Does this sound familiar? You have good intentions, a solid life or ministry plan; you’re off to a great start and experiencing some momentum. Then, before you know it, you’re off course. You are still technically in the game but you know that you are not performing at your best. You’re feeling frustrated with yourself because this isn’t the first time it’s gone like this. What happened? How is it that you can you go from making initial gains in your pursuit to losing ground in what seems like minutes? One word – distractions.
In the last Transformation Insight I challenged you to keep pace with Jesus in your life’s calling in order to finish strong. But if you have been around for a reasonable length of time you know that finishing what you start takes full-time effort. Athletes in a race know they have to train themselves to not get their eyes off of the main thing, which is crossing the finish line first. Looking around even slightly at other contestants or objects while competing has proven to be disastrous for more than one runner. You can quickly get thrown off of your race plan by losing focus. How the racer handles distractions can be the difference between winning and losing.
Your commitment to life and ministry will often be challenged by distractions, things that try to move your mind off of the main thing, your calling and purpose. There’s no question that life can be complicated at times, full of twists and turns that seem to appear out of nowhere. So the question is, are you preparing your mind to stay focused on your purpose when challenging days do arrive? What about when your business starts going through a downturn or your health is failing or your children are struggling or a friend lets you down? And then what about those things that you like to do that aren’t bad things but do keep you occupied and unable to be fully engaged in your commitment to your mission? Distractions can come on every side - are you prepared to keep your head in the game and pursue your goal when they do appear?
I remind you again that the key to sticking to your game plan is to keep the leader of your life in your sights at all times. Hebrews 12:2-3 says “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith….consider him…” To fix your eyes on Jesus means to give your undivided attention to him every step you take. To consider Jesus means to think about him constantly and visualize how he would handle your situation if he were in your place. This is good advice because Jesus has set you the perfect example of how to look ahead to the joy of completing the goal while enduring the overwhelming challenges of getting to the finish line. He knew how to stay single-minded in his pursuits in order to be totally successful. Jesus stayed committed to his eternal mission in spite of the numerous distractions he faced on a regular basis.
And here’s another suggestion. Keep in mind that you are not running the race by yourself. You have company. There are many others just like you that are heading in the same direction and some of them have got some solid experience at doing so. The apostle Paul was one in his day who was ready to help keep others on the right track. He says “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1. Why not find one or more veterans of the faith and learn from them how to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
So if you are being distracted today from pursing your life’s goal, start thinking about Jesus, the greatest leader of all times who fully finished what he started against incredible odds. Consider Jesus right now and get back on track which is the best way to keep distractions on the sidelines where they belong. And while you’re at it, get in the shadow of someone you know who has been running a strong spiritual race for some time and let them show you how to do what it takes to run and win.