I am someone who can be easily distracted. I can be distracted because I am curious or because I have a vivid imagination or because I have too many thoughts floating around in my mind. While there may be many reasons for why I can be distracted, the root cause comes down to this: I am not focused on my goal or where I am headed.
Years ago, Nataly and I went to Arizona for our anniversary. As we were driving back to our hotel from the Grand Canyon, I got pulled over. When the officer asked me if I knew why he pulled me over, I honestly had no idea. Since being married, I have an extra speedometer that often travels in the passenger seat next to me, so I knew I was not speeding. He told me he pulled me over because I had been swerving while on the interstate. I quickly explained to him that I was from Iowa and was amazed by all the mountains, elk, and other things I was seeing. He laughed, told me to keep my eyes on the road and watch out for the elk. He didn’t give me a ticket; he just wanted us to be safe as we traveled. I was not committing any major traffic violations like speeding or driving while impaired, but these small distractions could have led to just as deadly of an accident.
Why do I mention all of this? We live in a world that seeks to distract us from following Christ. Not all of these distractions are evil or even sinful in and of themselves. However, if they are taking our focus off of Christ and how He wants us to live, then they become sinful. Sometimes we are focused so much on “big” sins and trying to avoid those that we ignore small sinful distractions. However, these “small” distractions at times cause the greatest harm. They do this by either opening the door for further sin, or they just keep us occupied with unimportant things. This is why Solomon wrote the following: “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil” (Prov 4:25-27).
If we don’t want to be distracted from what God has for us, we need to keep our eyes set on Him. We need to focus on Jesus and the truth of God’s Word. Because when we lose site of those things, we begin to swerve to the right and the left. Just as I was driving erratically enough to get pulled over in Arizona, sometimes we are living our Christians lives just as erratically. At times, we need to be reminded to keep our eyes straight ahead. We are often tempted to look to the right or left. We can be distracted by those who are not following after God (Psalm 73). Paul had one of his companions, Demas, desert him because he fell in love with the things of the present world (2 Tim. 4:10). While there are many examples of those who were distracted, we also have examples of those who kept their eyes fixed on God.
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
These people who died in faith did not live perfect lives. However, when they were distracted by sin, they sought forgiveness and refocused on God. Their lives were characterized by continually seeking God. May we follow their example and keep our eyes fixed on Him.