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 Life happens so fast in the 21st Century that if your cell phone is 12 months old it’s out of date!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 that 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 supposedly slower and more simple?
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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.
When Fitzgerald wrote his legendary and tragic novel, the setting was a decadent, hurried, yet indifferent East Coast American society.
Still, I’m fairly convinced that there have never been as many distractions in your daily life as you have now. So how do you stay focused on God in the daily grind while so many things are competing for your attention?
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 are going to stay focused on God, you must include the things of God in your daily life!
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 just 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 different ways in that same teaching 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.John 15:5-7
Another word for abide is to remain. Staying focused on God requires remaining 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? The Apostle Paul makes a simple yet bold command in his first letter to the Thessalonians:
Pray without ceasing.1 Thessalonians 5:17
When you see or hear a news report that bothers you, pray for the people and the situation. If someone annoys you or tests 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 your 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, you’ll learn that you have to keep a clear space between God and yourself. 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 themselves and the ark of the covenant. That’s about a half a mile (.8 km) and the purpose was so the people would always be able to see the ark ahead wherever they traveled.
In your spiritual life, when you 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 you.
You can overcome this by limiting the distractions, the busyness and any lack of discipline by making a conscious effort to keep the Lord in the number one spot in your life.
4. Serve God
On serving God, 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.Matthew 6:24
You’ve heard that verse. You’ve probably also heard the term mammon in place of money at the end of it.
Although “mammon” primarily represented money and possessions, it was also used to refer to all kinds of lust.
It’s impossible to be entirely committed to more than one thing. If you try, in time, things will drop off and one thing will take the lead. God doesn’t want to take second seat to anything else you can put in your life.
The New Testament writers frequently referred to themselves as servants or as a bondservant of Christ. A bondservant in this context was a permanent role of committed servitude to the risen Christ. No person or thing came before or rose to a higher level of importance than Jesus.
Serve God with all of your heart and mind. Include your resources like time, energy, talents, and even your money and 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.
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.Hebrews 12:1
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 that 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. I’ll say that again…
Running the Marathon
No doubt you’ve heard 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 do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.Hebrews 12:2 (NLT)
Taking these 5 steps and making them daily habits will deepen your spiritual life, and they will help you to stay focused on God.