Words of Worth

Having trouble FOCUS-ing?

January 3, 2014

UnknownDuring the holidays, I had the chance at a family gathering to use a “real” camera. Remember the kind you hold up to your eye and turn the lens to focus? As I was getting ready to take the picture, I heard myself say, “Hold on a second. Be still while I focus.”

Be still while I focus.

To focus, I had to be still, too.

A few months ago, I posted a blog outlining a new technique I was using to focus in the mornings during my quiet time with the Lord. I was also experimenting with the not so novel idea that stopping to focus throughout the day would be beneficial for me as well. You can read it here: http://www.wordsofworth.com/2013/09/29/warm-that-cup-for-you/

Based on the feedback received from that post and from some comments I heard after I presented the same topic at a conference in Pennsylvania AND because it’s the beginning of a new year, the next five weeks will be dedicated to the letters F – O – C – U – S.

There’s little doubt in anyone’s mind that as a society we are less focused and more distracted than ever before. But are we? Is distraction a side effect of all the technology we have access to today? It brings to mind an old story told of a bet placed between two monks. One of the monks challenged the other one to recite “The Lord’s Prayer” without becoming distracted. If he could complete this simple task without his thoughts straying, the payoff would be a new horse. The first monk took the bet and began to rehearse the long familiar words but after the first two sentences he stopped. Looking at his friend, he said, “You win – even as I was praying, I began to wonder if the horse came with a saddle.”

As the writer from Ecclesiastes says, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” We are human and prone to being distracted and that’s why the first step in FOCUS is Forsake all distractions.

The word distraction in the Bible is an interesting visual term. It means to be driven about mentally, to be drawn away, to be over occupied. Can you relate to any of those concepts? Of course the most famous example of distraction from Scripture is Jesus’ friend Martha. (Luke 10:38-42) But Martha wasn’t the first one to be drawn away or over occupied. What about David who prayed, “Give me an undivided heart?” (Psalm 86:11) Even further back, consider Eve who was distracted by the sound of the serpent’s voice right there in the garden of Eden! (Genesis 3)

But distractions today are different! Are they? Martha was distracted by work. David by his thoughts and what he saw. Eve was pulled away by voice suggesting a different way to live other than God’s. Do we struggle with any of these distractions in 2014? I think we do.

Take a look around – how many distractions do you have within arm’s length right now? It takes a wise and understanding heart to identify your personal distraction nemesis and then take action to eliminate it when you need to be FOCUSED on the things of the Lord.

Be still while I focus.

Be still and focus.

For further thought: Take the time to list your distractions. What exactly draws your mind and heart away from Him? Why is this so dangerous? Can you find a verse or two to support this thought. Hint: Start with Genesis 4:7.

Read I Corinthians 3:16. What does this verse say we are? Now line up the things that distract you with the idea of being the very temple of God. Got any temple maintenance or cleaning to do?

Finally, try reading Psalm 27 every day for a week. Jot down your thoughts and ideas about how you will start this year more focused. (CT)

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