“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” – Romans 7:19 (ESV)
While writing this article, I felt entirely unworthy. Like the verse above states, the things we want to do for the Lord and the things we end up doing are often very different. Today we are talking about keeping focused on the Lord, something which I fail at over and over again. Keeping your focus on the Lord is perhaps one of the hardest tasks as a Christian because it is constant and it faces continual adversity. Life happens; we get busy, we make friends, we have to set time aside for family, for work, and school. We take our eyes off of God. So very often we forget that these earthly things, although important, are not the most important things in this life.
So how do we keep our focus on God when life and this world pull our attentions every other way? There are many ways and many sermons on the matter, but there are three ways, in my experience and through God’s Word, that He has taught me in order to keep my eyes focused on Him.
Obey God’s Will
First, we must obey God in every aspect of our lives. Whatever we have, whether it is material things or gifts that God has given us, like intelligence or musical ability, they are given to us to glorify Him. As sinful beings, we want to be in control and we love to think that we can choose and shape our futures. As Ernest Hemingway put it, we love to feel that we are “the masters of our own fate.” However, as Christians, we aren`t called to think this way. In order to focus on God, we need to realize that our lives are His. We need to surrender to His will, and when we do, we will be more sensitive to the Spirit and more focused on prayer.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” –Romans 12:1 (ESV)
In this verse, Paul is bringing us to the realization that we are not our own. We are to act as sacrifices, as servants to Him. Only when we do this can we have our intentions and our priorities right.
Look for Him in All Things
Next, we need to see God and look for His purpose or design in everything. God has given me a great love for science and nature and it is in these things that I see his fine touch and brilliance. When I am in a storm, I am reminded of His power; when I see a beautiful sunset, I am reminded of how He made color simply for us to enjoy; and when I consider the intricacies of the human body, I am awed by the blatant evidence of His design.
Psalm 8:3-4 says,
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (ESV)
To focus on God, we need to realize that He is in everything.
Be Alone with God
All of these things mentioned, though, are useless if we are not praying and spending time in God’s Word. God speaks to us through the Bible and we commune with Him in prayer. The Bible inspires us to see God in everything and prompts us to continue running the good race and follow His will. It sets out clear guidelines for us that keep us on the path of righteousness. Without this, we cannot follow God’s will and we will not be meditating on Him.
This may, however, be the hardest of the three disciplines because it is here that we are challenged to have a heart change. In reading and praying, God shapes our hearts and minds and that is the last thing that the enemy, and often our flesh, wants. Our earthly desires and busy lives keep us from doing this and it is a daily struggle for me.
We must keep in mind what Paul says:
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”-Philippians 3:14 (ESV)
As Christians, we are not to be beaten down by our failures. God has cast our sins as far as the east is from the west and we are not to shrink back in fear of the future or to be paralyzed by the shame of our past. We have been freed from these anxieties; freed so that we can press on towards our hope and so that we can do our best to glorify God in our every action. We have been freed so that we can live lives for Him.
Because in that place of surrender to Him is where we find our focus.
~Guest Author Emily Doucet~