Friday, August 10, 2007

Don't Be Distracted

It is so easy to become distracted from what is really important. I am constantly reminded of this reality. It is seen in the number of bloggers who promote themselves as Christians, yet write entirely about politics. I understand how easy it is to be distracted by politics, I have been there and done that, but the bottom line is that disciples are not made through politics and Christians are not encouraged by politics.

It is also seen in a romantic relationship when “physical” activities come to play such a big part in the relationship and talking, dreaming, and getting to know each other takes a back seat. Relationships aren’t built on kissing or other physical stuff, but on things like a shared religious views, common commitments, and other things that can only be discovered through talking with each other and serving one another. To allow yourself to be distracted by the physical stunts the growth of the relationship.

I have also seen how a parent’s distraction harms the raising of children. How can a child grow up healthy and know he/she is loved if their dad spends more time at work than at home. How can they ever know what it is like to truly be a man, to live a Christian life, or to love a woman if they never see it modeled by their dad? Or how about the mom who is more interested in making her children her friends than raising them to be responsible and mature adults? She gives in and never disciplines and her children grow up believing that life is all about them.

Ministers can be distracted with trying to get big numbers and pull off fancy programs and forget that the purpose of the Church is to make disciples. To call the lost to Jesus, and to continue to encourage and train up believers so that they will be mature in their faith. Being distracted by other things other than our main purpose results in Christians who are a mile wide and an inch deep. They may look good on the outside, but inside there is nothing.

How are you being distracted from what is important? I know you are, because if it is important than Satan is going to be opposed to it. Remember he is the thief out to steal, kill, and destroy your life. Distractions are the tools Satan uses to gradually steal away the life God wants you to live. What are the distractions Satan uses to get you to lose focus?

Even more important than identifying the distractions is to know how to deal with them. How can we avoid being distracted and remain focused on what God has called us to do?

First, we have to be in God’s word. The Bible is the main way God speaks to us. The Holy Spirit uses Scripture to remind us what is important. Hebrews 4:12 reminds us of the power of God’s word:
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow, as it judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart. (ISV)

God’s word will help us judge what is important and what is not. It will help us determine where we need to focus our attention and energy. I promise you without being in the word on a regular daily basis you will be distracted from the best things in life to things of lesser value.

Prayer is another essential discipline needed in keeping our focus. One of the functions of prayer is to take attention off ourselves and put it on God. Prayer is how we seek out God’s will and that is one of the main lessons we learn from Jesus’ teaching on prayer.
9 “Therefore, this is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. 10 May your kingdom come. May your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. 13 And never bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ (Matthew 6:9-13; ISV)

In verse 10 we see that Jesus wants us to change our priorities. It isn’t about my will or what I think is important, but it is about doing God’s will. Prayer should help us refocus our lives on God’s will.

The last discipline I think is essential in maintaining our focus is assembling with other believers. It is sad to see how we have made “church” so much a spectator activity rather than a fellowship designed to encourage and grow each other. We need to be part of a fellowship where we can be encouraged and where the members are committed to the spiritual growth of each other. The writer of Hebrews wrote:
23 Let us continue to hold firmly to the hope that we confess without wavering, for the one who made the promise is faithful. 24 And let us continue to consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another even more as you see the day coming nearer. (Hebrews 10:23-25; ISV)

The encouragement, instruction, and love we receive from fellow believers will help us maintain the focus we need to have on what is important. They will lead us through dark times and challenge us to hang on when circumstances are hard. Having these type of friends will give us a constant source of accountability in our lives.

We are going to be distracted. That is a reality of life because Satan wants us distracted from what is important. If we are not disciplined then we will not be able to push through the fog of distraction to become mature and complete. Let’s maintain our focus and become the people God created us to be.

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