Updated: Sep 23, 2020
Are distractions a problem? Michael Hyatt shares in an article 10 Practical Ways to Focus Your Mental Energy
“I can’t imagine living in a more distracting time in human history. Hundreds of cable channels, millions of Web sites, and the constant pinging of email and social media all compete for our attention.” 
I agree that our lives are extremely crowded. Add to this bills, laundry, grocery shopping, sports events and practices, any number of things that compete for our time, and if we are not careful can become big distractions.
As a Christian, we know there are certain things we need to do and to incorporate into our lives both daily and weekly if we want to remain faithful in the Lord. We should be meeting with the Lord’s Church for both worship and fellowship (ref. Acts 20: 7; Acts 2: 42). We need to be devoted to the study of God’s Word (2 Timothy 2: 15). We must be dedicated in our prayers (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We need to be caring for others (James 1: 27) and sharing the hope we have in the gospel of Christ with our friends and family (Matthew 28: 19-20). These are but a few things we are called to and called to do in the Lord.
Often though, the problem is not in understanding what we must do. We know what the Bible teaches us as Christians concerning walking faithfully in Him. Most of us, I believe, have a desire to serve the Lord faithfully. We have a desire to “…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” as Peter says in (1 Peter 3:18). I don’t think the problem, for the most part, is our desire or willingness to serve the Lord, but the many things that can distract us in our day. Our days are crowded, and it is often the case that serving the Lord, studying His Word, and being devoted to prayer, get pushed back because of the distractions.
As we plan our day, with all the distractions of our schedules, our faith seems to not be so pressing, at least for today.
We list out the tasks that must be completed each day. In doing so, we struggle to get them all done. In our day, distractions will happen. As they happen, our faith seems to not be so pressing, at least not for the moment. Our faith is pushed back until we have more time. The difficulty though is with all the distractions, we never seem to have more time. Faith often gets neglected.
What can we do? We are not going to eliminate distractions. With life will come distractions. Our lives are complex. Our days, as we manage families, carriers, any number of tasks that need to get done, become complex. What we can do is learn to deal with distractions by applying godly wisdom.
The Church at Corinth is often associated with its many problems and sins. Yes, they did have many things to overcome. Sexual immorality, divisions, favoritism, disorderly worship to name a few. Corinth was plagued with distractions. As a result of the sin and distraction, they were not growing and maturing in the Lord as they should. Although we may have a tendency to look at this Church with somewhat of a negative view, I am thankful for their example found in the Scriptures. It helps me understand that the Church is not made up of people with perfect lives who never struggle with sin. They did and we do. However, the apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, provides direction for the Church and for us today—applications that I think can help us in dealing with distractions.
1 Corinthians 1: 4-9 (New King James Version)
I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Paul focuses the church on God’s faithfulness, “God is faithful…” (1:9).
The Lord “…has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1: 3). He is faithful to not let us fall. Later in this letter (1 Cor. 10: 13) Paul records, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
Where is our focus? We are called into communion, fellowship with our Lord. When distractions begin to swirl around us, it is easy to lose our focus.
Temptation can be a distraction. With temptation, God is faithful to provide “the way of escape.” We recall the time when Jesus was tempted for forty days in the wilderness (Lk. 4: 1-13). This example demonstrates to us that every person will be tempted. But how do we handle temptation? How do we avoid temptation becoming a distraction that pulls us away from our focus? Jesus could have exercised His Divine authority to put an end to His being tempted. He could have performed a miracle. In dealing with temptation, Jesus relied on the faithfulness of God and His Word. Dealing with distraction, we need to focus on God’s faithfulness. How often are we tempted to rely on our own strength instead of His faithfulness?
In dealing with distraction, remember we are “…called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1: 9).
Where is our focus? We are called into communion, fellowship with our Lord. When distractions begin to swirl around us, it is easy to lose our focus. Notice (Mark 4) where Jesus and some of His disciples set out in a boat as a great windstorm came on them.
Mark 4: 35-41 (NKJV)
On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
The disciples became distracted. They had taken their eyes off of Jesus and were focused on the wind and the waves. Their concerns were so great that they feared they would perish. They did not realize that the One in the boat with them could calm the wind and waves.
We are called to communion with Christ. We are to abide in Christ (ref. John 15: 4). But we also notice in this passage that as we abide with Christ, He is with us. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (Jn. 15: 5).
As we deal with distractions, we need to remember who is in the boat with us; One greater than the wind and waves, Jesus Christ our Lord whom we are called into fellowship with.
So, then how should we deal with distractions?
First, rely on the Lord’s faithfulness. It is tempting to think we can handle everything of our own strength instead of being confident in His faithfulness.
Second, among the whirlwind of distraction that blows through our lives each day, don’t lose our focus on the Lord. Remember Christ who calms the wind and storms.
As we learn to deal with distractions by trusting the Lord, we will be able to free up at least some of our time. Hopefully, as we do so our commitment to the Lord will not be pushed back to another day.
1. Scripture references: New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
2. Hyatt, Michael. “10 Practical Ways to Focus Your Mental Energy”. July 10, 2017, michaelhyatt.com/kill-distractions/, Accessed: Feb. 16, 2019.
bio: Steve and Brenda have been married for the past twenty-seven years and have three beautiful daughters. In addition to producing content for and managing SimplyRevised, Steve is the preaching minister at Southbelt Church of Christ located in Pasadena, TX.