It is very difficult, given all that is competing for our attention, to stay focus. Life seems to be moving at the speed of light. Fashion changes with the season. Methods become ineffective within months. Staying focus on one particular thing is viewed as abnormal and old fashion. Every six months there is a new technology and a new version is released. Satan is using this as a weapon to attack the church. He is doing so by taking us off course and causes us to compare the churches strategies and results with that of the world’s.
In Matthew 4, we read that immediately after Jesus’ 40 days of fasting was over, Satan quickly moved to distract Jesus. He was going to try and distract Jesus. This is the same method being employed by Satan today. He shows up at our low points and gives us short-cuts around God’s plan for our lives. He shows up in places we would not expect and quote scriptures out of context and apply them incorrectly just to support his point. All this is done deliberately to distract us and take us out of God’s will.
Have you ever started a ministry and shortly thereafter loosing focus? You might even made some pledges, promises and even offered to assist someone in ministry only to find something or someone causing you to back away from those pledges. You have made promises to God only to see them fade with time. Satan is the greatest architect of confusion leading to lack of focus and finally withdrawing. I hope you will recall your commitments and refocus with deliberate intention to fulfill your pledges.
The Bible says we are not ignorant of Satan’s devices ( 2 Corinthians 2:11). The first thing Satan did was to try and focus Jesus on his physical needs. He then pointed to Jesus’ ability to solved this problem. The Holy Spirit had led Jesus up to this point but now Satan wanted to have Jesus solve his need by himself.
Next he brought Jesus into the temple and wanted Jesus to tempt God. This he hope would stop Jesus from following the direction of the Father. Basically he as saying do what you want because God will take care of you.
He took Jesus to a high mountain and promised him the world and all it’s glory if Jesus worship him (Satan). Again he intended to cause Jesus to take his focus off the Father and go for the quick fame.
In the three temptations Satan intended to prevent Jesus from focusing on the mission he was on. We are often tempted with similar schemes. Fix it yourselves, God is taking too long to help me. You can sin God will forgive you. Show Off your gifts God has to honor his words. Worship others (putting them first) and receive the fame and glory.
Jesus defeated the devil thereby he gave us a pattern to use when we are tempted to loose focus. Here is what he did:
1) Jesus followed the leading of the Holy Spirit
2) Jesus stayed in prayer
3) Jesus was familiar with the scriptures
4) Jesus uses the scripture as his defense and support
Anytime you are uncertain about what to do or how to respond to temptation, turn to the Scriptures. The Scriptures are the perfect source to refocus us back to the basic mission. Let us not allow Satan to cause us to loose focus but let us be wise and alert as to the devices that are employed by Satan. Focus! Paul stated, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)
Lord as I seek to fulfill your will in my life help me to stay focus. There are a lot of things designed to take me off focus. Help me to always depend on you. Lead me to your Words when temptation causes me to loose focus.