We live in a world where everything appears to be contending for one’s attention, and if care is not taken; one can lose focus and be distracted from the main thing. From marriage, to family, to work, even friends and many other things are all wanting a dose of one’s attention or the other. In fact, the Bible refers to some of these things as the cares of this world (Matthew 13:22). And because we want to at least give attention to everything, they end up choking the main thing that we are supposed to be focused on.
There is no one that God has not made without a great destiny or a great end. But the challenge is many may never attain that greatness because of distraction. Distraction is anything that makes a person lose focus. It is one of the many tools in the arsenal of the devil that he deploys to ensure that people don’t live a fulfilling life and walk on the right path of their God-given destiny. In Matthew 4, the devil came to Jesus tempting Him with all manner of things. But Jesus stood His ground, by not yielding to those offer the devil was bringing His way.
Distraction is fatal! A man or a woman can lose his or her life just by being distracted. It can make people end where they are not supposed to end. The story of the young prophet is such a great example here. He allowed himself to be distracted by an old man who lied that God had said something else to him, and the young prophet lost his life in the process.
People also can be distracted in ministry. Apostle Paul warned Timothy concerning this as well. 1 Timothy 2:22-23 says “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.”
Things That Causes Distraction in Life and Ministry
- The things of this world (Demas, Lot’s wife)
The things in this world are capable to distract one. Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:10, how Demas left him having loved this present world. Now, the things of this world include anything and everything that competes for man’s attention in this present world. Technology, fashion, the latest trends and you name it. Now, if a man or a woman allows some of these things and their pursuit to creep into his or her heart, it may cause distraction.
Now, it is not that I am saying it is not good to enjoy the good things that this life has to offer, don’t get me wrong. What I am simply saying is that the pursuit of those things at the detriment of other things that have more eternal value, is where one would be getting it wrong. As much as we have affection for those things, it should never be a reason why we would lose focus. We remember Lot’s wife, the Bible says she looked back, to Sodom and Gomorrah, where the Lord had delivered them from, and she became a pillar of salt afterwards.
Listen to Podcast: How to Avoid Distraction In Life and Ministry
Colossians 3:1-3 tells us: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” So, in order not to be distracted, it is our responsibilities to set our minds, and let it focus on the main thing and not on the things of this world.
Also, the things of this world can also be summarised in three phrases. They are: The Lust Of The Flesh, The Lust Of The Eyes And The Pride Of Life (1 John 2:15-17). The Bible says in verse 17 that the things of this world is passing away and therefore, it would be one’s greatest undoing to allow himself or herself be distracted by them.
- Focus on Self
Focus on self is another thing that can cause distraction in ministry. Now, don’t forget we are examining how to avoid distraction in life and ministry. Now, when it comes to doing ministry, the focus is not about ourselves, but about the assignment before us, how to fulfill it; and the one who has given us the assignment, which is God. Sometimes, we pay too much attention to ourselves thinking about how to get the assignment done, instead of allowing the one who is the giver of the assignment to lead us through it.
Now, to buttress this point, the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus is a great one. The angel of the Lord had appeared to her, and told her what was going to happen through her, and how her womb will be the carrier of the saviour of the world (Luke 1:26-38). I believe Mary must have looked at herself and how that could have been possible, knowing full well that she does not know a man yet. That thought alone could have distracted her from the practicality and the possibility of that assignment. But the angel of the Lord quickly interjected her, by letting her know it won’t be by her power or might, but by the Spirit of God.
How many people today have forsaken their God-given assignment simply because they allowed themselves to focus more on their inadequacies to fulfill the assignment, and simply left them unattended to? It is God who will help you through the assignment, and not by your own power. The Scripture says for by strength shall no man prevail. I remember a story Pastor Adeboye once told us which I am going to share with us here. He said at a time, he woke up one morning and he noticed he had started growing grey hairs. So, he said to God….”Daddy, where are these grey hairs coming from? I am still a young man, what is going on?”
He said God responded to him by saying: “It is because you have been carrying on yourself the burdens that I have not placed on you.” He said “God told him to allow Him do the work, rather than him putting it on his own head.” He said after this conversation with God, he didn’t allow the burden of the assignment to become heavy on him anymore, he simply allowed God to take control. And after a while, he noticed the grey hairs disappeared. This is the lesson in the story: As a minister of God, don’t put the pressure of the assignment on yourself, don’t look at your own capabilities and capacities, allow God to do His work, and you will see yourself flourishing. Focusing on yourself may distract you!
- Lack of Concentration
Paying attention to many things at the same time is a major source of distraction. It makes people most times, end up not doing anything or doing some things haphazardly. People who lacks concentration are usually not stable, and they are tossed here and there like a leave carried about by the waves of the sea. Their minds are divided and therefore, their attention are divided as well. Such persons starts so many things, but could not end up finishing them. The story of Mary and Martha is a good example here. Luke 10:38-42, the Bible says:
“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Now, what Jesus said to Martha is a good example of someone who lacks concentration. Because I believe, Martha would have also loved to listen to what Jesus was teaching at that point in time, but at the same time, she wanted to make sure that Jesus and the other ministers that followed him had some refreshment before He departs their house. But Martha’s distraction made her lose focus on the one thing that is needful, which is listening to Jesus’ teachings and probably taking notes, and Jesus had to let her understood the implication of that.
So, to not be distracted in life and ministry, there is need for one to concentrate. Don’t major on the minor, and minor on the major. Let your major concentration be on the major things, things that matter to life and fulfillment of your God-given assignment, and pay less attention on minor matters. I believe you understand this.
How to Avoid Distraction In Life and Ministry
- Stay Focused On The Main Thing
The number one way to avoid distraction is by staying focused. To stay focused simply means “to stay on the main purpose or interest.” It means “staying on the one activity that you are trying to complete. Anything else outside of that one activity is unimportant and therefore, you shut out all forms of distractions and give your full and undivided attention to the task at hand.” Philippians 3:13-14, apostle Paul wrote: “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; BUT ONE THING I DO, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
There is a particular Scripture that I love to quote. It says: “…if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light (Matthew 6:22, KJV)” Now, what this Scripture is telling us is simply how to stay focused. It is not literally telling you to remove one of your eyes, so that it can remain one and then, it can be focused, No! What it is saying is simply to concentrate. For example, it is not possible for your two eyes to look at different directions at the same time, but when the two are focused at one direction, they see clearly and they see well.
I believe you have been blessed!
[Centre for New Dimension Leadership]