WHO or What Are You FOCUSING On?
Life is a Journey. It has different seasons, views and experiences. The last eight months of the virus has impacted our country and everyone, from children in school to seniors. The last few months of the election process is still going. Both have and are impacting us. How do we keep our focus?
Unlike a treadmill or track, we’re not going in circles, but rather – proceeding down a road that leads to a destination. We all have a God-given destiny that differs, but we can all focus on the Lord and will arrive at the final destination described as Heaven, as we follow Jesus.
In the midst of this journey, we can choose WHO or WHAT we focus on. Perhaps you’re like me in that I can too often focus on the negative, instead of the positive; see what’s wrong, instead of what’s right; can be more self-focused, rather than God-focused.
WHO We Focus On Is Often More Important Than WHAT We Focus On
Focus, like anything else significant in life is a CHOICE. That’s why some individuals can endure adverse circumstances and remain joyful, while others with good circumstances will remain negative. As the popular cliché says, “We’re as happy as we want to be.” Who can make us joyful? Is joy really our goal in life, or is it a by-product of flowing in the Holy Spirit as listed in the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22?
Some will dismiss this prevailing thought by saying, “Ed, you can’t live in denial of what’s transpiring in our country and world today.” No, we all know denial, and denial is not a river in Egypt. Jesus said, "I have told you these things, so that IN ME you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
May I make a few suggestions on WHY we need to keep our primary focus ON THE LORD, instead of self or circumstances?
Focusing on Him gives us DIRECTION. When we’re driving down the road, there are numerous distractions: other drivers, cell phones, road signs, stoplights and landscapes. Have your distractions ever brought you across the center line, or on the shoulder of the road? In the midst of driving, my primary focus is still on whatever is directly ahead of me. Yet, we all know that driving also encompasses on what is further down the road than the car ahead of me. We make continual adjustments in order to proceed down the road safely. What direction are you going today? Is your focus leading you to make positive choices about the direction He has for you, your family and your future? How easy it is to have an accident, or miss our turn because we were distracted or lost our focus? Question – who or what is distracting you today? Without “intentional” focus we lose our direction.
Second, Focus often determines our ATTITUDE or joy in life. Sometime back when a person was complaining to me, I responded by asking, “What is it that you’re looking for in life, in family, in church…. to make you joyful or happy?” They couldn’t give me a clear answer. May I suggest that many of us don’t know what will make us joyful, because we’re too often “self-focused, instead of God-focused.” Self or flesh can never bring about genuine joy, or joy that lasts. In worship, we often focus on what we like by preference in music, but worship has “more” to do with the attitude of “our heart” than music. Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and PLEASING to God — this is your spiritual act of WORSHIP.” (NIV) “… Which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship (AMP). Who am I focused on in my worship, God or me? Who am I trying to please? Is my life a living sacrifice and to whom am I sacrificing my life to or for? When I lose focus, I lose my joy. Question - what does your joy gauge show on your spiritual dashboard? Is it full, empty or possibly lukewarm?
When I Lose Focus, I Lose My Joy…….
Third, Focus helps us maintain PERSPECTIVE. On this journey of life, like driving – circumstances are continually changing. Without perspective, mole hills grow into mountains, minor becomes major and insignificant can evolve into significant. As we focus on HIM in the midst of an ever-changing landscape, we can keep the urgent from replacing the important! Any student of the Bible can see obvious prophetical changes in our world. Do we focus on Him or the circumstances? What is God doing at this time in history? What is He saying? What does He want me to do? He is still Jehovah-Shalom, the God who is our Peace. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my PEACE I GIVE you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
Since Jesus is the author and finisher of my faith, our “challenge” is to stay focused on Him on this journey of life. We have all stumbled, fallen or missed the mark at some point on this journey, yet through His Grace we can all finish strong. Have you ever seen films or an advertisement of a boat race portraying a long slender boat with men rowing oars on both sides? Each man has only one oar on one side. The next man has an oar on the opposite side of the boat. The men are straining to stay synchronized pulling those long oars through the water. If that team is going to win the race, they have to all labor diligently. Their backs are to the finish line. How can they finish strong when they can’t even see the finish line? They focus on the man in the back of the boat. He’s the guy with the megaphone seated facing the crew. He knows where the finish line is. Each man listens to him; obeys his commands and relies on him to coach them to the finish line. He paces them, encourages them, and guides them to victory.
We’re like those men in the boat pulling the oars. We don’t know where the finish line is, nor are we fully conscious of everything going on around us, but we can finish our journey strong by keeping our focus on Jesus Christ!
FOCUS On What God Called You To Do, Not What People Think God Called You To Do