Nehemiah made a decision to rebuild the wall. The moment he decided to do something for the Lord and His people, opposition came.
The enemy came in the form of men. The enemy called Nehemiah and the people weak. The enemy mocked them. The enemy told them what they couldn’t do. The enemy sent threats. The enemy tried to set a meeting with Nehemiah to harm him. The enemy even lied on him. But despite all of this, Nehemiah and the people finished rebuilding the wall.
Some of the people that came into your life were not sent by God. They were sent by the enemy to distract you, cause you to lose focus, get you sidetracked, slow you down, stop you, get you discouraged, bring fear and to stop you from finishing what you started. They were also sent to pull you away from God and good works rather than push you toward Him.
We all have lost focus at one time or another. I know I have, but if you’ve lost it, you can get it back.
If your right hand makes you stumble and leads you to sin, cut it off (Matthew 5:30, AMP).
We have to learn to cut off anything that keeps us from finishing. I know what it’s like to hold on to relationships because I didn’t want to be alone or because I wanted to feel accepted or loved. I was so afraid of losing something that I began to lose the joy and peace that God gave me as well as respect for myself. And unfortunately, I began to spend less and less time with God.
The distraction doesn’t always come in the form of a person, but whatever the distraction is – if ‘it’ causes you to sin, if it causes you to disobey God, if it takes you away from spending time with God – cut it off!
It is always important to be focused when you’re behind the wheel, but I try to be even more focused when driving to a place that I’ve never been before. I don’t even like to answer my cell phone while I’m driving because the only voice I want to hear is, ‘In one mile, turn left’ or ‘You have reached your destination’.
Because I don’t know where I’m going, I have to trust the voice of a woman on my phone – who I don’t know and have never met – to take me to a place that I’ve never been before. To reach my destination, I must pay close attention to her instructions and follow them.
It’s the same way with God. We have never been where God is wanting to take us, but we have to trust that He knows the way. In fact, He is the Way. All we have to do is obey His instructions.
When Jesus asked the impotent man if he wanted to be whole, he was really asking the man to make a decision. The man told Jesus that he had no one to put him in the pool when the water was troubled, but then he makes a surprising statement. But while I am coming, another steps down before me (John 5:7).
Wait a minute.
His problem wasn’t that he couldn’t move. His problem was he kept stopping. His problem was he kept getting distracted. Have you ever noticed that the moment something new is about to happen in your life, the old comes? Old things. Things that God delivered you from. Old boyfriends or girlfriends. Old ways.
Old things are nothing but distractions. Distractions come to confuse you, to take you in many directions (except for the right direction) and to keep you from possessing the thing that God has said He has given you. This man was at the right place. He was near the pool. He was so close, but he was more focused on the people than the pool.
The old wants to keep you from entering into the new. It is waiting and seeking for an opportunity to enter back into your life, but this time you will be wise and not foolish. You will no longer be taken advantage of by the enemy. Though you may stumble, you will not fall. You will please the Lord.
The enemy only brings old things. He may use a different person this time, but it’s still the same old thing. Just remember…you are new.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17, KJV).
Therefore if any man be in Christ, let him be a new creature. Old things are passed away: behold, all things are become new (GNV).
Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence (GW).
Keep your eyes focused on what is right, and look straight ahead to what is good (Proverbs 4:25, NCV).
Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions (MSG).
There was a lady who had just separated from her husband. He moved on – with another woman. She, on the other hand, had a hard time moving on – with life. One day, she was traveling, but to get to her destination, she had to pass by the house that she once shared with her husband. When she saw the house, those things that were hidden in her heart – anger, rage, unforgiveness, hurt and bitterness – sprung up. Because she was so focused on what was on her left (or right), she didn’t see the road construction workers that were straight ahead and almost injured them – and her.
On Easter Sunday, we talk about what Jesus endured from Pilate’s palace to Golgotha. We talk about how He was spat on, hit on the head, mocked and beaten, but the truth is that from the time Jesus was born, He was under attack. The devil wanted to destroy him at a very young age. For Herod will seek the young child to destroy him (Matthew 2:13b). A lot of male children in Bethlehem from the age of two and younger were killed, but God watched over his word to perform it. The devil tried, but he couldn’t kill what was written and prophesied. The scriptures would be fulfilled.
Proverbs 4:25 tells us to look and keep looking straight ahead. We are to focus on our purpose and not get sidetracked by distractions (those things that take our attention away from what God wants us to do). The writer of Hebrews tells us to look to Jesus as our example (12:2). Consider what He endured and study how He endured it. He focused on what was set before Him, not behind Him. He knew His purpose. I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10). For I came down from heaven, not to do my will, but the will of Him that sent me (John 6:38). Did He ever get tired in his body? Did He feel abandoned? Did He think about giving up? My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46). Father, if it’s Your will, take this cup of suffering away from me; yet not my will, but your will be done (Luke 22:42).
He went through what He had to go through here on earth and now He is there seated at the right hand of the throne of God – and I believe one of the ways He got there was on a road called Forgiveness. Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34). He didn’t regard iniquity in His heart. His heart was clean. He didn’t hold any grudges. He wasn’t focused on who did Him wrong or who didn’t believe in Him or who hated Him. Those are just distractions. I don’t believe Christ would have done great works had he not forgiven. He wouldn’t have had a successful and powerful ministry had he not forgiven.
There was a time when Paul asked the church to not only forgive a brother in the Lord, but to comfort him so that he wouldn’t become bitter, discouraged and unable to recover. Please show him now that you still do love him very much (2 Corinthians 2:8, TLB). Let us not be like the servant who was forgiven and released from his huge debt, but refused to forgive the small debt of his fellowservant (Matthew 18:24, 28). If God forgave us of much, we should be able to forgive others of little. When you do this, you don’t give Satan an opportunity to defeat you or to take advantage of you (2 Corinthians 2:11).
Some people face hard times, but they don’t allow what they are going through to affect their relationship with God. They keep believing God. They keep trusting God. And then you have those who become weary and faint in their minds. I think whether it be hard times, difficult times or times where it seems like nothing is happening, they all have a way of revealing what we are really after – and it’s not always God’s own heart.
Ask yourself this question, What am I after? When the Holy Spirit begins to reveal the truth, repent of the things that shouldn’t be in your heart. In the meantime, do not turn to the right or to the left. Don’t turn away from the word of God. Don’t give up. Why quit when you haven’t even begun to do all God wants you to do yet?
You’re on the right road. Stay there. Look straight ahead. Don’t lose focus, don’t deviate or veer off and don’t get discouraged that the road you’re traveling on is only found by a few (Matthew 7:14). If you stay on the straight road long enough, whatever is crooked in you shall be made straight.
May you be strengthened daily with might by the Spirit of God in the inner man. Be encouraged and keep looking ahead.