Where does your focus lie? Is it in the right direction?
In this blog I want to share three thoughts with you about what it means to have a strong spiritual focus in your life, in order to overcome the bad things with the good things! The way we think, the way we believe and the way we train our minds is critical and it can have an everlasting impact on your life. Let me give you an example of what I mean. If you think you are not good enough at something, you probably will end up not good enough, because the way we think automatically affects the way we act!
I recently went on holiday, and to keep things simple and cheap, I’d booked a shared bedroom in a hostel. When I arrived, I was randomly allocated with four other people who basically stayed there for work. One night, I went to bed as usual, put my earphones in, and was listening to my favourite music. All of a sudden, I heard a loud screech and the light went on. I had no idea what was happening! Someone was yelling, “a spider, a spider“, while the person in the bunk bed opposite just stared at the wall! This was a moment of seconds, then both of them freaked out and all of a sudden I was the only one in the room, and I still didn’t know what was going on!
I thank God for the first person, who had seen a spider on the wall next to my bed! I’m not talking about a small spider either, this was a really big one, a size that nobody would wish to have by their bed. Once the two of them had left, I realised what was happening, slowly awoke from my snoozing, got out of bed and went outside too. A member of staff then came and got rid of the spider. Soon, the four people in my room packed their stuff and left. I didn’t know what was going on so I went out to ask. The response was just: “We are moving into another room“ So, at the end of all the drama, I went back to bed and had a wonderful night’s stay in this ‘shared’ bedroom on my own!
So often in life, we quickly become fearful because we let our difficulties rule our thinking. We might have difficulties, circumstances and troubles, but we are still the ones who can decide whether our lives are ruled by the troubles or whether we rule the troubles with our lives!
Three thoughts to improve your focus
Here are three thoughts of how you can overcome your circumstances, difficulties and troubles with the right focus:
1. Focus is a matter of the perspective you have
In Colossians 3:2 Paul challenges us to have this kind of mindset: “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.“ So often we are looking through the wrong lenses to the wrong thing. Sometimes we just need to turn away our eyes away from the “spiders”, and our mind and attitudes change and the problem isn`t as tragic as we imagined! It`s not the thing that leads you the wrong way, it`s the way you seek it! If we focus on the wrong things, we won`t ever step into the calling God has called us to, as the problems we seek don`t line up with the promise God has given us. Furthermore, focus has to do with both what, and how you think. As John Maxwell says: “If your thinking is limited, so is your potential!“1 I believe there is much more for us when we have the right focus with the right perspective.
Question: Where does your focus lie today? Does your focus have a positive or negative perspective?
2. Focus is a matter of being content in what you believe
John 11:38-43 tells the story where Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Arriving at the tomb, Jesus asks for the stone to be rolled away. At this point, we see two people with completely different focuses! On the one hand we have Martha, who focused on her circumstances, which was in her case the dead Lazarus and the tomb, rather than on Jesus who she knew could bring a supernatural solution. (v.39) “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days.” And on the other hand we see Jesus responding with a mindset that goes beyond an earthly understanding. It says in v. 40 “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”.
Question: Are you content with what you believe? – Is your focus directed at your daily habits, problems, circumstances or bad odours – whatever these might be; or are you focussed on the God that brings glory into your life and changes your hopeless situations from “death“ to “life”?
3. Focus will improve your faith
Faith is typically understood as focussing and hoping on the right thing. If we set our minds on right believing and we hope for the right outcome, our faith will produce good fruit and we automatically enlarge our faith. This happens when following Jesus as HE is the perfecter and author of our faith (Hebrews 12:2a, NLT). An athlete for example, wants to win a gold medal at the Olympic games.When the athlete isn`t focusing on that or doesn’t expect to win it, he probably will end up losing. It requires endurance and perseverance to train hard everyday, and unexpected and difficult situations may happen during training. It is the same with our faith because faith grows through endurance and perseverance during difficult times. If you are running away from uncomfortable situations, you will be greatly disappointed and you might miss the glorious outcomes God wants to give you! Facing a challenge isn`t easy and it can mean a lot of heartache, but it`s worth staying on the path, because the promise that God is leading you into is always higher than the price you pay!
Question: What are you running away from today? – Do you move “rooms“ or do you trust that God moves the “spiders“ for a greater purpose?
I hope this encourages you and helps you in your journey in trusting Him, so that your “faith potential” can unfold to the next level!
#Focus #blog2 #trustHim
1Maxwell, John C. Jumpstart Your Thinking: A 90-Day Improvement Plan. New York: Center Street, 2015.