Distracted Disciples: The Key to Staying Focused on God
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. — Hebrews 12:1-4, NLT
Where we fix our eyes matters.
Drivers need to keep their eyes on the road. Disciples are instructed to keep our eyes on Jesus.
Benefits of Focused Attention
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, — Hebrews 12:1-2, NLT
A laser is just concentrated, focused light. The light in your kitchen doesn’t slice your table in half when you turn it on, but a laser will. Why? It’s concentrated. Focus creates power.
… let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.
Things that weigh us down and trip us up aren’t always sin. They’re just not God’s best.
There’s meant to be a lightness to the Christian walk – like a dancer is light on his feet. If you’re feeling weighed down, ask yourself where your eyes are fixed.
And let us run with endurance …
Biblical “endurance” is more that survival. It means to, “not swerve from our deliberate purpose.”
Believers are meant to fix our eyes on the rock of our salvation, which does not move or change. Too many Christians give up too early.
… the race that God has set before us.
God has set a race before you. Too many believers want to be running someone else’s race, but it’s a distraction. If we set our eyes on Jesus, he will direct us.
4 Distractions that Cause Disciples to Lose Focus
There are any number of distractions that the enemy and the world will throw at a believer, to take your eyes off of Jesus. But there are four big ones that almost every Christian will have to resist.
It is so tempting to take your eyes off Jesus and look at other people. Comparison will cloud Go’s call on your life.
We never need to consider if we’re becoming more like our friends, mentors, pastors, etc. They are not the measuring stick for our lives. Jesus is our measuring stick. Ask, instead, if you are becoming more like Jesus.
This made Saul angry—very angry. He took it as a personal insult. He said, “They credit David with ‘ten thousands’ and me with only ‘thousands.’ Before you know it they’ll be giving him the kingdom!” From that moment on, Saul kept his eye on David. — 1 Samuel 18:9, MSG
… but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. — Mark 4:19, ESV
The day to day responsibilities are one of the biggest distractions. We need to take care of our jobs and families, etc., but we are not to be consumed by them. If we don’t have time for the word and prayer because of our daily responsibilities, we are too distracted by the cares of the world.
“The weakness of so many modern Christians is that they feel too much at home in the world.” – AW Tozer
We want to make a name for ourselves. We’re the disciples asking to be the greatest in the kingdom, or to sit on Jesus’ right hand. Especially in our society where almost anyone can become a social media celebrity, the temptation is so distracting.
We want to be known, but the truth is, the God who spoke the universe into existence knows your name. You don’t need any more celebrity than that.
But when we saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” — Matthew 14:30, NIV
The storm pulled Peter’s gaze away from Jesus, and the crises of our lives does the same. We look around at the storms and all we see are the wind and the waves.
When Paul found himself in prison, he began to praise. Because it shifted his focus off the chains and the rats and everything that would have caused him to get depressed and discouraged.
There will always be another storm, but you will also always have Jesus.
How to Stay Focused on Jesus
Circumstances + Perspective = Experience
The only one of those things you have control over – and complete control over – is “perspective.” You cannot control the circumstances, but you have 100% control over where you fix your eyes.
Your perspective can interpret your circumstances, or your circumstances can determine my perspective.
Photo cred: Christian Fregnan