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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro

Dangerous Distractions

"Serve the Lord without distraction." - 1 Corinthians 7:35 NKJV

When our oldest son launched a successful Bible Club in his high school years ago, my husband and I sponsored some Christian concerts. These events gave us the opportunity to interact with some high-profile Christian artists, and we couldn't help being excited and a little starstruck. We were also more than a little distracted. Looking back, I think we could have given less attention to the artists, and more to the people we sought to minister to.

The apostle Paul is considered by many to be the greatest missionary of all time. And this great man had a lot to say about having the proper focus. In the book of Galatians, he writes: "Obviously, I'm not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ's servant." (Galatians 1:10 NLT) When we let our desire to please people distract us from pleasing God, then we are not being the wise and faithful servants that we are called to be. Paul talked about relationships a lot in the Scriptures, because he knew how they could hinder us from becoming all that God created us to be. In First Corinthians 7:35 (NLT), he says: "I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible." Many believers pray for godly mates, and then when the Lord answers their prayers, they allow those very relationships to steer their attention away from Him. Paul has a word for these people today: "Serve the Lord without distraction." (NKJV)

When I got my first book deal years ago, I found it especially challenging to keep the right focus. I instinctively knew that the excitement of receiving such recognition and reward for my work had the potential to distract me from my heavenly calling and purpose. I had to keep telling myself that I was called to serve God and others - not myself. And I began to understand how achievements can become idols, and how selfish ambition can steal our divine destinies. The truth is that even the most devoted Christ-followers can get distracted by the things of this world - even seemingly "good" things. Jesus tells us what happens then: "Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless." (Mark 4:19 AMP) Once we allow worldly distractions to render the Word of God ineffective in our lives, we will lack the supernatural power and purpose that are our inheritance in Christ.

There is a way that you and I can live in this world and still maintain the right perspective and focus, and it involves "looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith...and is also its Finisher." (Hebrews 12:2 AMP) Only by keeping our attention and focus on Christ can we become all that we were created to be, and accomplish all that we have been called to do. How can we sharpen our spiritual focus? Prayer is one way. David prayed: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." (Psalm 139:23-24 NLT) Anytime we suspect that we have gotten off track somehow, we should promptly turn to the Lord and ask for His wisdom and strength.

Spending time in the Word of God can also help us to readjust our focus. Paul wrote: "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true, and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God's way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do." (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT) Stop and ask yourself right now - "Are there any dangerous distractions in MY life?"

Prayer: Lord, I ask that You help me to reorder my priorities today, so that they will reflect Your plans and purposes for my life. Help me to readjust my focus when I need to, and keep me free from worldly distractions. Thank You that as I keep my eyes on You and Your Word, I will accomplish all that You've called me to, and I will become the person You created me to be!

- J. M. Farro


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