Straight Ahead

Proverbs 4:25 Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.

I was in the middle of a really nice prayer time. God’s presence was tangible to me, and in my current season I don’t feel it as much as usual. As I was reading scripture and saying it aloud, a great refreshing came like a tall glass of ice water in the summer heat.

Wasn’t it awful when they did ____?

That popped in my head.

When they said ____ wasn’t it hurtful? Wrong?

Then this.

It says to love one another. That wasn’t very loving!

Then that.

And then there’s the messages.

Did you hear…?

Textbook lashon hara (evil speech.) Praise God I’ve learned from my mistakes.

(If you like to gossip and tear people down, don’t bother communicating with me. I have no tolerance. I realize people need someone to pray with and vent to. But if a person isn’t truly trying to live uprightly, I don’t have time or energy for it.)

You need to read this.

Someone was angry about something and wanted me to agree with them.

Let’s skip past the creepy messages that get filtered (thankfully) in my “other” folder.

The post.

I saw later on a Facebook post that a friend received a critical, accusatory message. They typed up a well articulated, heartfelt response. I get it. I’ve been there. But it’s unnecessary.

The conversation.

My husband vented to me about something he was bothered by. After a few minutes I said, “I know you love them. You haven’t said this in a long time. Could we say a prayer?”

We said a prayer. I didn’t know how to respond. Normally I can give fairly fast responses. But I was at a loss.

When I had some peace and quiet before bed, I really cried out to God. Something didn’t feel right about that day. My peace was gone. I couldn’t point to why. Then a word came to my spirit.

Distractions.

A distracted person is a useless one.

We have a purpose: love God, love people. There’s a very real enemy of our souls that wants to keep us from fulfilling it.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

If you’re a believer, the only person that can keep you from your purpose is you. Regardless of what’s happening to us or around us, we have a responsibility to grow and emulate Messiah.

But we can’t do that when we’re distracted.

Distractions come in many forms.

  • Thoughts
  • Messages/conversations
  • Situations
  • Anxiety/worry
  • Stress
  • Lust
  • Jealousy
  • Bitterness
  • Anger
  • Doing things for God vs spending time in His presence

Ministry positions are riddled with distractions. Priorities can easily get out of whack if not careful.

I told my husband the next day about everything I specifically experienced. I believe God gave me the word “distractions.”

He nodded.

I agree.

These past few days I’ve been pressing in for an answer. How do I respond to distractions? Better yet, how do I avoid it as much as possible? It can’t be totally prevented but I have been searching for some type of antidote.

I found Proverbs 4. Verse 25 says to “look forward…straight before you.”

Straight ahead.

I want to encourage you to not get distracted or put your focus on the waves around you. Look ahead…and up. Look at the Author and Finisher of your faith (see Hebrews 12:2.)

Our feelings follow our focus.

Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Remember…

1 John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

When we pray according to His will (we know His will by His Word and understanding His character) we will get answers. God is in charge of the when.

In the meantime, thank Him for His love and faithfulness. Keep looking straight ahead.

P. S. Amy Grant has an album and song titled Straight Ahead. It used to be one of my favorites.

Proverbs 4:20-27 ESV My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.

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