Distraction is one of the enemy’s greatest tools to derail Christians from pursuing their God- given mission in life. More than any other attack, distraction is the most effective and formidable weapon that the devil has in his arsenal. How can you stay focused when distraction comes your way? Here are some things to watch for and some great ideas to help beat distraction.
How many times have you settled down to pray or read the Bible, and the second you get started something happens to interrupt you? It happens all the time, and it isn’t an accident. Once you realize there is a malevolent force behind these seemingly random distractions, you can take control of them and stay focused.
The telephone and cellphone
Almost everyone has a cellphone these days, and few can go more than a few minutes without checking to see if someone has sent them a text or updated their Twitter or Facebook status. Think about your own use of these devices; do you turn them off when you go to read your Bible or pray? If not, you can be sure they will interrupt you with some “urgent” status update or sudden “crisis”.
Even your landline phone can be a big distraction, allowing telemarketers to call and disturb your prayer time and friends and family can suddenly get the urge to call and chat. Turn off your cell phone and turn off the ringer on your landline. Your prayer time and Bible study will be much more peaceful.
Too much to do
We rush around at a frenetic pace trying to get too many things done in too little time. Squeezing in time to pray or study the Bible seems impossible. You may feel guilty about taking the time out of your busy day, but you will be doing yourself a huge favour if you will allow yourself the spiritual food that is gained by reading the Word and praying.
Carve out a particular time each day dedicated to prayer and reading the Bible. Many find that they are most alert and able to pray and study just after waking, while others find their quiet time is just before they retire to sleep. You might use your commute to seek God, or a few stolen moments hiding in the bathroom may be all you can spare. The point is to do it daily, and faithfully until it becomes a habit.
Not everyone is blessed with a believing spouse or supportive family members. Sometimes your family can be your biggest obstacle to maintaining your focus. They may make it difficult to go to church, criticize your beliefs, and manufacture a crisis when you have plans to pray or go to fellowship.
Your patient, but firm perseverance in prayer and Bible study may eventually win them over. Don’t take the bait when they try to start an argument, but patiently and lovingly ask them to respect your beliefs as you respect theirs. When your family opposes your faith it can be very discouraging, but never forget that you may be the only glimpse of Christ they will ever see, so try to reflect Christ in all you do.
We all need and long for amusements and pleasures to help us forget our busy, stressful lives. God wants us to be happy and enjoy the good things in life, but we must be wary of allowing the things that we enjoy to take up too much of our time or become an obsession. How much time do you spend each day on pleasurable pursuits?
Balance is a difficult thing for many of us when it comes to fun. One person may feel guilty if they allow themselves any pleasure, where another may find that the activity that is supposed to bring them pleasure has become something of an addiction or obsession. One lady would never allow herself to play golf because she ‘enjoyed it too much’, while a man became so obsessed with a video game that he lost his job.
Strive for balance in your life. Allow yourself some time each day to do something pleasurable, but do not allow it to swallow up hours and hours of your time. Anything that causes you to become so obsessive will interfere with your godly mission, and you would be wise to take a break from it until it no longer has that kind of control over you.
As soon as you get quiet before God, suddenly troubling thoughts rise up. There are bills that need paying, the car isn’t running right, and troubles at work suddenly fill your mind.
It is no accident that your thoughts are suddenly filled with worries. The enemy knows that worry is a kind of faithlessness. He wants to sidetrack you with the sin of believing things are too big for God to take care of. Whenever you find thoughts like these flooding into your head when you are trying to seek God, you know it is an attack of the enemy.
Give all worrisome thoughts over to God as soon as they enter your head, He can take care of them for you. Say “I give this worry over to you Lord,” and name it if you are able to say it out loud, then do not let the worry come back.
The Apostle Paul knew how hard it is to stay focused on the mission God has for us, so he advised Timothy, “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:4).
As a good soldier of God, you must also be careful of allowing the entanglements of life to derail your mission because ultimately the greatest goal in life is to please God.