Tag Archives: distraction

Focus! Keeping Your Eyes on Jesus in a Near-Sighted, Distracted World! (Introduction)

Introduction:  In high school, for some inexplicable reason, I memorized the lines on the eye chart! I don’t know why. And I passed each year’s eye exam with flying colors. I actually sabotaged my own eyesight.

How’s your vision? Would you say that your eyes are focused on the Lord Jesus and all that He has planned for you? Or, like me, would you admit you get distracted and turn your gaze away from Him? Would you say that the things of this world are pretty and shiny and tend to draw away your attention like small metal beads to a powerful magnet?

In this series of blog posts I want to examine my own vision and ask if my spiritual eyesight is getting dim, distracted, or damaged by choices I make. We will be looking at a number of key biblical passages which emphasize this sense of sight. I am particularly looking forward to pondering the healing miracles which turned blind people into sighted people.

For this morning let’s think about our primary text for a few moments: “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2). The author is quite candid about his need to have his eyes “fixed.” The term “fixing” here is ἀφορῶντες from the verb ἀφοράω (aphoraō). It means “to view with undivided attention, by looking away from every other object; to regard fixedly and earnestly.”

It is used only twice in the New Testament, here in Hebrews 12:2 and also in Philippians 2:23 where Paul is talking about sending Timothy to help those believers. (“Therefore I hope to send him just as soon as I see how things will turn out for me”). The verb is composed of a prepostion (apó) which means “away from” and a regular verb meaning to see (horáō). The implication is properly, “looking away from all else, to fix one’s gaze upon” (Abbott-Smith).

Today’s Challenge:  Someone has said that the devil’s primary tools are destruction and distraction. What seems to distract you from focusing upon the Lord Jesus and all He has done — and plans to do — in your life? Some repair work is needed, don’t you think? Today ask the Lord to “fix” your attention on His Son — and fix your distractedness.



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Posted by on August 14, 2021 in focus


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Keep Your Eyes on the Road! (A Great Commercial)

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Posted by on January 25, 2021 in commercials


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FOCUS! Keeping Our Eyes on Jesus in a Near-Sighted World (Part 7)

THREE DISTRACTIONS: As we think about our FOCUS on the Lord Jesus, we have touched on two distractions that are very real. The distraction from the world is the issue of entertainment. The distraction from ourselves is our desires which often run counter to the will of God.

But what is the third distraction? I would suggest that our third enemy, the devil, deserves some serious attention in that he wishes to destroy us and do everything in his power to get our eyes off Jesus!

But we must become thoroughly biblical in our understanding of our enemy, the devil. Here are some passages that will clarify some details about the arch-enemy of our souls:

1. The devil is a real personal being, a high-ranking fallen angel (Is. 14; Ezek. 28; Lk. 10:18). He is the believer’s enemy (I Pe. 5:8). He has been sinning since the beginning (I Jn. 3:8).

2. He is in the business of tempting human beings to turn away from God (he tempts Jesus in Mt. 4; he tempts God’s people as we see in Gen. 3 and I Cor. 7:5). He is the accuser of God’s children (Zech. 3:1).

3. He majors in corrupting God’s Word, taking it away from those who might believe and be saved (Lk. 8:12).

4. He is described by the Lord Jesus as a murderer, a liar, and the father of lies (Jn. 8:44).

5. Jesus came to destroy the devil’s work (Acts 10:38; I Jn. 3:8). The devil holds the power of death (Heb. 2:14) and is the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:1-2). He has the power to bind people with affliction (Lk. 13:16).

6. He can influence Jesus-followers to deny Jesus (Jn. 13:2) or to lie to God the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3). He takes people captive to do his will (2 Tim. 2:26). He looks to devour believers (I Pe. 5:8).

7. He has a whole host of fallen angels to do his bidding called “demons” (Mt. 7:22; 8:31; 10:8; etc.).

8. Whatever Satan does, he does by God’s permission (the book of Job).

9. He is capable of doing great acts of wonder to deceive people (2 Thes. 2:9).

10. His fate is sealed; he will be cast forever into the eternal fire prepared for him and his followers (Mt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10).

Our response?
1. We are not to give the devil a foothold in our lives (Eph. 4:27).

2. We need God’s full armor to stand against the devil’s schemes (Eph. 6:11).

3. We are to resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7). We must not forget that he desires to “sift” us like wheat (Lk. 22:31).

4. We are not to be unaware of Satan’s tricks (2 Cor. 2:11), for he masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14).

5. He can and often is used by God to keep His servants humble (2 Cor. 12:7).

Most of us are probably not important enough to receive Satan’s direct attention, but he has many demonic followers who can do his will. Our primary attention is not to be on Satan and demons, but on the Lord Jesus. However, this does not mean that we shouldn’t understand our spiritual enemy and resist him. But we must keep our eyes focused on the Lord Jesus and His work in our lives. (to be continued)




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Posted by on January 9, 2020 in the devil


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FOCUS! Keeping Our Eyes on Jesus in a Near-Sighted World (Part 6)

THREE DISTRACTIONS: As we saw in our last post on FOCUS, there are distractions that get our eyes off Jesus. One distraction of THE WORLD is entertainment.

Let’s think about the second of three distractions this morning. We know from Scripture that our three enemies are the world, the flesh, and the devil. How does our flesh distract us from focusing on the Lord Jesus?

The second distraction is . . . ourselves! Sometimes the expression “the flesh” refers to our physical bodies. But often Scripture uses that expression to refer to our sinful nature, our desires that run counter to the Word of God.

After conversion, we learn that our own internal desires often distract us from focusing on the Lord Jesus. So, are we to become passionless, desire-free, Zen-like monks who have no desires? Absolutely not! We read the following about our desires:


Prior to conversion, we are described as —
>> “the unfaithful who are trapped by evil desires” (Prov. 11:6).
>> those who allow “the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things [to] come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful” (Mk. 4:19).
>> the natural man is described as those whom “God gave over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another” (Rom. 1:24).
>> We as believers are charged by Paul — “therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires” (Rom. 6:12).
>> We learn that we live by choice. We read, “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” (Rom. 8:5).
>> We read in 1 Peter 2:11 we are to “abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.”
>> We also learn in 2 Peter 1:4 that there is a “corruption in the world [that is] caused by evil desires.”

How do we choose not to follow our sinful desires? Romans 13:14 says, “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Similarly we are told in Galatians 5:16-17 that we are to “walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”

>> Prior to our conversion we are described as follows: “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.” (Ephesians 2:3)

Ephesians 4:22 says, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires . . .”

The believer is to be engaged in the execution business, for we read in Galatians 5:24 – “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Colossians 3:5 commands the believer: “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”

But what about AFTER CONVERSION?

We read in Psalm 37:4 “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” In Psalm 103:5 we learn of the Lord “who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” And we are reminded in Psalm 145:19 that “He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.” 1 John 2:17 tells us that “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

Here are several specific steps we can take to develop and pursue godly desires:

1. We can run! We read in 2 Timothy 2:22 that we are to “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

2. We can choose not to conform: 1 Peter 1:14 tells us, “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.”

3. We can decide to live for the will of God: 1 Peter 4:2 says, “As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.”



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Posted by on January 7, 2020 in desires


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FOCUS! Keeping Our Eyes on Jesus in a Near-Sighted World (Part 5)

My optometrist friend says he doesn’t understand atheists. “If they only knew what I know about the human eye,” he says, “they would abandon their atheism in a New York minute!”

But one writer says, “The human eye is a highly evolved structure of our anatomy and has many coexisting and interdependent elements.” Evolved?

Let’s think about some fun facts on the eye:  The eye is the second most complex organ in our body (after the brain). Our eyes are made up of more than 2 million operational parts which can process 36,000 bits of information per hour! Human eyes are capable of focusing at 50+ things at any given second. Human eyes have the fastest lens known to mankind. They are way faster than any known camera lens. While camera lenses take a few seconds to focus on objects at different distances, human eyes can adjust focus almost instantly without any noticeable lag.

Human eyes are the only organs in whole body that NEVER rest. Their performance never alters even with non-stop functioning. However, the muscles controlling the eyes and eyelids need rest. It is because of this that eyes blink.
There are 107 million cells in a single eye that are sensitive to light. This means that there are 214 million photosensitive cells in two eyes.

