Fighting Off Distractions

  By Bob Brubaker  |  

Just think of the many things that constantly call out for your attention. You really can’t do much of anything without a constant barrage of texts, emails, phone calls, personal interruptions, besides the temptations to check social media and various entertainment sources. I’m sure if you added up all the distracting things that cry for your attention you would be shocked.  Here are a few tips on how to remain focused amidst all the distractions:

1st – Decide on a plan of action

Too many people go through life in haphazard acts of disarray and wonder why they accomplish very little. It seems that each day is like being launched into a pinball game bouncing from one thing to the next with no real plan of action. Stop the madness! You don’t have to live like that. In fact, if you study the people that accomplish the most in life, they follow a plan.

John 6:38–39 (ESV) — 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.

Jesus knew the plan and He accomplished all that the Father had given Him to do.

John 17:4 (ESV) — 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.

Was Jesus ever tempted with distractions? Constantly! Whether it was the crowd calling for his attention, his enemies that were always challenging him, or the disciples whose needs of shepherding were ever before him, there was a constant call for him to deviate what he was doing and change his focus. Jesus, however, stuck to his plan and accomplished exactly what was set before him by God.

The first step in staying focused is deciding upon a plan of action.  but let’s back up in order to follow a plan of action a person must establish priorities as to what is really most important. Many times therein lies the conflict because there has never been the establishment of the most important. As one old guy said when you are focused you keep the main thing the main thing, but in order to do that you have to know what the main thing is and then develop a plan of action.

Developing an action plan is so important in getting things accomplished because it’s breaking down the priority into achievable steps.

2nd  Develop a return plan

No matter how determined you are to follow a plan of action there are always those things that call for immediate attention and those times you catch yourself following a deterrent and find yourself off track. When you find yourself in such a state, the way to return is take control and get yourself back.

Paul, the apostle, described pushing aside the distractions of false religion and fleshly thinking and bringing our thoughts in line in a way of obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV) — 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

In other words, when you find yourself off base go back to the basics and look at where your mind is going and upon what you are thinking.  Is your thought life in obedience? This is where a return strategy is having things to think upon to return to right thinking.

Romans 12:1–2 (ESV) — 1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Philippians 4:8–9 (ESV) — 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

3rd – Exercise determination

Determination is not a mysterious trait that only a few enjoy. It’s there for everyone who will exercise it in small things so that when bigger temptations come along to distract you, it’s a matter of applying determination. Was Jesus determined?

John 12:27 (ESV) — 27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.

Was Paul determined?

1 Corinthians 2:2 (ESV) — 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Are you determined?

4th – Focus on the finish

From prioritizing, making a plan of action and executing it, to fighting your way back whenever you get off track, to living by determination to keep on going, the real key is to focus on finishing whatever you started out doing.

Jesus did.

Hebrews 12:1–2 (ESV) — 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 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.

Paul did.

2 Timothy 1:12 (ESV) — 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.

2 Timothy 4:7–8 (ESV) — 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

In my experience of racing in Ironman triathlons, I have always enjoyed encouraging people along the way who lost sight of their focus on the finish as they talked of dropping out. It’s amazing how their countenance would pick up and a fresh determination would come over them when asked to describe or act out what they planned to do at the finish.  It was amazing!  So it is whenever we gain the perspective of accomplishing what we have set out to do, we get a renewed interest and energy to keep going – focused to the end.

These basic steps apply anything we are called upon to do in life but will especially apply to our keeping focused on our service to God as we follow God’s call to be what He has determined we should be.

Ephesians 2:8–10 (ESV) — 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Godspeed,

Bob Brubaker

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