I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.1 Corinthians 7:35 NLT
The image above is of a recent Tumbler notification I received on my phone. As soon as I read the heading, “Need distraction?…“, I was reminded of how captivating social media can be. The statement that follows “Here’s what’s trending“, reveals one of the many sources of its luring power.
Without a doubt, we live in a world full of attractions. Although nature is a significant contributor, technology is arguably the biggest distraction in modern society. Attractions evoke interest, pleasure, relaxation, and sometimes relief. But, we also live in a world with countless distractions. Like attractions, distractions draw attention and offer some sense of satisfaction. However, they accomplish this by causing us to lose focus. Sometimes, the very things that are attractive can cause us to be distracted. And, while some distractions can be harmless, others can be detrimental to our physical and even spiritual well-being.
Distraction is at the root of many of our physical and spiritual struggles. Not staying focused and committed to the things that benefit us is the number one cause of disappointments, frustrations, and regrets.
According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), 80 percent of all car crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involve some form of driver distraction. The three major causes of motorist distraction are:
- Using a cellphone (texting/searching)
- Looking at something outside the vehicle (sceneries)
- Eating, drinking, or smoking
There are also many kinds of spiritual distractions that can take us on different wrong paths and far away from God. According to an article in Christianity today, these are the three major causes of spiritual distraction:
- Entertainment (Any form of media)
- School and Work
- Compromising gatherings
But, let’s be honest. Cell phones have become part of most of our lives. They can definitely be a distraction while driving, but they can also make life easier. For one, they are far safer for obtaining and following directions than looking at a giant paper map covering half the steering wheel and the entire rearview mirror. And, who hasn’t glanced at some eye-catching sky, sea, or landmark or grabbed a quick bite to munch on while on the road? This is especially true if you are from the Northeast and are late for work, school, or church!
And since we are being honest here, I think it’s safe to say that even the most disciplined disciples have let their guards down, at some point, and taken their eyes off Jesus while walking towards him on the turbulent seas of life. Anyone can easily get absorbed by social media, hobbies, and the daily cares of life and begin to sink into spiritual weakness, undue stress, and even apathy.
While it is inevitable to become distracted in life, it is most important that we remember to stay focused not only on the road while driving, on our school work, and our jobs, but most importantly on God and His ways.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,Hebrews 12:2
They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul. While that statement may not be found in the Holy Scriptures, there are a few verses that allude to this truth.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!Matthew 6:22-23
I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it.Psalms 101:3
By keeping ourselves mindful of God’s presence in our daily lives and willingly desiring to please Him in everything we do we can greatly minimize the distractions that can easily cause us to get off track.
Again, we may never be able to escape distractions altogether, but we can be intentional about staying focused on what matters the most. There is a slew of advice on the internet on how to avoid distractions and stay focused in any given situation. Here are a few which I have personally determined to practice:
- Put God first in EVERYTHING you do
- Pray intentionally and not religiously
- DO NOT forsake spiritual fellowship
- Shut off your phone and other electronics
- Get organized with a to-do list
- Break big projects into small pieces
- Find the best environment for efficient studying
- Clean up and organize your workspace
- Avoid Multitasking
- Get enough sleep and eat healthily
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.Isaiah 26:3 ESV