WEEK 47 | CONQUER DISTRACTION
Webster reminds us that a distraction is “a thing that keeps someone from giving full attention to something else.” There are many things that distract us from focusing on what is most important. For example:
- Distractions at Work — It is reported that 70% of workers feel distracted at work and it hurts their productivity. A study out of the University of California Irvine says it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back on task once distracted. Imagine the millions of dollars in lost output this costs companies. Not to mention how much each worker’s personal accomplishment is set back by distractions.
- Distractions while Driving — Nine people are killed and 1,000 injured daily in accidents in which at least one driver was distracted. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports three types of distracted driving:
- Manual distraction — When a driver takes their hands off the wheel to adjust the radio, reach for an item, pet their dog, etc.
- Visual distraction — When a driver takes their eyes off the road to look at an accident, glance at a text message, or look at their kids in the back seat.
- Cognitive distraction — When a driver takes their mind off the act of driving to daydream, think about a problem at work, or resolve an issue at home.
Distractions can also hurt us spiritually. We can be blown off course by everything from temptation, fear, failure or merely the busyness of our lives and lose track of God and His plans and purposes. We need to do what Joshua did, choose resolve over relativity.
Relativity is the “absence of standards or absolutes.” Conversely, resolve is living by a set of standards and absolutes, being “determined and decided” to anchor deep in what’s most important. Joshua lived with resolve. He was resolute about prioritizing God’s plans and purposes. He said in Joshua 24:14-15, “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the river and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the river; or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household we will serve the Lord.”
Notice Joshua’s 3-part resolve. If we want to choose to live by resolve over relativity, here’s how to follow Joshua’s example and do it:
- FEAR GOD
Joshua says to “throw away other gods” and follow the first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me.” There are many things and people we can put in front of God. Joshua said God needs to be #1. This scripture is really Joshua’s deathbed wish to the Israelites. He wanted them to stay true to God. He was concerned they may become distracted or get off track, so he implored them to fear God; to revere, adore and worship Him. This, he said, was the key to living by principle and priority. Follow Joshua’s example and be resolute about putting God first in your life.
- SERVE FAITHFULLY
The second part of Joshua’s 3-part resolve is to serve God faithfully. This is where we walk out our faith in obedience. We live to serve him by obeying Him. Distractions can lead to disobedience. Joshua tells us in Joshua 22:5 to, “Be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you; to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to obey His commands, to hold fast to Him and serve Him with all your heart and all your soul.” Notice the verbs above in bold. They connote anchor points, they tell us what it is important to resolve to do: to keep, love, walk, obey, hold fast, serve. Joshua also tells us in Joshua 23:6 to, “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left.” The key to being strong is to obey God – in all things.
- CHOOSE DAILY
The third part of Joshua’s 3-part resolve is to choose each day to live for God and to live to please the Lord. It actually says, “choose this day.” But I want to challenge us to choose “each” day. Choose every day whom we will serve. So I start each day with a fresh commitment to put God first, to serve Him, and to be a blessing to Him and to others. Each day I resolve to live my very best life for God. Each day I reaffirm, recommit, and rededicate my life and my all to Him. And get this, regular renewal does not mean we have lost our way; it means we are determined to keep our way. That’s important.
One of the great prayers to pray each day is, “Lord, help me live by resolve and not relativity. Help me live by principle and priority and not be unanchored and blown by every wind of distraction or despair or difficulty that comes my way.” Choose this day whom you will serve. And then be resolute to live with conviction and resolve.