The eye muscles are the strongest in our body; We blink 25,000 times a day; the human eye is an incredible organ that can distinguish over 10 million different colors. And — last fun fact — no human in this world can sneeze without closing eyes.

The sentence that struck me the most in the above description of the human eye was “Human eyes are capable of focusing at 50+ things at any given second.” In this post we want to think about how we lose our FOCUS on the Lord Jesus due to the many distractions in the world.

We all suffer spiritually from a condition we might call a kind of ADD — Attention Deficit Disorder. We are deficient in directing the primary attention of our lives toward the Lord Jesus. And it is a disorder. We come into life broken, needing salvation, and desperately lacking the fundamental determination to orient our lives around the Creator.

THREE DISTRACTIONS: Let’s think about the first of three distractions this morning. We know from Scripture that our three enemies are the world, the flesh, and the devil. How does the world distract us from focusing on the Lord Jesus? Easy. It throws at us enticing, pleasing, captivating visuals that are often hard to turn away from.

Babysitting three of our grandchildren the other day, I decided to put on a cartoon for them. They were mesmerized! They could not take their eyes off that show. And we adults are no better.

You need to know that I’m not anti-entertainment. But it’s hard to give our attention to Jesus when our eyes are glued to that rectangular object that gives off a blue glow.

May I ask you this morning — How much television do you “watch”? I’m reminded of Norman Cousins’ statement when he said, “When and if American civilization collapses, historians of a future generation will sneer, ‘They entertained themselves to death.’” (to be continued)

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Posted by on January 5, 2020 in attention


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Time for a Great Commercial: Divided Attention! DISTRACTION! (reprise)

I’m sorry, but I think these commercials are terrific! Wouldn’t you agree that DISTRACTION is a major issue at times? We need to learn to focus on the task God gives us.

Most of us know the famous missionary/martyr Jim Elliot who said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” There’s another great quote from him where he says, “Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every moment you believe to be the will of God.”

Don’t live DISTRACTED today!

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Posted by on June 1, 2019 in distraction


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Time for a Great Cartoon (Technology)

Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 8.48.02 PMFrankly, I agree with Hobbes.  We don’t seem to be able to manage the technology we’ve got!  I’m grateful for the incredible features of my smart phone, but cell phones, it seems to me, are producing a generation of impolite, discourteous, sometimes dangerous, individuals!

It bugs me as a university professor to be passed on the campus by a student looking at his cell phone who doesn’t bother to lift his or her head and say “hello.”  That’s impolite.  And dumb.  He or she just might have me for a class someday!

How many people do you see on the highway who are either talking on their phone or are — God forbid! — texting while driving!  My son blows his horn at such drivers, but I’m afraid that doing so will distract them further, causing an accident.  For a great commercial showing the danger of distracted driving, check out this video.

I went out to lunch with one of my colleagues a while back — and he was on Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 6.00.58 AMhis phone the entire time!  Now, if he were working with a family whose mother was in ICU, that would be one thing.  But these appeared to be routine texts.  I felt like chopped liver.  And I don’t even like liver.

What to do?  Don’t trash your smart phone.  But don’t allow it to ruin relationships, especially those that are right in front of you!  (I discussed this problem a couple of weeks ago — see my post.)

Here’s a prayer for all of us and our technology:

“Lord of technology, you know how addictive all of us are!  Thank You for incredible inventions and terrific technological advances that allow us instant contact with anyone anywhere!  Please, Lord, keep us from viewing our new powers as more important than people made in Your image.  Re-teach us, Father, basic principles of civility.  And help us to serve You, rather than our toys.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

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Posted by on May 22, 2016 in technology


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“It Can Wait!” (fatal distraction)

What a powerful commercial!  Technology can bring (and has brought) many benefits to mankind, but one glance, one text, one upload while driving can be disastrous.

Without minimizing the horror of the tragedy this commercial depicts, Screenshot 2016-01-24 07.30.39allow me to make a spiritual application.  What is worse than losing one’s physical life because of a distraction?  Losing one’s spiritual life by being distracted by the things of this world.

I believe many think that either death ends one’s personal existence or that there will be many opportunities to “get right” with God after death.  But what if death ends all opportunities to be saved?  What if one’s relationship or lack of relationship to Jesus is finalized at death?  What then?

Your thoughts?

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Posted by on February 21, 2016 in distraction


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