As Christians, we will inevitably encounter many distractions on our journey to answer God’s call. To overcome these distractions, it is essential to understand their nature and how they operate. Jesus spoke, saying, “…No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62, KJV). Just like texting and driving can lead to accident, distractions in life can lead to a destiny wreckage if allowed.
What is a Distraction?
A distraction is anything that tends to divert your focus from your primary goal. It often presents itself as seemingly important matters that take precedence over our life’s purpose. In essence, distractions lure us away from the path we’re meant to follow in fulfilling God’s calling.
The Nature of Distractions:
1. They Are Legitimate: Distractions often come in the form of legitimate things. When the devil seeks to derail you, he often employs legitimate activities as distractions. Sometimes they involve activities you love. These are tasks or commitments that, on their own, may not be inherently wrong, but when allowed to persist, they can hinder your calling.
For instance, in Luke 9:59-60, Jesus called someone to follow Him, and the person responded, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus replied, “Let the dead bury their own dead. But you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” In this scenario, burying one’s father was not inherently wrong, but the timing and circumstances made it a distraction from the calling to discipleship.
2. They Are Reasonable Things: Sometimes, distractions may appear entirely reasonable on the surface. Jesus himself encountered such distractions during His earthly ministry. For example, people wanted to make Him a king (John 6:15). While becoming a king might have seemed reasonable to many, it would have been a distraction for Jesus as it diverged from His purpose.
How Distractions Work:
Distractions work by positioning themselves as inevitable. They often appear as tasks that must be attended to, with dire consequences if ignored. They seem highly important and beneficial to our lives and those around us. What makes distractions even more compelling is the belief that you are uniquely qualified to handle them. When distractions arise, they leave you feeling like the only one capable of addressing them. This is the deceptive nature of distractions, and anyone aiming to go far with God must learn to overcome them.
How to Overcome Distraction:
To overcome distractions, you must prioritize correctly. Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their own dead. But you go and proclaim the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:60). In essence, He was emphasizing the need to set your priorities straight. When you examine the statement “let the dead bury their own dead,” it implies that those distractions that seem important but deter us from answering God’s call also have others who can handle them.
There are aspects of your life that you can delegate to others, just as the apostles transitioned from serving tables to focusing on the ministry of the word and prayer. The Bible records, “And the Apostles sent for all the disciples and said, ‘It is not right for us to give up preaching the word of God in order to make distribution of food. Take then from among you seven men of good name, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, to whom we may give control of this business. Then we will give all our time to prayer and the teaching of the word’ (Acts 6:2-4, BBE).
Whatever God has called you to do deserves your undivided attention. God does not want us to forsake our calling for anything, no matter how important it may seem. If the apostles declared, “It is not right for us to give up preaching the word of God in order to make distribution of food,” I believe the same applies to us—it is not right to abandon our primary calling to pursue any other reasonable and legitimate pursuits. I pray that God grants you understanding in Jesus’ name.
To align your priorities correctly, you need to discern when and how to delegate responsibilities. Wisdom plays a crucial role in this area. There is a right time for everything. Avoid leaving too early, like some who prematurely leave their secular jobs for full-time ministry, only to realize that the timing was wrong. Similarly, avoid waiting too long, like those who aim to accumulate wealth before answering God’s call, often getting ensnared in worldliness. Follow God’s timing, and when it’s right, obey without reservation. May the Lord grant you the grace to succeed with Him in Jesus’ name.