Fully Focused :: By Holly Spate

There are too many distractions, too many diversions, too much compromise.
There are so many broken souls and shattered lives, so many wandering.
There are, quite simply, too many walking in a daze… confused and entirely lost.

The world has a cruel way of breaking us down. The rush of the clock, the enticing, tempting elements that pull our attention away, getting us off task and off track. Too many things vying for our time and, so many, a waste of our time.

We each have the same 24 hours in a day, yet our lack of focus, our need for entertainment or attention, our bad habits, our own insecurities, our running after the world’s version of success and happiness, draws us away from what’s most important and toward things of much less significance.

Our attention toward worldly things gets us off track and puts us further away from the straight and narrow road we’re called to walk… every time.

If we’re not diligent, if we’re not careful, we quickly sink. It can happen fast, and before we know it, we find ourselves walking from the straight and narrow road to the road the world walks… the wide road Christians are called to avoid.

It can be so easy to get off track… so easy to put our focus on the wrong things… so easy to compromise. Yet, we’re called as children of Christ to be in the world but not of the world.

I can say with complete honesty that I have fallen into this trap many, many times in my life. I forget what my focus should be on, where my main priority should be. I think we all struggle to some extent with focusing on what truly matters. We may focus 70-80% (many times way less), but when it comes to our faith and our relationship with our heavenly Father, we are called to focus 100%. We are called to include our Father in everything… every aspect of our lives and to constantly practice putting Him first.

I have failed so many times in this pursuit, but I keep pressing on as Paul encourages us to do in Philippians 3:13-14: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but 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.”

God is to be in the driver’s seat. We’re to be the passengers. Our focus needs to be on the driver… the One who knows the way… the One who holds the map, the One who will get us safely to our destination. He created us and knows us better than we could ever know ourselves. We’re to trust Him and let Him take the driver’s seat, not just today but every day of our lives… till we take our final breath.

When are we going to learn this lesson? When are we going to decide to be completely reliant on Him? When are we going to surrender our will for His will? When are we going to put our worldly toys away and build our life around things that really matter?

Matthew 6:19 reminds us: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.”

Most days we are soft… we don’t put on our spiritual armor… we don’t put Christ front and center. We allow our flesh to take over and lack discipline. So many days are wasted. We so often have it wrong; we should be running from the things of this world, yet we’re still running after the things of this world.

We’re called to be set apart and to shine. Matthew 5:16 confirms this: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Our Father is pretty clear when it comes to our allegiance:

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4).

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

The scriptures go on to say…

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12).

“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18).

I may be wrong, but I think part of the problem — beyond us being lazy in our flesh, distracted easily, and allowing our pride to take control — is that we have never really been taught to be in complete awe and reverence of our Father, the Creator of all.

We need to truly grasp our minds around these truths:
We are NOTHING without Him.
We have NOTHING without Him.
He took our nothing and gave us everything… His everything.

Stop and think about that. He gave YOU His everything.

You are you because of Him.
You are here because of Him.
You are breathing because of Him.
Your heart is beating because of Him.
Your talents, gifts, abilities, opportunities are all because of Him.

You have nothing without Him, but everything with Him.

John 15:5 resonates this truth: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

Did you catch that truth? With Jesus, you have everything; apart from Him, you can do nothing… nothing!

Remember He created You! Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

Psalm 139:14 goes on to say, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

I believe one of the secrets to living a centered life is to put Christ at the center. It’s also to have a healthy respect which causes us to be in awe and complete reverence of our Savior.

It’s realizing we are fragile in and of ourselves. We are helpless in and of ourselves. We are lost in and of ourselves. The prospect of hope is dark in and of ourselves. We are as dust… nothing, in and of ourselves.

BUT (I love this) we are redeemed, saved, forgiven, and have a beautiful eternity ahead because of Christ. The Creator of all creation came down and rescued us. We all need His rescuing. We all need His salvation, forgiveness, mercy. We all… all of us need Him. We need the Savior! He created us, calls us, redeems us and rescues us!

He desires and is worthy of our complete focus. We should be fully focused on Him. We should be fully surrendered to Him. We should choose each day to walk the straight and narrow with Him in the driver’s seat… leading the way and leaving the things of this world behind.

Let the following verses be beautiful reminders of God’s love for YOU. Spend time thinking about how wonderful He is and how He deserves your awe, reverence, and praise. And, as you live your day-to-day life, never forget to go about each day fully focused on the Savior. Blessings to You!

“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (Psalm 8:3-4).

“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding” (Isaiah 40:28).

“Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:5).

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

“But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:7).

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).