Do you know why a lion tamer uses a chair? Because the 4 legs in the face of the lion causes him to lose his focus and renders him powerless. The lion keeps going around and back and forth from one leg to the other; and because he is unable to focus, he is tamed by a much less powerful creature. Satan, a much weaker creature, wants to tame you and render you ineffective by bringing countless distractions before your mind and robbing you of focus.
Jesus was very focused on His purpose and reason for being, and He dealt severely with that which would distract Him from that purpose. When Jesus explained to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and there suffer and die, Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, telling Him this would not happen. Refusing to lose His focus, Jesus turned to Peter and said, Get behind me Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God but the things of men (Matthew 16:21-22). Jesus would not lose His focus!
Losing one's focus can be costly. I recall watching the 100 meter dash in the 1984 Summer Olympics and saw a stunning example of how costly it can be to lose focus. The number 1 and number 2 ranked sprinters in the world were in the race and all eyes were on them, for they were very evenly matched. The gun sounded and they raced towards the finish line. The number 1 sprinter was slightly ahead as they approached the finish line; but as they crossed the finish line the number 2 runner edged in front and won the race by the tiniest fraction of a second. I will never forget the announcer saying that just before runner number 1 crossed the finish line he looked to his side to see where his competitor was positioned; but in doing so it took something off his stride and allowed runner number 2 to edge in front. He lost his focus and it cost him the race.
Jesus exhorts Peter to not lose his focus. The above story reminds me of how Jesus, in John 20:22, exhorted Peter not to lose his focus by being concerned with what John would do. In this post-resurrection appearance, Jesus exhorts Peter to, feed My lambs! He also tells Peter about how he will die and concludes the exhortation with a focused command, Follow Me! At this point Peter is distracted by John and says to Jesus, But Lord, what about this man? Jesus replied, If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me! In other words, it is none of your business, Peter, what John does. You keep your focus on following me and doing what I have called you to do.
The business world has discovered the power of focus and in his excellent book, Good to Great, Jim Collins says that what separates great companies from good companies is that the great ones have found a focus, i.e., a purpose toward which they channel all their energies to be the very best they can be. Find your focus and don't lose it!
Paul succeeded because he refused to lose his focus. In spite of beatings, imprisonments, shipwrecks, weariness and persecutions, he never lost his focus. May our attitude for 2014 be like his as expressed in Philippians 3:13-14. In this passage Paul admits that he has not arrived, but then says, But one thing I do, forgetting those things that are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Paul refused to lose his focus.
There will be distractions in 2014 that will come into your life to take you away from your purpose and reason for being. I exhort you and encourage you; don't lose your focus in 2014.