In the story of Enoch we see how he addressed the challenge of the attractions of the world—and the role they play in keeping us from walking closely with God.
“When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away” (Gen. 5:21-24).1
Enoch’s life realities: (1) family obligations [father and husband]; evil environment.
Enoch’s spiritual strategy: “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Heb. 11:5, 6).
A Jewish tradition—Mezuzah: On the right side of doorpost of every Jewish home is nailed a small piece of parchment rolled and inserted into a wood, metal, stone, or ceramic case called a mezuzah. On the front of the parchment are lettered the twenty-two lines of the Shema—the Hebrew prayer from the Torah about God being the only God and that they will worship God with all their heart, mind, soul, and body. The Hebrew word Shaddai (God Almighty) is inscribed on the back in such a way that it can be seen from the outside. As people go in and out the door, they touch the mezuzah, sometimes then touching their lips in a “kiss,” as a visible reminder of what they want to focus their lives on.
This mezuzah was a ritual code that said to everyone entering and leaving that home, “As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord.” This touching of the mezuzah and saying this prayer were regular reminders of who they belonged to and what place they wanted God to occupy in their lives.
Questions to Help You Evaluate Your Spiritual Focus
- What are the greatest distractions in your life that keep you from focusing on God?
- What occupies your attention the most?
- What are those issues or things that steal your heart away from the most important?
- What are the urgent things that you pay more attention to than the significant?
- What might be some ways you could “mezuzah” your world—build reminders into your life that keep you focused on your spiritual existence, on God?
- How might you use your meaningful relationships to be a spiritual discipline, a way of remembering God?
- How might you structure time into your schedule to pay attention to God (in both your daily schedule and long-term calendar)?2