fo•cus: noun: 1. The center of interest or activity. 2.the state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition.
A few years ago my fiancé and I were walking through our local market. I am certain that prior to getting out of the vehicle he went through our mission; the game plan; the purpose of our trip.
As always, I agree…”Get in and get out!” And as always, I fail to deliver on this mission.
We break and head in different directions into the store; each with our own set purpose; our calling; our duty…to get whatever we needed and get out as quickly as possible.
However; about two minuets in I’m distracted by probably some cheese display and from there it just goes down hill.
Soon I find myself down the condiments isle looking at things that we defiantly did not need and grabbed the largest bottle of Louisiana Hot Sauce they sold and because I was so busy being distracted I put the bottle in the front of the cart; where a child would sit.
Moving down the isle I noticed it started slipping and rather than take the bottle and properly put it in the bottom of the cart I adjusted it and showed frustration at having to do so. On the next isle, where the cookies and crackers were, my speed got the best of me and moving forward full speed the bottle slides more; I notice but I keep moving forward thinking I will fix it when I stop.
Stopping never occurred and before I knew it the bottle slipped all the way out of the cart, hit my knee and made the loudest crash and the biggest shatter I’ve witnessed to date. I believe the entire store stopped moving in this moment.
I could feel the burning sauce on my legs and worse my white Capri pants now had a bright red stain on them from the knee down.
I look up to see if anyone is looking…they are; so I did the only thing I knew to do since I could not find something or find an employee to help me; I had to walk away; squeaking and slipping with every step.
God love my fiancé! As he comes around the corner he took one look at me and started laughing as I said “It’s time to go!”
We walked to the front of the store, paid for our stuff and left. As other customers kept looking at my pants, the over head speaker blares “CLEAN UP ON ISLE SIX” to this date I’ve not left or walked as quickly out of a store!
Each of us has reached this point in our relationships with Christ. When are younger; it’s leaving the Youth Rally, the convention or summer church camp. As we get older it’s MBSF, sermons and conferences.
We leave these events with a new mindset and have every intention of making life altering changes. We “break” from those events and head out into the world with our purpose and mission.
Then what do you know! A cheese display happens to make its way into our vision and we are distracted. The next thing we know we’ve got a rather large mess of hot sauce burning our legs from that bottle we’ve picked up as we were distracted and we are trying to walk away as someone is yelling “CLEAN UP ISLE SIX!”
What are the common “cheese displays” that causes that cause our distractions?
The Me Factor
We live in a society that is rather self-focused. We are being told how important it is to focus on “self-care”, “self-needs” ,”self-happiness” etc. and while it’s important to be healthy mentally, physically and emotionally it’s even more important that we be ready spiritually.
Yes, He loves us and tell us how important it is to take care of ourselves, have confidence in Him and not be insecure but we have to be careful to understand the reason for self-care is to be able to perform our best in the world for His glory.
The Love Factor
We are designed to have relationships with one another. There’s a longing inside each of us that will always ache for a certain void to be filled. Often we try to fill this void with romantic relationships and sex instead of realizing that this is an earthly void and as long as we are alive we will have this emptiness because we are yet to be with Christ; the one who truly completes us.
During these relationships we have to find the balance between them and our relationship with God. Our time is ultimately His. This can be very difficult to do if we are not aligned in relationship with another believer as they will not understand the desire and need we have to devote to our relationship with Christ and this is why it is most important that these relationships be aligned with the will of God; if they aren’t we can rest assured disaster will soon ensue.
One example of a relationship gone wrong due to this was Samson and Delilah. The Bible tells us of a man with amazing strength and how he fell in love with a woman, Delilah. She was encouraged to pursue this relationship by the Philistine rulers for the sole purpose of finding out why he was so strong and in doing so she would gain eleven hundred shekels of silver by each ruler.
So Delilah set out to find out the cause, she asked not once, twice or even three times but four times and each time Samson was so distracted that he failed to notice that as soon as he shared with her the key to his strength that she was setting him up.
In Judges 16: 15-30 we see how her manipulation of love lead to Samson giving in to her nagging and ultimately leading to the lose of his life.
15Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” 16With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it. 17So he told her everything.
The Thing Factor
Social Media, Netflix and hobbies are all things that keep me from prioritizing what is truly important quicker than anything else in my personal life and the lives of many of my friends. Turning off our minds are vital in this day and age; however, some of us turn it off and forget to turn it back on. If we are choosing to do these things over our time in prayer and the word, we are not making Him our priority.
The Service/Job Factor
We have been designed by God to work and feel fulfilled by being productive. For some of us work or service through the church becomes our life and we abandon our families, marriage, friends and most certainly God. We get so busy serving we become distracted from why we even started.
In Luke 10:38-42 we can see the greatest example of this when Jesus goes to Mary and Martha’s:
38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the LORD’s feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “LORD, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41“Martha, Martha,” the LORD answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42but few things are needed-or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
When we are in the front of the cart slipping we have to remind ourselves of Him and get back on track or we will we soon be standing over a mess of Louisiana Hot Sauce. We must make sure that we are prioritizing Him as the top of our lives; no matter how wonderful the relationship is or how important the job is…because in the words of Ricky Bobby “If He ain’t first, He is the last.”
Jude 1:20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith, make progress, rise like edifice higher and higher, praying in the Holy Spirit.