Some of my friends wear bifocals, even trifocals! I, though, only wear single-vision lenses. Oh, its not because the others wouldn’t help me; they probably would. I’m just too stubborn to give in and wear them. So far.
Those of us who are vision-impaired may find humor in ourselves or friends who hold documents far from their faces while trying to read, because we understand the problem. Sometimes trying to find the exact spot where documents become legible is an exercise in dogged determination — if not futility! But proper eye-wear brings things into focus. What a blessing to have these devices. What a tragedy, though, when we lose spiritual focus. Lines get blurred about moral choices — or religious practices. We make our decisions for the wrong reasons, because we do not see clearly. How can we prevent this lack of insight in our lives and keep God and His word sharply in focus? As usual, the Bible has the answers!
Focusing with godly priorities
Some lose focus, because their priorities are out of order. Work, family, school, God, friends, civic duties, etc.. All of these are important. But having these in the wrong order is disastrous.
Some quit serving God due to work or family. Some become neither the Christian nor family member they should, because they put family above the Lord. The truth: we love others to the best of our ability when we love God most of all (Mark 12:28-31).
Focus on being the best version of you by focusing first on your Creator, Sustainer, and Savior. “…seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness …” (Matt. 6:33a).
Who among us doesn’t want to lower our weight or cholesterol or go on a relaxing vacation or improve our golf swing or retire comfortably in X number of years or …. Well, you get the point. While there is nothing wrong with these, focusing spiritually is even more critical. In a section where Paul expounds the importance of maintaining a godly influence, he wrote, “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit“ (Rom. 14:17). Focusing spiritually honors God, strengthens us, and helps those around us see the Lord more clearly. So, go ahead and finish that project around the house, but do not allow any earthly project to cloud your vision or commitment to the Lord. He deserves our greatest devotion and respect.
Professional athletes — and even amateur musicians — know a few things about diligence. Building skill, endurance, and the ability to play with a team/orchestra take hours of practice, dedication, commitment. Natural abilities help, but there are no Michael Jordans or musical virtuosos without focus and diligence. The same is true of us as Christians. While it is true that, “Grace and peace” are “multiplied to you in the knowledge of Jesus” (2 Pet. 1:2), unless we take time out of our busy schedules and put effort into learning of and following Him, we will never truly know Him. “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3), and He has “given to us exceedingly great and precious promises” (v. 4), but unless we are daily “giving all diligence” (v. 5) to add to our faith the qualities that please and honor Him, we will “become shortsighted, even to blindness” (v. 9). That is why Peter declared it imperative for us to “be even more diligent to make your call and election sure” (v. 10). Only then can we receive the abundant entrance “into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord” (v. 11). Professional athletes and musicians understand these principles in regard to their crafts. So must we in regard to our walk with Jesus.
Focusing in practical terms …
This is not rocket science. We know that growing in Jesus requires reading and studying the Bible, prayer, being active in a sound congregation, consistency in worship, and being a servant to others. We need no elaboration here. Where do we fall short? We get so busy with important things that we forget about God — the most important one of all. We allow our non-Christian friends’ — or erring Christians’ — good qualities to soften our stance about basic morality (social drinking, immodesty, profanity, etc.) and erroneous religious practices (sprinkling for baptism and mechanical instruments in worship and the like). We are blinded by our desires to be entertained to such a degree that we make compromising choices about what movies we see, music we listen to, books we read, and even choosing sporting events over worship on Sunday or Wednesday. We need to focus — personally. Truly meditate on scripture and, in your mind’s eye, see Jesus on the cross. Reflect upon how He did this for your sins. Make a list of people with whom you can share the gospel — then broach the subject with them. Open your eyes to those disciples who struggle spiritually and ask one to dinner to open the door of opportunity to helping them become stronger. There is so much to do. May we open our eyes and be true disciples, focusing on Jesus and the mission He gives us.
The last few years at my annual eye exam, Dr. Kris has asked me about bifocals. So far my reply: “No” — each time. But I know the time is coming when I will give in.
May we never exercise such stubbornness in “following” the Great Physician of our eternal souls. Listen to Him. He will lead us along the clear path to heaven. “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law” (Ps. 119:18). Focus. And follow Him in faith and devotion.
written by Shane Carrington
Sulphur Springs, Texas