As you probably have gathered about me, I like to fancy myself as a writer. I don’t know what the exact qualifications are to make such a pronouncement. I write for this site, and my first book is going to be published very soon. I don’t know if I can fully wear the title of writer, but it is something that I certainly enjoy doing.
There is one thing that I must have when I sit down in front of my laptop in hopes of producing something that others will want to read: silence. I have to be in a quiet environment if I want to be productive. The reason for that is because I become too distracted too easily. If I hear other people talk, my dog bark, or any other noise, then I begin to lose my concentration. This doesn’t just go for noises. If I see that I have a text or an email, I start to wonder about it until I check it out. If I get on the internet to look something up, I often begin to pop over to unrelated sites. Before you know it, I have spent a significant amount of time not doing what I had set out to do.
This is a me thing; I’m fully aware of that. It’s not uncommon to see people working at coffee shops and restaurants. I am baffled at how they can do this. I would get distracted by every person who would walk through the door. My issue is that I have a problem keeping myself focused on the things that matter. I become too easily absorbed with the things that don’t matter.
I think that we all have this same struggle in our faith. We quickly become distracted by the things that don’t matter to the point that we set aside the things that do. If you don’t believe me, look at all the petty things that we argue over daily. We want to focus on the things of this world instead of what our mission is in this world. Colossians 3:1 says, “Therefore, if you have been raised with the Messiah, keep focusing on the things that are above, where the Messiah is seated at the right hand of God.” That is what our focus needs to be on.
When we become distracted with other things, we cease our work in building God’s kingdom. That’s because most of the things that distract us are divisive. In his final moments before being arrested, Jesus prays what has come to be known as the High Priestly Prayer. One of the things that he prays for is that all future believers would be “one” (John 17:21). How are we doing at that? Is there anyone that would argue that the church (in the US and global) is united? I don’t think so.
I believe that the reason for this is that we have become far too distracted with the things that won’t last eternally. I cannot imagine that God is going to judge anyone’s salvation based on their theological system or political leanings. No, it’s going to be based on one’s belief in Christ— that’s it. We will also have to give an account of how we spent our lives (Romans 14:12). What a shame it will be if we have to explain to God why we decided to be divisive instead of striving towards unity.
I am not saying that you are not allowed to have your set of beliefs. The problem occurs when those beliefs supersede that which we should really be focused on— building God’s kingdom. Hebrews 12:1-2 reads:
We have to guard against becoming ensnared by the things that do not matter eternally. They serve only as a distraction from the work that we were called to do. Every minute that we spend arguing and dividing over such things is a minute not spent on growing God’s kingdom. We must turn off the noise and turn away from the things that are drawing our eyes from Christ. Only then can we be what Jesus desired for us: united.