This past Friday, June 15, 2012, Nik Wallenda became the first person to walk across the Niagara Falls on a high wire. Others have crossed the Niagara River, but none have walked directly over the falls. The awestruck crowd, numbering in the tens of thousands, watched as Nik made the 25 minute, 1,800 foot journey along the swaying cable suspended 200 feet above the raging Horseshoe Falls (the largest of the three falls that make up Niagara Falls).
It would be a huge understatement to say the crossing wasn’t easy. As Nik described it, “That mist was thick. It was hard to see at times…..the wind was wild. It would come at me one way and hit me in the front, and then hit me from the back.” As for the distractions, including wind gusts and helicopters, Nik said, “I’ve trained all my life not to be distracted by distractions.”
As I read Nik’s thoughts concerning the distractions it reminded me of our lives as Christians. Along our journey to heaven we encounter countless distractions that vie for our attention. Countless distractions that would cause us to lose our focus in life. For some it may job responsibilities or financial issues. For others, it may be the pleasures of this world. I suspect that for many these distractions may be innocent enough, not sinful in themselves, but become so when we allow them to draw our attention away from God.
How should we respond? By training all our lives not to be distracted by distractions. The apostle Paul wrote, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3).
Like Paul, we must continually press for the mark, never taking our eyes off the prize. “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you” (Philippians 3:12-15).
For Wallenda, giving in to distractions would undoubtedly result in physical death. For Christians, giving in to distractions will undoubtedly result in something far worse – an eternal separation from God.