You can get into a pretty good debate among American sports fans over which sport is the most exciting. Basketball might be voted as the most exciting sport because basketball is pretty physical. It's constantly changing, it's intense, and it's unpredictable. There's only one point where it slows down a little - much to the relief of the players. If a player is fouled by someone from the other team he gets to shoot one or two free throws. That's the one time when nobody's bothering you and no one is trying to stop you from getting your shot. Actually, there might be others bothering you, especially if you are the visiting team. When you're facing the basket, you are also facing all those local fans who want you to miss. They jump up and down, make noise, wave their arms, and wave signs. If you're trying to score more points, you really need to concentrate.
Hebrews 12:1-2 from God's Word says, "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 a word that's common in modern athletics. You hear this word often: focus. A basketball player has to focus on the basket. That's what it takes to score when you have a thousand nuts out there trying to get you to look somewhere else. The player has to tune it all out and fix his eye on the basket.
The Bible says we have a race marked out for us and the Lord has set a course for our lives. We have gifts to use for Him, people to influence for Him, work to do for Him, days with which to glorify Him, and we're like runners striding toward the prize. All that matters is getting to the finish line. A runner can look at the crowd, look at other competitors, or look down, but a champion always focuses on the goal.
As you run your lap for Jesus each day, you face plenty of distractions: problem people, finances, making money, a thousand little annoyances, temptations, an overwhelming to-do list. Maybe you're distracted by a conflict, a fear, or worry, and it's yelling, "Look over here at me!" Peter's walk on the water is a perfect example. As long as he looked at Jesus, he was on top of the storm. When he looked away, it was on top of him. We sink when we look at the storm instead of the Savior.
Are you tired of throwing away days to frustration, worry, wandering, self-pity, and panic? You need to focus when your day begins. Fill up with Jesus in the early moments. Listen to worship music or Christian radio, take time to hear the Lord in His Word, and then refocus on Him several times during the day. Determine that you will look for the Lord's hand in your day and thank Him every time you spot Him doing something. You can whisper His name as you answer the phone, answer a letter, answer the door, or answer a question.
When you feel your old nature taking over, think about personally being at the cross and about Jesus being worshiped in heaven by a hundred million angels. The distracters will always be there waving, shouting, and screaming for your attention, but refocus on Jesus. A champion knows that distractions don't have to make the difference. Focus on the Christ who is Lord over every distraction.