5 Powerful Habits to Overcome Distraction
Don’t get consumed by…what was that?
I love the scene in Up when the dogs are on the chase and one of them sees a squirrel — “squirrel!” Immediately they give up the chase to focus on the squirrel. ‘Squirrel’ has become a synonym for distraction in our house.
It is easy to become distracted by both emergency and minor issues. And sometimes the distractions have a way of becoming our focus! As we follow Jesus, we are bombarded with worldly ideas as well as spiritual ideas that drive us from our true objective. The church in Thessalonica had a similar problem. They were distracted about some kind of controversy surrounding the Day of the Lord.
The Day of the Lord is the day everyone has been looking forward to for centuries — the day Jesus returns and establishes justice and righteousness. It is a day of judgment and the eradication of every kind of sin and evil.
Paul corrected the church in his first letter to them and helped them get back to where they needed to be and what they needed to focus on. When we are beset with distractions, we need to listen to the advice Paul gave to them and now gives to us.
But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:8, 11)
We belong to the day which means we live in the light! God is light, without any shadow. Jesus is light. Living in this light, allows us to see all spiritual truth. How do we live in the light? Paul gives us five habits to engage in.
The Habit of Sobriety
This scripture says we should be sober and it literally means to be sober — not drunk. In other words, we should never be overwhelmed by the influence of alcohol. Instead, we must be self-controlled, clear-headed, and discerning.
The Habit of Faith
We are saved and sanctified by faith. By faith, we discern the presence of the Spirit in our lives. We don’t live by what we see but by what God reveals to us. Prayer is the very language of faith. When we put on faith we realize that the reality of the unseen is greater than the reality of the seen!
The Habit of Love
Love actually starts with God’s love for us. Then we return that love to God. We express love for God in worship and adoration. Part of love is also spending time reading God’s love letter to us — the Bible! This helps us to learn more about him and about us. Love also envelopes obedience. Jesus called obedience the evidence of love (John 14:15). It is our expression of love to God. To love God is to trust him enough to be completely obedient to him.
Of course, we must love one another as well. To truly love one another changes our lives and the lives of those we love. This love we have for one another is just like the love God has for us: it is unconditional. He freely gives us this love so that we might give it to each other.
The Habit of Hope
Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines hope as ‘to desire with expectation.’ The Wesleyan Dictionary of Theology says biblical hope is ‘a sure confidence that what God began to do in Christ, he will complete.’ We could look at hope as being the emotional cousin of faith. Hope sustains us. We have a very specific hope: the completed work of salvation, escape from this world and eternity in heaven.
The Habit of Encouragement
According to Chambers Dictionary of Etymology, the word encouragement comes from Old French en — cause to be + corage — courage. It is the opposite of discourage which also comes from Old French des — away.
Encouragement actually gives us courage to move ahead! We can express it in many ways, with one thing in common — it builds up. A simple test of encouragement — do your words give courage or take away courage?
Today, identify the distractions that are keeping you from growing spiritually. Replace these distractions with these five habits! And keep moving forward!