I am easily distracted. The busier I am or the more pressing a task is becoming, the more likely I am to be distracted by something else. I can find hundreds of things to do instead of writing this blog post when it comes down to needing to do it. But if I had a paper or other homework due on Monday, and the blog post isn’t due to Joyce until Thursday, I’d be likely to work on the blog post. It’s happened before several times. My office is turned upside down right now, because I decided to spend time yesterday trying to figure out why one phone line doesn’t work in my office while the other one does. Of course, I’m incredibly busy right now. The mission trip is less than three weeks away, I won’t be in the office next week, because Sarah’s having a baby, and I’m trying to get stuff done in advance for children’s and youth as a result. But I spent at least an hour trying to figure out something that really doesn’t matter. Why? Probably because it was less stressful and not as difficult as staying on track.
Distractions occur in all areas of life, including in our spiritual life. Partially because it is easier to focus on things of little cost to us – the sins of other people, little projects we can do for God, good things we have done – than it is to focus on Jesus and what changes He wants us to make. That’s a hard thing to do. The Bible says it’s hard to do, because when we come close to and focus on Jesus, it’ll shine His light into our lives, and we’ll become aware of what needs to change. But it’s still something we have to do.
A couple of weeks ago, I talked about laying aside our weights and sins in an effort to run well. The next verse (Hebrews 12:2) tells us how we do that: “…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” We look at Him, see what He was able to give up in pursuing us, so that we are more able to give things up to pursue Him. We have to keep on track with this. When we look away and begin to focus on peripheral things, it’s easy to stumble and fall away from the task. But if we keep on track, we will be able to stay on the path towards holy living and spare ourselves from falling away into sin and foolishness.