WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
DECEMBER 30, 2021
TOPIC: AVOID DISTRACTIONS IN THE NEW YEAR
BY T. O. BANSO
“But Jesus told him, ‘Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not fit for the Kingdom of God’” (Luke 9:62 The Living Bible).
Some people, especially children, have a short attention span. This could be because they have Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a disorder that often begins in childhood and can continue into adulthood. Both children and adults are affected. It is characterized by attention difficulty, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. But ADHD is not the only reason some persons get easily distracted. This is not the focus of this message per se.
One of the decisions you must make as you prepare to enter the New Year is not to be distracted from your goals. Some people are easily distracted. They set goals and develop strategies to achieve them but they lack the discipline to concentrate and follow through.
When you see their energy and seriousness whenever they start a new project, just wait for some time and see what becomes of the project. It won’t take a long time before you see that they have abandoned the project. They have shifted to something else. Distractions!
Whether your goal is spiritual or physical, you need to be rightly focused to achieve it. No matter how anointed, gifted, talented, brilliant, or hard-working you are, if you’re easily distracted, you will not accomplish your goals. Without focus, you cannot start and complete any project whether it is academic, business, or ministry. Maybe you know some people who are guilty of this and you can point to different abandoned projects in their lives
However, I hope and pray you’re not guilty of this too. If you are, be true to yourself and decide that in 2022, you will no more be distracted. You won’t be distracted by what other people are doing and abandon yours because they seem to be making more progress than you or because you are facing some challenges. But there is no progress or success without challenges. Even those you think are making steady progress are not without their own challenges.
Everybody has challenges but you must never allow anyone’s progress to distract you. Neither must you be distracted by alternative goals or projects that appear easier or more attractive. Many people have been distracted by what they considered greener pastures but they regretted it later. They were disappointed.
You need to be well-focused in the pursuit of your goals. The apostle Paul says, “No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13 New Living Translation). Please take note of the phrase “but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing.”
Focus all your energies on your goals. Don’t be distracted. The New King James Version renders the scripture thus: “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Philippians 3:13).
Paul had only one focus: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. He said in verse 12 that he kept working toward that day when he would finally be all that Christ Jesus saved him for and wanted him to be. He wasn’t distracted from it.
Don’t be distracted from the goals you have set for the year. Beware of divided attention. Focus on your goals, not others’ goals. “Whoever chases after two rats will catch neither” (A Yoruba adage). In other words, whoever pursues two or more objectives at the same time may not achieve any. Come rain or shine, focus on your goals. Like Paul, focus your energies on your goals. There will be distractions along the line but you must remain unflinching. Take your eyes away from distractions and everything harmful to your goals. Many of them will not necessarily be evil or sinful but you must forsake them. Don’t let go of your goals!
Speaking about the warning that chains and tribulations awaited him in Jerusalem, Paul said, “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24 New King James Version). There are things that you must not allow to move you from the realization of your goals. Focus on your goals; leave others to focus on theirs. Let nobody’s goals, progress, or success distract you.
Get rid of distractions. These include some people who will distract you from your goals if you continue to relate with them. You must get rid of them without hatred. “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20 New King James Version). 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’” (New King James Version).
Also, your comfort zone can be a distraction. That was the case with the rich young ruler. He wasn’t ready to part with his wealth which had become his idol (Matthew 19:16-22). His wealth distracted him from the pursuit of eternal life. Commenting on the incident, Jesus told his disciples, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (verse 24 New King James Version).
Demas was distracted by the love of the world. Paul wrote, “Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica” (2 Timothy 4:10 New King James Version). He forsook Paul, quit the mission field, and, most probably, also forsook Jesus entirely thereby becoming an ex-Christian.
Your family can even be a distraction. In 1 Corinthians 7, when Paul was pointing out the advantage of staying unmarried, he explained his reason for saying this thus: “And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction” (1 Corinthians 7:35 New King James Version). Don’t let your marriage or family distract you from divine purpose. You must deal with every distraction that serves as an obstacle to the pursuit of divine purpose. Jesus says no one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62).
Avoid distractions – internal and external, spiritual and physical. Cast down imaginations and bind thoughts the devil is bringing to attack your focus, including a focus on hearing the voice of God. There are several distractions the devil will bring as soon as you want to settle down to pray, study your Bible, or hear the voice of God. Come against them in the name of Jesus. Don’t succumb to distractions.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled” (New King James Version).
Pursue your goals in 2022 without yielding to any distraction. And I say this with the belief that you have set the right goals with the help of the Holy Spirit. Depend on the Holy Spirit to fulfil them. You’ll accomplish them if you refuse to be distracted.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I thank You that you have brought me thus far this year. Thank You for all that you have enabled me to achieve in 2021. I receive the grace to discipline myself to focus on my goals in 2022 and not be distracted. In the name of Jesus, I shall not be distracted. I shall pursue and achieve my goals. No project ordained by God in my life in 2022 shall be abandoned in Jesus’ name. I receive the grace to start and finish.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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