STAYING FOCUSED

Focus: To make an adjustment of the focal distance to make a clear image; center of activity for attention; to fix on one object; concentrate.

In focus: clear; distinct; sharply defined

Focus isnít a 'Biblical' word in itself; but the principal of focus is a very important Biblical concept and one that is essential to meeting our
 spiritual goals and fulfilling the destiny that our Heavenly Father has
 for us in His plan for our lives.

Paul wrote relative to this in Philippians 3:14-15: "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." Paul purposely set his focus on what he
 knew was the most important thing in the world to aim toward...the
 'prize'--that he knew awaited at the end of the race (1 Corinthians 9:24).
 He determined to not be distracted from achieving the goal. He went
on to say that he kept his body and brought it into subjection in order
 to keep the goal in focus (9:27).

Any photographer knows that he must select the object he desires to
be the focal point of the picture and brings that object into clear focus, at
the expense of peripheral objects becoming indistinct. One definition of
 focus is to sharply define something. When the photographic focus is
sharply defining a particular object, it will cause the surrounding area
to be less distinct, even 'fuzzy.'

Spiritually speaking, it is of utmost importance that we keep the correct focus, lest we lose sight of our goal. So many things clamor for our
attention, 'Focus on me' that if we arenít vigilant, we can lose our focus
of what is important. Priorities must be set in concrete or we will keep
shifting them around until we forget to focus on number one. When we prioritize our focus on Jesus Christ, all other priorities dim and fade in importance.

We will steer toward what we have focused on. A test of this can be done while driving an automobile. Caution: This test should be done on an
isolated road with no other traffic or it could be very dangerous. On a
straight stretch of road, locate an object off to one side and keep your eyes on it as you drive. You will invariably begin to steer toward that object
which could be could catastrophic or even fatal.

It is a fatal mistake to lose our focus on Christ. That will result in
dangerous living here on the earth and cause us to lose our eternal 'incorruptible crown' (1 Corinthians 9:25). As long as we keep the goal
in our central vision, we will steer toward it; then we can safely continue
our journey toward the prize that Paul spoke of. If we become distracted
by Satan, fleshly desires or lifeís problems and lose our focus, we will
surely end up in a crash. It requires diligence and discipline to keep our
eye on the road ahead and not be distracted with the negative things that divert our attention. We canít go forward looking in the rear view mirror.
We canít stay on the road if we are concentrating on what is happening
on the sidelines. Good, responsible driving requires giving full attention
to driving safely. Successful Christian living requires diligence in keeping
our focus on the pre-set priority of seeking God first and following his directions for the journey.

David gave the Israelites good advice in 1 Chronicles 22:19, "Now set
your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God..." 'Set your heart'
as in unmovable, unchangeable determination to seek the Lord. Jesus
said if we would seek, we would find (Matthew 7:7). We donít accidentally stumble upon intimacy with Jesus. It comes as a result of focusing on
what is the most important thing in life and pursuing that above all other priorities.

Aaron, pleading with Moses for Israel, partly to excuse himself for his
part in erecting the idolatrous golden calf, said, "thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief." (Exodus 32.22). They had proved what
Aaron said about them was true by forsaking God who had delivered them from Pharaoh and setting up an idol to worship instead. God had provided
an escape for them and was bringing them to the Promise Land. "Behold,
 I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them
and to their seed after them." (Deuteronomy 1:8). The lost their focus.

When the focus went, faith followed it out the door and disaster ensued.
The exhortation to Israel in Deuteronomy 26 was to help them keep their focus: "Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A
blessing, If ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day; And a curse if ye will not obey the commandment
of the Lord your God." The choice was theirs to make. They could focus on blessing or curse and reap the benefits or consequences. One has only to read a few chapters in this portion of scripture to see that the focus was to
be a long-range one. Their future and the future of their children depended
on their making the right choice and focusing on obedience if they were to reap blessings. After giving the lengthy exhortation, Moses concluded by saying "Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this
day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words
of this law." (Deuteronomy 32:46).

Set...establish your hearts. That advice is still timely. "Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God." 1 Chronicles 22:19. This is the focus that will bring blessings. But if the setup is not to seek the Lord, the consequences will surely follow. "But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them." (2 Chronicles 7:10-20).

The Lordís promises to guide, protect and care for us hinge upon our
keeping our focus on Him. We obtained our salvation from His mercy
without any self-help, but he wants us to continue walking in faith and in an intimate relationship with Him so He can bless us for continued obedience. Loss of focus will cause us to think that we have to do battle by our selves, which is a sure way to lose. When we 'set' our focus on Him, we can be assured of victory, because "Ye shall not need to fight in this battle; set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, for
 the Lord will be with you." (2 Chronicles 20:17).

This warfare does not belong to us. It is Godís war and we are in His army. That being so, it is His responsibility to equip us to be successful. He has provided us with sufficient amour and ammunition. "Put on the whole amour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, loins girt about with truth, breastplate of righteousness. feet shod with preparation of the gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, praying, watching." (Ephesians 6:11-18). This equipment tells us that the battle is not ours. If we were fighting a fleshly battle, we would require different weapons; but our weapons would be absolutely powerless in the battle we wage in the Lordís war. Itís important that we keep focused on the armor that God has provided and depend on
 it to be successful.

The Psalmist said "He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings."
 (Psalm 40:2). "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." (Colossians 3:2). Psalm 78:7 desires "That they might set their
hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his
 commandments." The scriptures are replete with admonitions to be set, established and focused to prevent our forgetting what is really important
in this life. God has "set His love on me." (Psalm 91:14) and proved that
love by sending Jesus to atone for our sins. How could we do less than
keep our focus on Him who is our savior, provider, protector and desires
 to be intimate with us.

Isaiah was totally focused when he said, "I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed." (Isaiah 50:7). Daniel, realizing that the time was nearing for his people to be freed from the bondage that their sins had brought upon them, said "And I set my face unto the Lord God, to
seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes." (Daniel 9:3). That commitment brought the angel, Gabriel, to give him
more revelation of future events. Knowing full well that the cross awaited him, Jesus focused on Jerusalem "he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem," (Luke 9:51). Nothing would be able to deter Him because
he was totally focused on His mission.

We would probably be shocked and dismayed at what we have missed if
we could visualize what we could have accomplished if we had just been totally focused on Jesus. "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of
our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne
of God." (Hebrews 12:2).

Itís never to late to begin anew. "It is of the Lordís mercies that we are
 not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness." (Lamentations 22:22-23). New, every morning! Every day is an opportunity to begin anew with Godís mercy
freshly dripping from us.

Ready, aim, FOCUS!

Delores Adams
Copyrighted. All rights reserved.
1/25/03


 

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