Athlete, Narrow Your Focus


Athlete, Narrow Your Focus

Bryce Johnson

Psalm 18:8 (NIV)

I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Few things in the world are as dangerous to an athlete as distractions.

Countless teams have failed to accomplish their goals because their players have gotten distracted by outside influences. Sometimes teams even end up losing games because they are too busy being distracted with thinking about other games that will happen later in the season. 

If teams don’t remain focused on the task at hand, focusing on the present moment, it will almost certainly keep them from ending up where they want to be.

As followers of Jesus, many of the “failures” we experience as we attempt to faithfully and obediently navigate life happen as a result of distractions. However, many can be avoided if we narrow our focus.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV) tells us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder, and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

This passage remarkably connects believers laying aside their sins with the action of “looking to Jesus.” The more we focus on who Jesus is and what He’s done for us, the more we walk in obedience because we delight ourselves in Him.

A similar concept can be seen in Psalm 16:8 (NIV) regarding how we remain steady while facing trials and difficulties in life: “I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

While it’s good for us to be aware of the various temptations and challenges in our lives, our primary means of fighting well (“wanting to win”) against those difficulties isn’t to thoroughly analyze the things we’re trying to avoid. Instead, it’s to be so enamored with the glory of Jesus that everything else begins to pale in comparison.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV) says, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

In other words, the more we focus our attention on Jesus, the more we become like Him!

So today, let’s intentionally narrow our focus to gaze on Jesus, disregarding the distractions, and trusting that He utilizes these efforts to bring about spiritual growth in our lives.

Reflect: What are some things in your life that have a tendency to take your focus away from looking to Jesus? What are some steps you can take today to better focus your attention on Jesus?

A prayer to consider: Heavenly Father, please forgive me for all of the times I get distracted by things that pale in comparison to Your glory. Help me to keep my eyes focused on You so I might live a life pleasing in Your sight. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

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