Lord, Deliver Me from Distractions (Colossians 3:1-2)
Colossians 3:1-2, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
In the summer of 1996, several thoroughbred racehorses in Kentucky developed foul nasal odors and bloody noses followed by infections in their nostrils. When veterinarians examined the horses, to their shock they found small egg-shaped sponges deep in the horses' nasal passages. Where did the sponges come from? Authorities determined that someone wanting to fix races had tampered with the horses, inserting the sponges to interfere with the horses' breathing, cut down their oxygen intake, and slow them down. Ten instances of such "sponging" were reported within a nine-month period, and the FBI was called in to investigate. Like sponges in a thoroughbred's nostrils, sins and distractions weaken a Christian. They distract us and take away from what God wants us to be and do. Distractions take our eyes off those things that really matter. We have no idea what hangs in the balance of our preparedness to focus through the distractions and serve the Lord. Remember…in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Since the fall of man, people have had trouble staying focused. The world we live in today is in an age of unprecedented distraction. Since you’re already reading this on some electronic device, I don’t need to elaborate. There will always be distractions and opportunities to turn away from what we are supposed to be doing. One of the devil’s most effective tactics is not to get us to sin outright. Instead, he gets us to turn aside from what is truly important and focus on things of little importance. If we are not careful, we can find that we have succeeded to stay busy without getting anything accomplished. Jesus never lost sight of the pivotal purpose for which He came into the world. Every day of His life was spent on things that truly counted. This is the pattern that we should be following day by day. Focus leads to success. When we stay focused on what is important, we can accomplish great things for God.
Penny-pinching Jack Benny was walking along when suddenly an armed robber approached and said, "Your money or your life!" There was a long pause as Benny did nothing. The robber impatiently cried, "Well?" Jack Benny replied, "Don't rush me! I'm thinking about it." What we set our minds on determines our seeking and thus the direction of our Christian lives (Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34). We must have a heavenly mindset for earthly action. Paul is saying, “Take a good look at heaven’s perspective on every issue, so you will know how to live on earth.” We need a kingdom mentality if we expect to receive heavenly benefits.
Where we focus our minds and hearts today counts forever. The very essence of what we believe to be true about the world hangs on where we direct our attention. One of the important and practical issues in the Christian life is where and how we set our minds. Regardless of how hard it may seem, you really can control your thoughts. To put it in terms of Colossians 3:2, we set our minds either on “things that are above” or “things that are on earth.” Setting our minds does not mean we only ever think of God and heaven, but it does mean that as we engage in our earthly callings such as our family, at work, in the world — we don’t mentally turn our backs on Him. All of us set our minds on something and you will set it somewhere — or if you leave it alone, it will go somewhere.
The word "affection" means mind; to set and focus your mind constantly upon heavenly things, not upon earthly things. The things of Christ and of heaven are to consume the believer's life and mind. Our greatest affections and priorities should center on things that will last forever. Our greatest attempts should be to store up “treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-20). We must value, judge and consider everything from an eternal and heavenly perspective. Our goals and pursuits should be to seek spiritual things (Colossians 3:1-4), resist sin (Colossians 3:5-11), and develop Christ’s character (Colossians 3:12-17).
Questions to Consider:
What is distracting you from being focused on the Lord?
If there was one change you made to your daily routine or thought life that could help your eyes stay fixed on Jesus, what would it be?
Points to Ponder:
Don’t let good things keep you from the best things God has for you.
When you are tempted to give up, remind yourself that your labour is not in vain in the LORD.
Prayer: Father, I confess I’ve allowed myself to be distracted and I don’t want to be anymore. Please forgive me, give me a clear sense of Your calling on my life. Help me to stay focused and attentive on serving You. Give me the strength and self-control I need to fix my eyes on You so that I can learn what You want me to learn and be who You want me to be. You are worthy of my full attention. I want to hear Your voice. Whatever it takes, Lord, help me to pursue only what You call me to do and deliver me from distractions. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.