Staying focused on God in today’s ever changing world is not easy. Life happens so fast in the 21st Century that if your cell phone is 12 months old it’s out of date!
Did you know this hectic rush of life we experience isn’t unique to our generation? Surprising, because how many times have you heard about “the good old days,” when life was slower and more simple?
While the above quote sounds like something our parents and grandparents probably didn’t experience, that is actually from the book, The Great Gatsby by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald, published in 1925.
Even in the 1920’s, people’s lives were hurried, distracted and hectic.
Still, I’m fairly convinced that there have never been as many distractions in the life of a person as we have now. So how do we stay focused on God in the daily grind while so many things are competing for our attention?
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Staying Focused on God
1. Begin the day with God
I know it sounds simple enough and it’s going to be one of the first suggestions you’ll find in any article like this, but that’s for good reason.
If you or I are going to stay focused on God, we have got to include the things of God in our daily lives!
You’ve probably heard that when something is repeated twice in the Bible it’s something to pay attention to, right? How about something that’s repeated 10 times in one teaching? That’s how many times Jesus used the word “abide” or “remain” in John 15:1-11!
Jesus said in John 15:4, “Abide in me.” He repeated that in 2 other ways in John 15:5-7 while also providing a stark warning and a vast promise:
“Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
Staying focused on God requires abiding in Him. I know your mornings are rushed, but if you create the discipline to spend the first minutes of your day reading the Word of God and talking to Him about the day ahead, you will have a greater focus on Him throughout the day.
If you don’t know where to start, try reading John 15:1-11 each morning for a week. It won’t take long and the passage is crazy profound.
2. Remain in prayer
Do you want to create and develop the habit of a prayerful life? 1 Thessalonians 5:17 makes one simple yet bold command: “pray without ceasing.”
This is a habit worth developing and isn’t as difficult as you might think.
When you see or hear a news report that bothers you, pray for the people and the situation. When you come across someone that annoys you or tries your patience, silently pray for them. When you hear of someone facing some problem, large or small…pray for them.
We had a friend that taught her children about staying focused on God by offering up a quick prayer every time they heard the sirens of a police car, ambulance or fire truck.
God doesn’t need our eloquent, long-winded pious sounding discourses, laced with “thees, thous” and “almighties.” He wants your heart, and often in prayer that sounds as simple as “God, help!“
3. Limit the distractions
In the post 3 Ways to Having More Faith, I wrote that we have to keep a clear space between us and God. You can’t keep your eyes on what you can’t see, physically or spiritually.
In Joshua 3:4, the people of Israel are commanded to keep a distance of 2,000 cubits between them and the ark of the covenant. That’s about a half of a mile and the purpose was so the people of Israel would always be able to see the ark in all types of terrain that they were traveling through.
In our spiritual lives, when we fill the spaces with all kinds of conveniences and distractions, it becomes very difficult and even impossible sometimes to see where the Lord is leading us.
We can overcome this by limiting the distractions, the busyness and our own lack of discipline by making a conscious effort to keep our Lord in the number one spot in our lives.
4. Serve God
In Matthew 6:24, Jesus teaches, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
You’ve heard that verse. You’ve probably also heard the term mammon in place of money at the end of it.
Though “mammon” was a word that primarily represented money and possessions, it was also used to refer to lusts of all types.
If you’re serving God with your resources of time, energy, talents, and with your money, then staying focused on God will naturally follow.
5. Remove sin from your life
This could have been the first point in the list.
What I mean by this is to remove the habitual, continuous sinful habits and patterns from your life.
Hebrews 12:1 says, “Since we are surrounded by so many examples of faith, we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us.”
If there is something, someone, some place or anything in your life that leads you away from God in any way, or that keeps you out of prayer, away from fellowship with other believers or distracts you from reading your Bible, you have one option: remove that thing from your life.
Staying focused on God or growing in your spiritual, prayer, or Christian life in any way with any habitual sin in your life is next to impossible. Kill the sin or it will kill you spiritually, physically, or both.
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Running the Marathon
It’s been said countless times that life is a marathon, not a sprint. When staying focused on God, this becomes especially evident.
Hebrews 12:1 tells us that “We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up,” and the next verse tells us how to do that: “We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2).
Taking these 5 steps and making them daily habits will deepen your spiritual life and they will help when staying focused on God.