4 Ways We Can Overcome Distraction & Focus On Jesus
Ever started looking online for something only to realize – much later – that you don’t even remember why you started looking? This happens to me all the time.
Especially on Facebook. Just the other day I was planning on looking at a friend’s profile before I emailed him so that I could genuinely take an interest in his life. But 15 minutes later I found myself looking at some random link about an emotionally-stunted iguana trying to find his birth mom. (OK, that last part might be embellished, but you know what I mean.)
The point is that it’s so easy to get distracted. When that happens online here and there, it’s no big deal. But when we consistently lose sight of Jesus, it is. In my last post, we talked about 5 clear signs that we’ve become distracted and veered off course.
This time, we’ll continue our study of Luke 10 and discover four ways we can overcome distraction and stay focused on Jesus, even when life is pulling us in a thousand different directions.
4 Ways We Can Stay Focused On Jesus
Here’s our passage again for easy reference.
38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
1. Jesus sees our failures but is incredibly patient anyway.
‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled with many things…’ Jesus could have called Martha out and compared her to Mary, but he’s gentle with her failures. We can trust him to be gentle with ours, too.
2. Jesus points us back to what matters most: Him.
In verse 39, we read that ‘Mary… sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching’. As Martha ran around like a crazy woman, Mary enjoyed slow, unhurried time with Jesus. This was the one ‘necessary’ thing (42) for Mary – and us. Although we can’t see Jesus, he really is with us through the Holy Spirit. And although we can enjoy time with him in heavy traffic or while we’re changing a diaper (possible stretch there), we need regular time where we’re just focused on him. No internet, no kids, no schoolwork, no… nothing.
3. Jesus invites us to delight in him.
It’s good to understand, on an intellectual basis, that Jesus is ‘necessary’. But Mary had to come to delight in Jesus, to actually enjoy him. Mary knew that Jesus was ‘the good portion’, ‘the right meal’ as one commentator puts it. Think with me about your favorite foods. Is it just an intellectual exercise for you? I hope not! No, a good meal is a sensory experience that engages all of us. And it’s not a duty, but a delight. We need to ask Jesus to change our hearts so that, like a great meal, over time we come to ‘taste and see that the Lord is good’ (Psalm 34:8). As that happens, we’ll find it easier to sit down and spend time with him.
4. Jesus wants us to choose him.
Even though Mary had come to enjoy Jesus, notice that spending time with him was still a choice. She had ‘chosen the good portion’ (Jesus). She had to say ‘not now’ to the easier, more obviously productive options in front of her like cooking and cleaning. Quality time with Jesus will require us to make the same sort of sacrifices. For example, I often need to pry myself away from reading articles about the Philadelphia Eagles and their latest exploits. What do you need to defer so that you can choose Jesus?
Two Ways To Live
This passage offers us two ways to live. Life Number One isn’t bad in and of itself. It’s full of busy, productive preoccupation with good things, but hasn’t set aside space for Jesus. Life Number Two is still productive, but is peaceful because it’s centered around Jesus because he is necessary and beautiful.
I pray that, over time, God gives us grace to live lives that are increasingly focused on him.
Let’s live it out: Which of the 4 principles above would most help you focus more on Jesus? How could you practically begin to live it out in your own life?
For further reading, check out my first post on this passage, which covers five signs we’ve lost sight of Jesus.
It’s also worth checking out Alan & Gem Fadling’s excellent site, Unhurried Living, where they help us overcome the chronic hurry of our everyday lives and stay centered on Jesus.