Recently, I had two friends recommend to me the same book. When this happens, I am likely to do a little background research to see if I want to purchase it.
The book is titled Deep Work by Cal Newport. He examines the ramifications of living in a world that is fraught with technological distractions. In such an environment it is difficult to develop the mental habits of sustained concentration.
Unfortunately, many people today tend to be occupied with checking their Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts, or emails to see if anyone has sent us something. For others, television serves as their drug of choice, causing them to be entertained by throwing their mind in neutral rather than engaging it with something like reading a book. These mental habits prevent people from developing the habit of sustained mental concentration.
One day, Cal Newport had his eyes opened when he was influenced by an academic named Adam Grant. He was intrigued by the insane amount of work this professor was able to produce. He published many more articles than did his peers who also taught at elite universities. The reason? He discovered that to produce at your peak level you need to work for extended periods with full concentration on a single task free from distraction” (p.12-13). This is what he calls “deep work.”
The principle of deep work can be applied to one’s Christian walk too! How? One way is to read an entire book of the Bible in one just sitting. Sometimes we read a few chapters out of the Bible, then set it down. When we pick it up again, we have forgotten what we read. The next day we trudge along to read a few more chapters and set the Bible down again. We continue the same process again and again until we finish the book. Despite reading the entire book, we failed to grasp its truths.
However, when we read a book of the Bible in one sitting, we are far more likely to grasp the truths of what the book is trying to convey. It will require the necessary mental concentration to do so, but it’s worth the effort. The fruit of such an endeavor (deep work), is that God will do a “deep work” in you and me.