January 17, 2017
READ: Philippians 3:1-21
I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize (vv.13-14).
Students of a large university have a funny way of distracting opposing basketball teams during free throw attempts. They place a “curtain of distraction” beneath the basket in plain view of players on the opposing team. Just prior to shot attempts, the students open the curtain to reveal something unusual like dancing unicorns, a purple-haired “grandma” waving a cane, or a lion wearing a tutu. Recently it was US Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, wearing his gold medals while pretending to swim.
The player missed both free throws.
A curtain of distraction may be entertaining, but there’s a serious “curtain” in our lives. What interesting thing does Satan use to distract us from our goal? It could be a cell phone that sucks up all our time, a friend who’s leading us away from Jesus, or a job that promises to give us everything if we give everything to it. Do family or friends say we’ve changed? The curtain of distraction may have caused us to take our eyes off the goal.
Paul says it’s not just good things—in his case being a zealous Jew—that can distract us from Christ (Philippians 3:5-8). It can also be the bad mistakes we’ve made. Are you weary of Satan pulling back the curtain to reveal a sin from your past? It could be an arrogant moment or unkind word, a bald lie or sexual sin. The memory is whistling, waving its hands, and wearing a tutu.
While the evil one wants to distract you, the Holy Spirit is there to remind you that your past sins have been forgiven. Thank God for His grace. Then, “forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, press on to . . . receive the heavenly prize” (vv.13-14). Raise your eyes to Him today!
365-day plan: Genesis 27:1-40
Read 1 Corinthians 9:19-27. How can we sharpen our focus on Jesus?
What’s your biggest distraction as you strive to follow Jesus? What can you do right now to refocus on Him?