I did it again this morning. I let distraction come before time with the Lord. The buzzing and chiming of the distractions calls to me like the ring to Gollum. My Precious, and my eyes widen and focus on that which is not worthy of that kind of focus or attention.
Meanwhile my bible remains closed and the Spirit remains quiet.
Thankfully I quickly realized the path I was chasing and pressed the phone closed. How easily we let the distractions of this world crowd out the truth of the word in our mind and time in His presence. We even let it crowd out right actions because we chase rabbits into holes we were never meant to be in.
How can I know His direction for my day or His leading for my thoughts if I am distracted by everything else?
Hebrews 12 gives us the picture of a focused runner running the race before him, laying aside what hinders and fixing their eyes on Jesus. The original wording is the dramatic picture of burning into the eyes not just fixing the eyes, as if looking at the sun and not being able then to unsee it. That is focus. Oh how I want to be so focused on Jesus, on His word, on His truth that I cannot unsee it regardless where I turn. Then when distractions come knocking it becomes easy to keep running the race before me because I cannot unsee the sunspot in my eyes.
The author of Hebrews gives us some practical steps in the opening verses of chapter 12 to call us to this undistracted faith.
- Lay aside the hindering weight and entangling sin. We are to begin my making the choice to lay aside what is distracting us. Put the phone in another room when we are seeking to spend time with the Lord. Choose to lay that aside first thing in the morning and pick up God’s word first. Word before world. How can His word be burning into us if we never read it and spend time in it?
- Run with endurance. As good runner does not wake up the morning of the race, strap on sneakers and run to win the race. It takes endurance and a doing and practicing of it over and over, when its raining, when it’s hot, when it’s cold. It is a choice to press in again and again. How can we find direction for each day if we are not seeking Him in His word again today?
- Looking to Jesus. He is our ultimate example of godliness and perseverance. He came with a focused goal in mind, the redemption of humanity. He pressed on when He felt like it and when He didn’t. He left very obvious footprints through the gospels for you and I to step into and thus walk similarly through our days, mimicking His attitude, thoughts and character by the power of His Spirit within us. How can we look to Him if we are never actually looking to Him?
How much more focused and less distracted could our minds be if we made these choices for ourselves for today? Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, piggybacks this thought with this challenge, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body…”
It requires self-control and discipline to make the choice to run towards Jesus rather than running towards the distractions. The prize of His presence, peace and clarity is worth the race.