How do we win against it?
What's the secret?
Focus? Is it really that simple?
Simple ... might not be the best word to use to describe anything in our lives. At least in mine.
Even focus is not simple. I'm a mess of focuses: kids, house, meals, schoolwork, classwork, homework, work work, teenagers, college student, college admission process, church, health, sleep, family, friends, car, stuff, and stuff, and stuff ...
I just want to focus on Jesus alone, but all the other things in life seem to edge into my vision.
"Therefore, since we are encompassed with such a great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Let us look to 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 seated at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:1-2).
It sometimes feels that I can't really get my focus on Him alone because there is just so much to do—how in the world do I do it?
Maybe the problem isn't the focus point (Jesus) as much as what I think focusing means. What does focusing look like?
I usually envision it as something akin to prayer on my knees, Bible study, and time spent fellowshipping with others.
That can't be what focusing on Christ means because I can't stop everything else in my life to do that and that alone. We would be the most ragamuffin family ever ... not to mention we'd probably starve!
Alright, so what does it look like?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:4 came to mind: "Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
It made sense to me that that would be a way to focus—rejoicing, praying, thanking.
If I'm rejoicing, I must be focusing on Christ, who is my Savior.
If I'm praying, I must be focusing on Jesus, who is working in my life.
If I'm thanking, I must be focusing on Jesus, the source of all things in my life.
It just makes sense.
So maybe in some ways it is simple. It is simply living my life with my mind focused on who Christ is, what He has done and continues to do, and thanking Him for it all!
Good golly! We are brought back again to the gospel!
If our focus is on Christ, we cannot miss the gospel and its impact on our lives. We cannot lose our focus, because our lives are so covered by the gospel of grace.
Each day begins with the knowledge that I am saved, that I am blessed with another day to serve, that I am loved beyond measure, that I am forgiven, that I am precious to my God.
Each day continues with the sustaining strength of the Holy Spirit working in and through me to bless others. If I am praying and thanking Him throughout the day, I find myself more aware of how and where He is working. My focus is on what He is doing through me, rather than what I am doing for me.
Each day is covered with the grace of God. How can I begin to thank Him for that? How often do I just want to crawl into a corner and weep for my sinfulness? For the way I spoke to my child, the facial expressions I used, the anger I showed, for the thoughts I had that were unkind, the muttering and complaining that spilled from my mouth, the temptations I gave in to, the judgment, pride, and arrogance that invades my heart sometimes ... oh Lord, how is it possible you love me so much? I'm so very unlovable.
And yet, I AM so very loved.
The view I'm taking right now ... and I pray it will continue into the next 5 minutes ... even into the next day!
Is the view of Jesus my Savior.
Jesus, who is my life.
Jesus, who is my peace.
Jesus, who is the author and perfecter of my faith.
Sue Birdseye is an author and single mom of five kids. Her book, When Happily Ever After Shatters (Tyndale House) is in bookstores. This is adapted from her blog, uptomytoes.com
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