According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day in the United States nine people die and more than 1,000 suffer injuries in crashes involving a distracted driver. Three main kinds of distraction cause accidents: (1) visual: taking your eyes off the road, (2) manual: taking your hands off the wheel, and (3) cognitive: taking your mind off the task of driving. Drivers lose focus when we eat or drink, use a navigation system, or turn to talk with passengers in the back seat. Texting on a cell phone combines all three kinds of distraction (visual, manual, and cognitive), and if you’re driving 55 miles per hour your car travels the length of a football field in five seconds.
Distracted driving is part of a bigger problem: distracted living. Conflicting demands and random bits of information bombard us daily: news updates, weather alerts, emails, text messages, phone calls, and social media posts. The results are distracted listening (we don’t give undivided attention to people we love) and distracted worship (it’s hard to quiet our souls and pray).
Missing the Mark
One of the words translated sin in the New Testament is the Greek hamartia—an archery term for being off-target. In the Iliad, Homer used a form of this word to tell about a man who tried to strike his opponent with a spear but missed the mark. The Greeks also used hamartia to describe a person who loses his way while traveling on a road.
Sin moves us off-target, pushes us off course. God made us to be holy, but sin makes us unclean. God created us to be free, but sin enslaves us. Someone has said, “Sin blinds you, then it binds you, then it grinds you.”
Another word for sin is trespass, to step out-of-bounds where we’re not supposed to go. “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way” (Isaiah 53:6). God created us to live with integrity—with a core purpose that pulls everything together into an integrated whole—but sin pulls us apart. No wonder our lives seem so fragmented and scatter-shot. We’re busy but disconnected as we juggle all the messages the culture throws our direction.
Finding Our Way
In Isaiah 30:21 the Lord exhorted his people to stay focused: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” This is the way—to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbors as ourselves. This is the way—to bear maximum fruit for the glory of God. This is the way—to follow Jesus and help others follow him too.
Jesus’ assertion in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life,” not only lays out the formula for salvation in Heaven. It also points the way to a well-integrated life on earth. Whatever targets we pursue, Christ should be the bullseye. He is the pathway we walk, the truth who defines reality, and the life who provides fuel for our journey.
The devil tries to distract us with many detours, but Christ is the highway to life. Let’s keep our eyes on the road.
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Lesson study ©2018, Christian Standard Media. Print and digital subscribers are permitted to make one print copy per week of lesson material for personal use. Lesson based on International Sunday School Lesson, ©2013, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.