The Importance of Keeping Focus

The strength of our focus determines the degree to which we are susceptible to distraction. The less focus we have, the more distracted we will be. And when we are distracted, our purpose is compromised. In fact, maintaining our focus can be a matter of life and death:

On day six of the ill-fated mission of Apollo 13, the astronauts needed to make a critical course correction. If they failed, they might never return to Earth.

To conserve power, they shut down the onboard computer that steered the craft. Yet the astronauts needed to conduct a thirty nine-second burn of the main engines. How to steer? Astronaut Jim Lovell determined that if they could keep a fixed point in space in view through their tiny window, they could steer the craft manually. That focal point turned out to be their destination–Earth.

As shown in 1995’s hit movie, Apollo 13, for thirty-nine agonizing seconds, Lovell focused on keeping the earth in view. By not losing sight of that reference point, the three astronauts avoided disaster.

Scripture reminds us that to finish your life mission successfully, “Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”-Hebrews 12:2

God never intended for us to operate as misguided missiles. He wants us to strike with precision and accuracy. Distraction is getting involved in anything that takes your eyes off purpose. It could take the form of entertainment, the opposite sex, the job or even hanging around other people who have lost their sense of purpose. What does this do to you? It slows you down and in the process, time is lost. When you are not connected to your purpose, time is running against you. We all know someone who at one time was aspiring to greatness, but somewhere along the line he or she lost focus. In many cases, it took years to recover their lost position. Some never did recover. What a shame! Distraction is a thief of purpose.

Once I was taking an Organic chemistry test in college. I had studied ardently and felt I was ready for the exam. As I stepped into the exam hall and got my questions, there was a problem. I was beginning to lose my focus. I could not concentrate. The room was so hot that I felt faint. It was at that time that I heard a voice in my head, “You have failed this exam…that is it!” But something inside me rose up and said, “No I won’t! I will do well on this exam.” Through sheer determination and regaining my focus, I scored a 90 on that exam. You can convince yourself of this truth, distraction is attracted to purpose with the intent to undermine it. Why? Because purpose is the enemy of distraction. Every person that has ever succeeded in life has been confronted with an issue that attempted to distract. Distraction cannot exist without purpose.

Distraction is designed to nullify your attraction to purpose. The way we overcome distraction is to first recognize what our purpose is. Once we have done that, anything else that does not fit that purpose is a distraction. So if your destination is Los Angeles and while on your way there, you see a sign saying, “Next one mile to Los Angeles” and then another saying, “1/4 a mile exit leading to highway XYZ en route to San Francisco.” To follow the latter means you have been distracted.

Nehemiah on his journey with purpose was confronted by distraction. When he set out to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, not everyone smiled at his decision. In fact, he got opposition constantly. However, he did not stop doing what he had set his heart to do. Nehemiah 4:1 reads, “But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews.”

It is very insightful to study the fallen nature of men. That is, every time somebody rises up to do something for God, there will be people who will get angry, even in the church! However, the mistake we many times make is this: ‘If they are profound or intense in their argument against me, I must be wrong.’ One thing you need to realize is, ‘profundity is not necessarily synonymous with substance of truth.’ In verse 2, Sanballat makes his estimation of the Jews: “And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, what do these FEEBLE Jews?”

The word ‘feeble’ has the following meaning in the Hebrew language: ‘to droop; by implication to be sick, to mourn: -languish, be weak, wax feeble (Strong’s Concordance). In other words, this man did not see this group of people as capable of accomplishing their goal. Yet, they did not lose focus, but eventually completed their task of building the wall. What is your task? Are you fulfilling it? If not, why not?

(The above vision pearl is an excerpt from the book, Uncovering the Hidden Stranger Within).

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