foot in front of the other. Trying to minister was also an act of faith and obedience but Satan wants us to lose momentum and our platform to bless others. Truthfully, God is not interested in our worthiness as much as our willingness.
My heart had been heavy all week for Vice President Biden and his family after losing his son, Beau. Twenty years ago (April 1995), it was my honor to be appointed floor staff of the United States Senate as a bi-partisan figure to work for all 100 Senators on a daily basis. At 23, I was the youngest in modern memory to have that prestigious position. Like a pawn on God's chess board I know it was Him who strategically placed me there. Half the day I worked for the Republican side of the aisle and other half served the Democrats and one of them was The Honorable Joseph Biden from Delaware. After being hit with my own grief I knew one way to break out is to give grace and bless others. I learned two nights ago that citizens could pay their respects to the former Attorney General at the State Capitol in Dover. It would be a 200 mile commute from my house and in my heart I had a feeling the Vice President may be present and I wanted to give me a word of Hope. Satan wants to sideline and shackle us but God wants to liberate and utilize us. It was not guaranteed that he would be present, not certain if I could get in much less find a place to park but the Lord lead me to move forward by faith. When I got there I was one of the first one hundred in line that ultimately over a thousand people waited wrapped around a city block to pay their respects. As I entered the Delaware State Capitol and eventually ushered on to the Senate Floor standing next to the American Flag draped casket was the Vice President, his wife and Beau's bride now widow and family in tow. It was my honor to briefly talk to the Vice President and his extended family and share our deepest condolences and was one of many to loving remind them that God cares, He is present and the Lord loves their family. Please pray for their precious family like never before. However, if Satan had his way all week I would have never made the trip.
- an instance of turning something aside from its course:
Satan just a week before was trying to have me chase chaos and not be centered on Christ. He wanted me to be on injured reserve not in the game playing. He wanted me to focus inward and not outward and by focusing on the Man in the Middle I was able to minister others. I am so glad I didn't stay home in Maryland miss driving to Delaware because Christianity is not based on our emotion but His devotion to us. Plus when we are juggling diversion we often drop the ball on CONVERSION. Charles Spurgeon said, "Fact is brethren we have conversion work here. We can't go on as some churches do without converts. We cannot, we will not, must not, dare not. Souls must be converted here, and if there may not many born to Christ, may the Lord grant to me that I sleep in a tomb and be heard no more. Better to die than live if souls be not saved."
Let us not miss our moment being distracted by diversion. We cannot be ignorant of the Devil's devices and you cannot lose when you gaze at God, focus on the Father, stare at the Savior, center on Christ, look to the Lord and meditate on the Man in the Middle. Life is a fight and when we trust the Invisible we can do the Impossible and together become Invincible. Distraction is from the Devil but Purpose comes from the Prince of Peace. Let's stick with Him because He stuck on the cross for us but because He lives we can too! Diversion is from the Devil but Conversion is Christ's heartbeat.
- Frank Shelton, Jr