Wednesday, October 6, 2004
You can get into a pretty good debate among American sports fans over which of their sports is more exciting. You have the brains and brawn of football, or someone will say that soccer's their game, or hockey is a really bruising sport. I think my two sons would vote for basketball as the most exciting sport, and basketball action is really pretty physical. I mean, it's constantly changing, it's intense, it's unpredictable. There's this one point where it slows down a little, though, much to the relief of the players. You know if a player is fouled by someone from the other team he gets to shoot one or two free throws. Now, that's one time when nobody's bothering you. Well, there are not all these guys trying to stop you from getting your shot, and you get to shoot for an extra point or two, but there is someone trying to bother you - especially if you're the visiting team. When you're facing the basket, you are also facing all these local fans who want you to miss. So, they jump up and down, they make noise, they wave their arms, they wave signs, and they have this one sign that says "Brick, brick, brick." So, if you're trying to score some points, you really need to concentrate.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How to Beat the Distraction Action."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Hebrews 12:1-2. "Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith." This passage suggests an idea that's very common in modern athletics. You hear this word often - focus - just like that basketball player has to focus on the basket. That's what it takes to sink it, when you have a thousand nuts out there trying to get you to look somewhere else. That player has all kinds of sights and sounds trying to get his attention, but he has to tune it all out. His eye is fixed on the basket.
The Bible says here we have a race marked out for us. The Lord has set a course for your life. You have gifts to use for Him, people to influence for Him, work to get done for Him, days with which to glorify Him, and we're this runner striding towards the prize. All that matters is getting to the tape. That runner can look at the crowd, he could look at the competitors behind him, he could look down, but a champion always focuses on the goal.
As you're running your lap for Jesus each day, there's plenty of distraction. Right? It's easy to have your attention drawn to a problem person, to finances, making money, a thousand little annoyances, temptation, an overwhelming "to do" list. Maybe you're drawn to this conflict or to something you're afraid of, to your worries, and they're all yelling at you, "Look at me!"
Peter's walk on water was a perfect example. He got out of the boat and walked on water. As long as he looked at Jesus, he was on top of the storm. When he looked away, it was on top of him. You sink when you look at the storm instead of the Savior. Frankly, I'm tired of throwing away days to frustration, worry, self-pity, and panic. What's the answer? Focus. Begins when your day begins. You fill up with Jesus in the early moments, listen to worship music and Christian radio, take time listening to the Lord in His Word, refocus on Him several times a day. That's why I get a practical benefit from just giving thanks for my meals during the day. Several times during the day you're in touch with Him again.
Determine you're going to look for the Lord at work in your day, and thank Him every time you spot Him doing something. Whisper His name as you answer the phone, as you answer a letter or the door, or a question. Focus on Jesus. All the distracters will always be there, waving and shouting and screaming, but a champion knows the distractions don't have to make the difference. Make sure your eyes are stubbornly focused on the Lord over every distraction.