Summary: You need to move from: 1. Pragmatism to passion. 2. Being fractured to being focused. 3. Wandering to living life on purpose.

Men are notorious for being distracted. Most of us could qualify for having ADD — Attention Deficit Disorder. In fact, I heard about a guy who was so distracted over one thing and another that he had to have his wife tell him almost everything. One day his wife came into the room and said, “Here’s the sweater you asked me to find.” He said, “Are we going somewhere, or am I cold?” That would be funny if it wasn’t so close to home. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked into a room and asked myself what I am doing there. I knew that I came there for a reason, but it was beyond me what it was because I became distracted by something else.

It is hard to remain focused isn’t it? Life for many consists of rabbit trails rather than highways. They are always on the move, but not really getting anywhere. The distractions of life dictate their decisions and control their schedules. We make a lot of plans, but get very little done. The phone rings. We need something at the store. We want to check our email. We get caught in the web of the internet following a story, looking up something, blogging, reading other people’s blogs, checking the weather, looking to see if the Buckeyes are any closer to a championship, or just catching up on the news. The kids need to be dropped off, and then they need picked up. Something needs cleaned or repaired. A stack of books are begging to be read. Even making lists of things that need to be done is a distraction. The problem is that it all seems important, or at least necessary. Our lives are filled with the urgent, and we have no time for the eternal. We have tended to a million little things and left undone the big things. We have filled the day with things that do not ultimately matter and left undone the things that do matter. We have done what seemed necessary and neglected what was essential. Days turn into months and months into years, and our lives have become trivialized by distractions.

How do we escape this ruthless cycle of distractions which keep us from what life was meant to be? Let me suggest a few things. First: You need to move from pragmatism to passion. Pragmatism is doing something because it gets results or it works — at least in the short run. It is more practical to get your needed rest than it is to get up a little earlier and make time for God. It is more practical to make the expected compromises at work than to take a stand for what is right. It is easier to go along with what everyone else is doing and thinking than to be different and have a biblical mindset. It seems more practical to meet all the demands of a hectic schedule than to eliminate some things.

Pragmatism is doing what works to get you through life with the least resistance. Passion is the craving of a heart that wants to experience the fullness of life no matter what the cost. Pragmatism has little goals that ends in a little life. Passion is being committed to a cause that is bigger than yourself and end in a large life. Passion is fire in the belly. It means that your life is defined and directed by exalted goals and purposes that have engaged your heart and are directing what you do with your life. It means something is driving you that has captured your will and set it on fire. You are not being pushed around and driven by the world; you will settle for nothing less than God’s best for your life.

It is very difficult to overcome distractions if there is no fire in your belly and you have not been captured by what Thomas Chalmers has called, “the expulsive power of a new affection.” This magnificent new obsession expels all unworthy affections and attaches itself to what is high and holy. I think this is why the Holy Spirit is symbolized by fire. The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives creates passion — a passion for God, for righteousness, for rightness, for life. It makes all other passions seem unworthy and undesirable. When that happens we find that we are not just passing through life, we are grabbing it for all its worth.

One of the things I enjoy about my grandchildren so much is their natural enthusiasm for life. Somehow we lose that as we grow older. The cares of this world, the routine of life and the concerns we carry put out the fire. That’s why we need to come to the fire every day to get rekindled. We invite the Holy Spirit into our lives every day to renew and ignite the fire in us again, because we don’t want to go dragging ourselves through life, we want to be victorious over it with a new enthusiasm for the things of God and for life itself.

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John Williamson

commented on Aug 19, 2008

Great sense for the big idea, good illustrations - but "where''s the beef?" I can''t find one word that addresses the historical context or the specific instruction(s)of the text.

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