When I was a young girl, I rode horses with my cousin, Beth. When she was prepping her horse for shows, Beth would often add blinders to the bridle of her horse. Horse trainers believe these blinders, also called blinkers or winkers, keep the horse focused on what is in front of him, and encourage him to pay attention to the race rather than other distractions, such as crowds. Now, I’m not a horse, but at times my heart sure does wander and get distracted from what really matters. It makes me think that I could really benefit from some “soul-blinders.”
You see, I have this distraction problem. At times I look around at what others are doing, being, and accomplishing and feel ineffective, unproductive, and unnecessary. When I’m distracted it becomes harder for me to trust God. There. I said it. It’s not pretty, but it’s true.
When do I have this problem? When I look around instead of looking to God. (How bizarre! I even know the answer to my problem … and I still struggle with it!) Do you ever do that? Do you compare yourself to others and, as a result, determine that there are great deficiencies in your life? Do you ever feel like you don’t measure up to those around you? Join the club. I bet we all struggle with this at times.
The good news is that God doesn’t leave us without direction or help. He gave us His Word, the Bible, to direct our thoughts, behaviors, hearts, minds and souls – to be our soul-blinders! Scripture reminds us of this in Deuteronomy 5:32-33: So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.
God inspired King Solomon to say it this way in Proverbs: Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and to insight, “You are my relative” (Proverbs 7:2-4, NIV).
Ahhh … and the light bulbs turn on!
When we look to the LORD – to His plan for us – to the one that is unique to each of us, we will prosper. And when we look to the right and to the left, we lose our focus, we worry about comparison, we become distracted and we fail to trust God and His Word. So, like Paul, let’s press on. Forward. With a gaze committed to the path ahead – not to the path that is behind us or on either side. Sister, like the apostle Paul says, … I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14, NIV).
Today, I pray that you will join me in asking God to give us soul-blinders. Because when we turn our eyes upon Jesus and look full in His wonderful face, the things of earth — the distractions, the comparisons, and stuff that causes us to lose our focus – will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. Our faith and trust in God will blind us from all these earthly concerns.
Dear God, thanks for giving us the Bible to direct us in life. I ask that You would put blinders on my heart so that I will be solely focused on living for You. I pray as the psalmist does: “I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws” (Psalm 119:104-106). Please help me to fully trust in You and follow Your ways.
In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
REFLECTION TIME: Evaluate what people or things might be distracting you from God’s best and keeping you from fully trusting in Him. Spend some time in prayer about it.
How much time have you been spending in God’s Word each day? Each week? Each month? Consider adding ten minutes to your current commitment for one week. Ask God to give you a greater clarity of His plans and direction for your life and the faith to trust in His plans.
RESPONSE TIME: Ready to commit? Make a public declaration by posting this comment below, “I’m in for the ten minute challenge!” Then add ten minutes of Bible reading to the time that you already spend with the LORD. I know it will bless you big!