Becoming distracted is easy. As a pastor, this is just as true as it is for everyone else. Becoming distracted is easy. It is even more comfortable, it seems to be distracted from God’s calling and from remembering His providence. Elijah highlights this issue in 1 Kings 19:1-8 as he has just seen God’s mighty hand and was emboldened to call for the death of false prophets who had mocked God. He moved from being brave and standing firm to one who was fearful and desiring death because of the word that Jezebel was seeking to kill him. I can relate as I have witnessed God’s hand and then the actions of another have brought me low. It is incredible how easy it is to lose focus on what God is doing. That is the importance of realizing that our faith is not dependent on us. It is God who gives faith. Yes, He desires for us to always turn to Him first, but He realizes the brokenness of who we are. He sent us Jesus precisely for this reason. If we could keep our focus on what God desires by our own ability, then there would be no reason for Christ to have died on the cross for us. He would not have needed to enter into Creation at all. Since the Fall, this is a reality that we all struggle. Paul speaks to this problem since it is easy to be distracted by the things of this world. Unfortunately, we more often are influenced by the things of this world instead of being the ones affecting our friends and loved ones by our unswerving faith in Jesus Christ. Some will try and separate themselves from the world and place themselves on pedestals pointing out the errors and flaws of those that are caught up in the sins of this world. This is no more helpful than those who try and excuse their sins and act as though God may approve of them so that they feel better about themselves without ever truly knowing the fullness of the forgiveness that Christ desires for them to feel.
Jesus came to the people that had witnessed the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes as well as the healing (John 6:35-51) and reveals to them their blindness to what God was doing. The offense that they feel is an offense at trying to make God fit into the right box. It is easy to feel offended or bothered when the Gospel is fully revealed because the Law will reveal for us the need for the Gospel and if we feel that we have it all together on our own to have it revealed that we don’t is quite offensive. It can make us feel judged. We don’t like to have the chains binding us revealed but are prideful that we aren’t bound by anything. When I have lost focus, God has been gracious. That doesn’t mean that there wasn’t pain. I have been hurt by people that I had held in high esteem. God is good, however. He redeems and renews me. He heals me and helps to refocus my heart on what is essential. It is humbling but renewing. May your heart be renewed in Christ’s love.