"So you shall observe to do just as the LORD your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right or to the left."
-Deuteronomy 5:32 (NASB)
You step to the free throw line and look at the rim. “Just put the ball through the hoop, and we go to overtime,” you say to yourself. You've done this thousands of times in practice. Bounce the ball three times, spin it in your hands, look up at the rim and let her fly. But just when you're about to shoot, you take your eyes off the rim and gaze through the glass backboard at what seems like a million fans yelling, screaming, waving things, and doing whatever they can to distract you from making this shot. A home crowd would never try to distract you, but this is enemy territory, and they will do whatever they can to make you miss this shot.
You try to refocus. You let the ball go. It heads toward the hoop, bounces off the rim, and out…
Ever been distracted like that in a game? I think we all have. And the same thing often happens in our spiritual lives. As Christians in this world, we are playing in an away game all the time. According to 1 Peter 2:11, we are residents of God’s Kingdom, not the world. Because of that, we are constantly being bombarded by flaming arrows from the home team that is trying to make us take our eyes off our target: the Lord.
These distractions can be obvious or subtle. They can cause immediate damage or erode over time. Think about it. The Old Testament is full of cases where God's people replaced their devotion to the Lord with that of idols. Those idols were dangerous distractions and carried devastating consequences. Even though our idols are different than those of long ago, we still have them. Almost everything that distracts us from doing what the Lord has asked us to do is could be considered an idol when we place it above Him in priority.
The Lord wants us to spend time with Him daily through prayer, reading His Word, and fellowshipping with other believers. If we are spending all of our time on Facebook, YouTube, Nintendo, playing sports, or a variety of other activities, then we have clearly become distracted from our first love: Jesus.
Today, take an inventory of where you are spending all of your time. Are you turning to the right or to the left and not doing what the Lord your God has commanded you? Let's commit to challenging each other to be victorious at this away game, keeping our eyes constantly on Him.
1. How do you prepare to play in “enemy territory”? How do you keep your focus on the goal and not the crowd?
2. What is distracting you today from spending time with Jesus?
3. Do you have someone who can help you stay focused on Him?
4. How can you help someone else focus on Him today?
1 Peter 2:11