This article first appeared on Belydia.org, an non-proft that focuses on using hospitality to help end child sex-trafficking. Find it here.
We live in a world full of distractions. We have phones with constant beeps and buzzes, updating us with our latest notifications. We even have smart watches to alert us if we miss the phone message! There are countless numbers of streaming services serving up movies, shows, documentaries–anything– all at the push of a button. If we choose, we can live our lives in a constant stream of noises and images.
Besides the media, distractions often take other forms. Pandemics, civil unrest, racial tension, politics–I could go on and on. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of social issues that are looking for a champion, that are calling out for your attention and for mine.
And while there is nothing wrong with being involved in social issues–nor is there anything wrong with enjoying a movie night–there is a problem when any or all of these things take the place of God in our lives.
Perhaps one of Satan’s most effective attacks is when he keeps us distracted.
Let’s think about that for a second. If we’re distracted, we often forget to pray, therefore neglecting to tap into the power of God that helps us and strengthens us.
If we’re distracted, we skip over our Bible study time. When this happens we fail to fill our hearts with God’s truth, and we leave room for the lies of this world.
If we’re distracted, we may miss the voice of God whispering to us to help our neighbor, serve in our church, or avoid a certain dangerous path.
In short, when we’re distracted, we’re vulnerable. And let’s not forget what our enemy is up to. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion waiting for someone to devour” (NIV).
Thankfully, we are not left to our own devices! I mean, Netflix alone is like a bottomless pit of binge-worthy shows that could steal your whole day. Our human flesh is weak, but the Bible gives us wisdom to combat the distractions that Satan could use to make us vulnerable.
We have a way to “run the race” of life without being hindered by distractions. Hebrews 12: 1b-2a tells us how. “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” (NLT, emphasis added).
When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we aren’t so easily distracted by the things of this world. Jesus should be our focus, not social media, not the news, not Netflix.
If you’re like me, you’re thinking, “This sounds great. I’ll just focus on Jesus. Wait, how do I do that all day long?”
Realistically, we can’t sit and meditate, staring at a picture of Jesus all day. Life is busy, but God knows that. There are things we can do to keep our focus on Jesus.
- Play worship music throughout the day. Praise and worship music focuses our attention on the excellent character of our God. It opens our eyes to our blessings and plants gratitude in our hearts. If we’re worshipping God, it is impossible to worry, to fear, to be angry, or to be distracted.
- Start the day off in the Bible. When we start off the day by filling our hearts with the words of God, we set a positive tone for the day. We can even ask God to give us a word that will help us handle the day set before us. It’s like meeting with the boss for a planning session before embarking on the next big project. It gives us the direction we need for the day, so we can be free of distractions.
- Use your devices to help you refocus. Let’s use those phones and smart watches to help us focus on Jesus! Set an alarm for whatever time you like. Use it as a reminder to pray. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy prayer. Just use the reminder to refocus and check in with God. Ask for help if we’re struggling. Thank him if something amazing happened.
Proverbs 4:25-26 tells us to, “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways” (NIV). When we look straight ahead at Jesus, we will see the path he has for us. We will not be pulled from side to side by the distractions of this world, and we will not be easy prey for an enemy who waits for us to lose our focus