For Christ followers, I am convinced that the source of all our discouragement, frustration, and depression is the result of taking our focus off of Jesus. As soon as we revert to our selfish nature, looking at ourselves instead of Him, everything starts to go a bit haywire. Each of us has been uniquely designed by God. We have all been given talents, skills, and passions to use to further His Kingdom. When we begin to live in ways that are not consistent with whom we were created to be, we slip and wander.
Satan does everything he can to cause this to happen. He tempts us with visions of a better, safer, or easier life. He entices us to fill our lives with things other than Christ. He is the master of distraction, and if we give in to his lies, we will find ourselves frustrated, discouraged, and perhaps even sinking into the depths of depression.
Maintaining focus on anything for an extended period of time is exhausting unless it becomes so ingrained in us that it becomes second nature. The reason focus often drains so much of our energy is because we are doing something complex or unfamiliar. Jesus promised that He was simple, not complex (Matthew 11:30). If we practice spending time with Him in prayer and learning about Him through studying the Bible, He will become quite familiar to us. It is because we have encumbered ourselves with so many rules and “do’s and don’ts” that we believe following Him is going to be too hard. It is because we neglect spending time with Him we are unfamiliar with Him.
Once talking with Jesus and obeying His commands becomes second nature, it will be far easier and less taxing to keep our focus on Him. Until we reach that point, Satan will continue to bombard us with distraction. He’ll worry you about your health, your job, your money, and your safety. He’ll convince you that you need the trending clothes, gadgets, cars, and lifestyles. He will put whatever he can put before your eyes to distract you from following Jesus. It’s his only strategy. Sometimes it’s as seemingly innocent as a small purchase and sometimes it’s as devastating as an affair or business decision that will forever alter your life. It doesn’t matter to him. As long as he can distract you from Jesus, he has won.
When we focus on ourselves, we forget who it is we were created to be. We chase after things that are not part of God’s design for us. When we aren’t living as the person we were designed to be, we become frustrated, tied in knots, and conflicted. We’ll get discouraged because the efforts of our own designs often fail. If we do this too long, we will become depressed and find it ever harder to come back to God. This is the moment when Satan, the master of distraction, is most pleased.
The way to avoid all of this – to keep frustration, discouragement, and depression at bay – is to keep your focus on Jesus. Get to know Him better. Talk with Him. Study about Him. Above all, obey Him. Be the person He created you to be, a person who loves God with all their heart and soul, and who loves everyone else in the same way (Luke 10:27). Love God and serve people. If you will do just those two things, it will go a long way towards helping you live as the person He created you to be. Don’t get distracted; stay focused and you will find the peace and abundant life Jesus promised to you.