DEAL WITH DISTRACTIONS

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

MAY 01, 2024

TOPIC: DEAL WITH DISTRACTIONS

BY T. O. BANSO

“Keep your eyes focused on what is right, and look straight ahead to what is good. Be careful what you do, and always do what is right. Don’t turn off the road of goodness; keep away from evil paths” (Proverbs 4:25-27 New Century Version).

One of the things that prevent people from achieving their goals in life is distraction. No matter how brilliant, talented, resourceful, hardworking, prayerful, or anointed one is, if he is easily distracted, he will not realize his goals. Many people started very well and invested time, and other resources in what they were doing but along the line were distracted and derailed.

Initial successes or failures can cause distractions. Peer pressure can cause distractions. People can also be distracted by what others are doing or what is in vogue. Comfort can distract as much as troubles can. Praise can distract, and so also can criticism. Whatever you do, don’t let anything distract you.

Have you gone online to check something while you were doing something, and before you know it, you ended up spending substantial time reading one thing or the other or watching one video or the other useless to you and completely irrelevant to what you wanted to check online? You were distracted from what you were doing; thus, you couldn’t achieve your goal or reach your target.

Nothing distracts many people today as much as technology. Many students are not doing well in their academic work because of cell phone addiction and addictive social media use. Cell phone ringing causes serious external distractions. Many students do not use their laptops with internet connection for serious academic work. How can a student concentrate on his studies in front of the television or be reading while the music is on? Technology should be a blessing, not a curse. But lack of self-control makes it a curse.

Digital distraction is not limited to the academic community; it is also in the church. People are distracted by the ringing of cell phones in church. Some worshippers are busy browsing while the message is on. Others are chatting on the phone during Bible study instead of taking notes. Also, some are busy checking their social media accounts while the rest are praying. The interest of some people is in taking selfies while the service is on, including during the worship. Many leave the church service unable to remember the pastors’ sermons or messages because they are more interested in pleasure.

Concentration is needed to achieve any target in life. You must be focused to realize your goals. Distractions will hinder you or slow you down. You must deal with distractions at home, and in school, church, and the workplace. Otherwise, you will waste your time and other resources, and be unable to achieve your goals.

Both adults and children are guilty of abuse of technology. However, parents must monitor their children so that it will not cause serious distractions for them in life. They should not buy cell phones for their children until they reach a certain age and should supervise how they use them to avoid addiction and the consequences.

People should focus on their goals, studies, business, ministry, etc., and not be distracted. Some people have been distracted and abandoned what they were doing. Some abandoned their studies and careers. Some even abandoned their marriages. They listened to some enticing stories from their friends and were distracted. Many of them are regretting it today while those who follow in their footsteps will regret it later. Beware of “the grass is greener syndrome.” Stay in your lane. Endure the present suffering; face the challenges. Don’t be distracted to go and do what is not God’s will for you.

Jesus came to the home of Martha, but she was distracted, not by doing anything evil, but by doing the right thing at the wrong time. Luke 10:40 says, “But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me’” (New King James Version). Instead of sitting down to listen to Jesus as her sister, Mary, did, she was busy cooking in the kitchen, obviously for Jesus. The word “distracted” means “having one’s thoughts or attention drawn away: unable to concentrate or give attention to something” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Don’t let your thoughts or attention be drawn away from the realization of your goals or what you have focused on doing. Deal with whatever will not allow you to concentrate or give attention to your life, home, studies, career, business, marriage, ministry, etc.

What was Jesus’ reaction to what Martha said? “But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her’” (Luke 10:41-42 New Revised Standard Version). Note again the word “distracted.”

What is good may not be right at a particular time. It may constitute a distraction if you go for it. Yet, it may be right for others. There is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Do the right thing at the right time. Avoid distractions.

Proverbs 4:25-27 says, Keep your eyes focused on what is right, and look straight ahead to what is good. Be careful what you do, and always do what is right. Don’t turn off the road of goodness; keep away from evil paths” (New Century Version).  

In the Christian race, don’t be distracted. Focus on Jesus. Hebrews 12:2a says, “We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith” (GOD’S WORD Translation). Don’t be distracted by past successes or failures. Put them behind you; run towards the goal. Paul said, 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, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14 New King James Version).

Don’t let anything distract you from serving the Lord. Marriage is good but like any other good thing, it can be a distraction. Paul expressed his personal opinion that it was good for the unmarried and widows to remain unmarried as he was. But he didn’t stop them from marrying (1 Corinthians 7:8-9). He said an unmarried man or woman was concerned about the Lord’s affairs — how he could please the Lord – but a married man or woman was concerned about the affairs of this world — how she could please her husband. “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). Note the phrase “serve the Lord without distraction.”

Be well-focused; don’t be distracted. Separate from any relationship that distracts you. “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20 New King James Version). Put your phone away, put it in silent mode, or switch it off (except if you are using it for business) until you are done with what you are doing. Differentiate between the calls to pick up and the ones to return later. Don’t be distracted by message notifications and leave what you are doing to be reading and replying to all messages. Not all messages must be read and replied to immediately. Move away from or keep from you any other device or item that easily distracts you. Switch off the television and radio or get away from where they are to do what is your priority.

Help your children also or those under you to cultivate this discipline to overcome distractions, which everyone faces and must overcome to be successful. Encourage them to minimize their social media use to face their studies. If your children are of the age that you need to withdraw from them gadgets that distract their attention, do so, and only release them to them for a stipulated period. At home and in school, they should study where they will not be distracted and get rid of whatever can distract them.

Pray against the power of negative addictions. Bind all distractions, especially regarding listening to the Word of God, studying the Bible, and praying. Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Focus on your priorities, goals, or assignments.

TAKE ACTION

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 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 God raised Him on 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 a palm tree and grow like a 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, help me to be well-focused and not distracted from pursuing my goal or doing what I am doing. Holy Spirit, deliver me from negative addictions. I shall not be distracted as I run the Christian race.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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