Retired General Robert Scales wrote in Time about a powerful lesson he learned as a young soldier in Vietnam. His First Sergeant, Dan Brown, a grizzled veteran of two wars, said, “In combat the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. Otherwise, you die.”

I think that’s great advice — not only for brave soldiers entering the fog of combat, but for Christians. We often let ourselves get distracted by good pursuits that steal time, energy, and money away from our main purpose.

The writer of Hebrews said that things which distract us are like weights which impede our progress in the marathon of life — progress toward becoming Christlike vessels; progress in sharing our faith with a neighbor or relative; progress in the development of our children and our marriages.

I think we’d all be wise to heed the simple-but-profound words of that wise, old sergeant and “keep the main thing the main thing.”

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder