“But when he (Peter) saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.” (Matthew 14:30).
Picture the scene. A raging storm, giant waves crashing against a first-century fishing boat, and the disciples on the Sea of Galilee. Imagine their terror-filled eyes as water poured over the sides, negating their efforts to bail. And then … God shows up ….
Appearing at the least likely moment, Jesus walked toward them on the churning sea with a calm assurance. “It is I. Do not be afraid” (v. 27). Twelve jaws must have dropped as the disciples, who had been totally focused on survival, were riveted by this supernatural sight ….
Hearing Jesus’ voice, Peter didn’t hold back: “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water” (v. 28). So over the edge Peter climbed and incredibly, miraculously, began to walk on top of the rolling waves. Until … he sank ….
The passage tells us why: “When he saw the wind, he was afraid.” Peter got distracted. In crisis his priority had rightly shifted from the raging storm to Jesus, but it didn’t stay there. Almost immediately Peter’s focus returned to his circumstances; and the consequences came in an instant …
I had an incident occur in my day yesterday in church in which I became distracted. And the devil used that occurrence to blur my thoughts and lose my focus, distracting me from receiving the Word and His message ….
It kept me locked up most of the afternoon, even turning my attitude sour and bitter. However, praise God, I am fairly tuned now to hear my Master’s voice quickly, and I was finally able to “cast down all of those vain imaginations and bring my thoughts captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5-6), and through prayer and repentance regain my priority for what my focus needed to be on. If I had continued along in those thoughts, I would have not only ruined my whole day, but missed the opportunity to spend precious time with my Lord …
Like Peter, the moment we take our eyes off of the Lord — we begin to sink. When our attention drifts, we lose our ability to hear His voice. The same wind and waves that jolt us into crying out to God one moment — can distract us from Him in the very” next. This is just one of our enemies tactics he will use to cause us to take our eyes off Jesus and close our ears and thoughts from His Word ….
Let’s look at a few common distractions that may be hindering your ability to focus on Jesus ….
The Comparison Distraction:
Have you been prompted to compare other people or circumstances against God’s provision for your own life? Have you found yourself comparing your spiritual walk with another’s, maybe even thinking how unfair it is that they receive blessings? Is your sense of fairness obscuring your perception of His good desires for you?
The Pride Distraction:
Have you allowed an offense to become an obstacle in the path of restoring a relationship? An obstacle from focusing on the Word? Or perhaps are your strong opinions getting in the way of being open to God’s voice and His plans for your day?
The Bitterness Distraction:
Are you bent on making someone pay for the pain they’ve caused, instead of leaving it in the Lord’s hands? Rather than pursuing peace, are you nurturing a minor matter into a major rift? Are you allowing your thoughts to filter on in your head because you feel justified in having them?
If any of those resonate, you’ve been distracted. If you can’t remember the last time you’ve looked to the Lord to direct your steps — you’ve been distracted. If you are thinking about petty occurances and offenses rather than how you may be used by Jesus — you’ve been distracted. You’re going under. Your eyes have gotten off of Jesus and onto something else. Confess it for the sin it is. Cry out like Peter, “Lord, save me”! And believe that He will, and you shall be restored ….
Today is an opportunity not to sink into distraction, but to focus on the Lord and what He’s teaching you. To trust Him to handle the hard situations …. and the simple ones too. Jesus is in the big and the small.
To release your pain and bitterness … to forgive as He has forgiven you ….
This is what life should be for growing followers of Christ: looking to God for wisdom and responding with obedience, even in the face of what may seem impossible. All the while, keeping our eyes on Jesus.
In closing, I challenge you to take a look at your challenges and ponder: what is distracting you from being focused on the Lord? If there was one change you made to your daily routine or thought life that could help your eyes stay fixed on Jesus, what would it be?
Let us pray ~
Lord God, I confess I’ve allowed myself to be distracted, and I don’t want to be anymore. Please forgive me and help me to trust you. Give me the strength and self control that I need to fix my eyes on You. Help me to keep my eyes and attention on my Saviour and not what is happening around me, so that I can learn what You want me to learn, to become who You want me to be. You deserve and are worthy of my full attention. In Jesus name I pray, Amen