Are you easily distracted or deceived?

by Rev. Jack Richards on April 21, 2023


Are you easily distracted or deceived? 


I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” … I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had prophesied against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me.    Nehemiah 6:3,12,13   NIV 


Yogi Berra was a well-known catcher for the New York Yankees. Hank Aaron was the chief power hitter for the Milwaukee Braves. These teams were playing in the World Series. During the game, Yogi was known for his ceaseless chatter. It was intended to inspire his teammates and distract the opposition. As Hank Aaron came to the plate, Yogi tried to distract him by saying “Henry, you’re holding the bat wrong. You’re supposed to hold it so you can read the trademark.” Hank did not say anything. At the next pitch, Aaron hit it into left field for a home run. As he rounded the bases and tagged up at home plate, he looked at Yogi and said, “I didn’t come here to read.” [M. Boice, Nehemiah, Learning to Lead, Revell, 1990]  Hank Aaron knew how to avoid distractions in order to win. Do you? 

To do your very best at anything, you have to be able to identify distractions. Nehemiah was committed to building the wall around Jerusalem. He declined four invitations to meet with a man who appeared to be a peacemaker. [Nehemiah 6:4] This person was intentionally trying to distract and maybe even harm Nehemiah from completing his goal. You have to be aware of both unintentional and intentional distractions that would interfere with you achieving your goal.  

What are the things that prevent you from giving full attention to what you know you should be doing? Whether you are laying bricks or working on a project at work, you need to be able to identify the distractions that lead you to lose your focus. What is interfering with you achieving your goal? They are either external or internal distractions. The external things are small like your wandering mind, family, TV, food, and particularly your cell phone use [talk, texts, vibrate etc.] Then there are the internal things. They are big like hunger, fatigue, sickness, worry, daydreaming, and unwanted people who intentionally distract you. Nehemiah dealt with his distractions. He was not easily misled. As you read in the Scripture focus, he knew his goal and he knew how to keep his eyes on the goal. What he was doing was far more important than having a picnic with some man who did not identify the purpose of the meeting.  

Know how to deal with distractions. Follow these steps:   

  1. Know your goal - have a clear focus.  
  2. Make a plan – write a to do list.  
  3. Control your externals and internals - ask God to give you divine insight.  

Not only avoid distractions but also spot deception. Distraction often births deception. Os Guiness tells the story in his book, “The Devil’s Gauntlet.” about Soviet President Nikita Khrushcev describing a time when there was a great deal of petty theft going on in the Soviet Union. Guards were stationed at factories to curtail the problem. In a Leningrad timber factory, the guard knew the factory workers very well. One man came out with a wheel barrel which was filled with a big sack of something that looked very suspicious. The guard questioned the worker about its contents. He responded that it was sawdust and shavings. The guard required him to tip it out. What he saw was only sawdust and shavings. The worker was allowed to put it all back again and go home. For a very long time this continued. It greatly frustrated the guard to the point that he became more curious than frustrated. He promised the factory worker he would not do anything to him if he identified what he was smuggling. The worker said to the guard, “Wheelbarrows, my friend, wheelbarrows.” The guard knew he was being deceived but did not know how. The poor factory worker knew how to deceive in order to make more money. Do you know how to spot deception when you are doing something very important? There are people who will not want you to succeed at accomplishing your goals.  

Deception is when someone leads you to believe that something is true, but it is really false. It misleads you. You are given a false impression. In the above Scripture focus, Nehemiah was deceived by a so-called friend, Shemaiah, who appeared to want to protect him but really desired to destroy him. Tobiah had hired him to deceive Nehemiah who was able to spot the ulterior motives because God gave him divine insight. When doing something great, you must be aware that there will be distractions to avoid and deception that must be spotted. How important it is to daily commune with God!  

Make your life count. Combine your faith in God with your God-given common sense. Like Nehemiah, do great things every day, every week, and every year. Whether you are baking a pie or building a skyscraper, do something great. Like Nehemiah, learn how to AVOID DISTRACTIONS AND SPOT DECEPTION. Know your goal. This keeps you focused.  Make a plan as to how to achieve your goal. Strategize and then organize your work. Always beware of distractions and deception. There are so many things that will come your way to divert you from doing great things. It will take prayer and effort. Like Nehemiah, you can complete your projects with God’s help.  


  1. What are the external and internal things that can distract you? 
  2. What can you do to guard yourself from being deceived?  


Heavenly Father, thank You for the privilege to be able to do great things that will bring glory and honor to YouGive me divine insight as to how to AVOID DISTRACTIONS AND SPOT DECEPTION so that I will be able to accomplish what You want me to do. AMEN 

Tags: god, old, testament, deceived, distracted

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