Arnold Palmer is one of the greatest golfers of all time. He won many events and was even nicknamed “The King” for his superior play. On one particular day though, Palmer recalled an important lesson he learned:
“It was the final hole of the 1961 Masters tournament, and I had a one-stroke lead and had just hit a very satisfying tee shot. I felt I was in pretty good shape. As I approached my ball, I saw an old friend standing at the edge of the gallery. He motioned me over, stuck out his hand and said, "Congratulations." I took his hand and shook it, but as soon as I did, I knew I had lost my focus. On my next two shots, I hit the ball into a sand trap, then put it over the edge of the green. I missed a putt and lost the Masters. You don't forget a mistake like that; you just learn from it and become determined that you will never do that again. I haven't in the 30 years since” (Carol Mann, The 19th Hole (Longmeadow), quoted in Reader's Digest).
For Palmer, one word and a handshake was all it took to throw him off. It’s surprising how little it takes for us to lose our focus mentally and spiritually. Sadly, our world is jam-packed with spiritual distractions. Nearly everywhere we turn we can find sin and appealing traps. How are we supposed to stay focused on God in this life? What’s the secret?
The secret to keeping spiritually focus is to center our lives on heavenly aspects. Notice the following Scriptures:
- Colossians 3:2 – “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
- Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
- Hebrews 12:1-2 – “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…”
Do we spend our time in worldliness or godliness? What can be found in our lives that focus on worldliness, materialism, and sin? If we are honest, there is probably more there than we want to admit. We must sacrifice our worldly distractions if we want to be spiritually focused; otherwise what will end up being sacrificed in our lives is, ironically, Christ. Let’s dedicate ourselves to stay focused on the Lord by filling our lives with heavenly qualities.