Lesson 5, Digging Deeper 1
In Progress

Stay Focused by Chris Miller

Recognizing The Distractions

The work to rebuild the temple of the Lord came to a halt (Ezra 4:24). For the next 16 years the work that had been commanded by God would remain unfinished while daily life for the people of Judah would continue. Imagine what the scene must have looked like with only the temple foundation and altar at the site. Life must have seemed to follow some type of normal routine as a society sees their own houses and marketplaces rebuilt, and all while the house of God remained unfinished. How could anyone be so selfish? How could a people completely take their focus off the main thing they were commanded to accomplish? It was all due to the temptations associated with distractions.

Ezra 4:1-5 states that it was the non-Jews living in the land who discouraged the people of God. How was that possible? After the release, the journey, and the gratitude the people of Judah must have had for their God, yet to so easily take their eyes off the task at hand. It illustrates how powerful distractions really can be.

As Christians, what are some of the most common distractions that we face? Anything that takes our focus off God is a distraction that must be overcome. The first thing that must happen for us to stay focused is we each must recognize what things in life have the potential to distract us.

Accomplishing The Tasks God Has Given Us

When God is our focus, every aspect of our life is rooted in and impacted by His will. Think about a wagon wheel. In the center of the wheel picture the hub representing the main thing in life, the Lord. Each spoke represents different responsibilities in life such as work, school, hobbies, family, and so on. When our focus is right, every single part of life goes back to the hub, to God. That means, for example, at school it is evident that God is your focus. It impacts everything from the way you talk, what you talk about (the Great Commission), how you dress, how you give your best to making good grades, and how you compete in athletics. Unfortunately, some take God from the center and place other things, like athletics or popularity in that place. This is about staying focused on the Lord in everything you do.

Following Haggai’s call to refocus in Haggai 1:1-7, God’s people began the process of finishing the temple (Ezra 5:1-2). Haggai knew that the people needed motivation to finish the work and that is exactly what he did (Haggai 1:8). It took the people approximately 4 years to complete the temple (Ezra 6:14-15). What was supposed to have been completed years earlier was delayed because of a loss of focus on the task at hand.

How many of us are better at starting something but fail to see it through to the end? Consider your ways! The time to do something for the Lord is right now. Finish the work. Stay focused.