Friday, October 31, 2008

Focus In The Right Direction

Lately my focus has been (as I like to say) "out of whack." My focus has been rather negative...paying too much attention to negative words, to things that aren't going my way, and to circumstances that are not just as I would have them to be. I wouldn't say that I have had a pity-party for myself, but I have come awfully close.

So to "cure" my negative focus, I have tried to do several things. I have done the things that are within my human power to focus on the positive. I have spent time with my wife and enjoyed a special date with her. I have spent time with my children and enjoyed their laughter and innocence. I have spent time with my parents and in-laws and basked in the love that they have for me. Time with all of these wonderful people helped, but when I went back "to the grind," my mind was still focused on the negative.

Deep down I know what my problem really focus has been taken off of Christ. I have turned my inward attention from the Light to blindly stare too long in the darkness. Yes, I have prayed. I have studied the Bible. I have spent time with God. However, I spent more time looking in the wrong direction than I did in the right direction. To say it another way, I let other things crowd-out the joy of Christ. I let circumstances speak louder in my heart and mind than the eternal promises of God. I let negative words that are temporary have more weight in my life than the everlasting Word. I let the presence of negative things turn my attention away from the presence of Christ.

I came to this realization after reading these words from 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 (NIV) - "For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him." The part of that verse that spoke loudest to me are the words - "God did not appoint us to suffer wrath..." I had allowed my focus to be turned away from "living together with him (Christ)." I had focused my attention on wrathful things...negative things...forgetting that Christ lives with me NOW and that my life is defined by His promise/presence and not by the negative circumstances of earthly life.

Today and every day I am praying for the grace to focus in the right look to Christ. I pray that in some small way this bearing of my soul will help you focus in His direction too.