The other night my kids and I were having devotions together, and during that time we began to talk about the idea of focus. About the fact that in this life there are many things we can chase after to try and make us happy. Like sports, money, friends, etc. We often think if we have the things we want, we will be happy.
As we were talking about that, I asked my kids if having things can make us happy. One of my children answered by saying “yes, having the things we want can make us happy. But,” they continued, “only for a little while. It won’t last.”
We then talked about the importance of focusing on God in our life. I asked them how they can keep their focus on God in this life. Their answers were so simple…yet so true. Read the Bible. Pray. Go to church.
I shared with them that it’s important to do things that help us keep our focus on God in this life…to read His Word; to talk to him; and to make going to church, where we can worship him and learn about him and be around other believers, a priority. There will always be a lot of things in this life that we want, but we need to keep God first. And, sometimes in life, we will go through hard times that can pull our attention away from God. But even in those times, we must seek to keep our focus on God.
We ended our time by each taking turns praying that God would give us the strength to keep our focus on him, no matter what is happening. That he would be a priority in our life. (I love listening to my kids pray, especially when they say things in their own words. It’s amazing!)
What are we focused on? In our life, what do we choose to focus on the most? Because what we are focused on is what we will pursue and chase after and look to make a priority in our life.
If it’s money, we will pursue and chase after and look to have money in our lives, doing whatever we have to in order to get it. If it’s sports, we will pursue and chase after and look for sports to be the main priority in our life, doing whatever we need to make sure it comes first.
Relationships. Accomplishments. Pleasure. Whatever it is that we choose to focus on, that will be what we pursue and chase after and look to have in our life.
And the same is true of God. If we choose to make God what we are focused on, we will pursue and chase after and look to have him be the main priority in our life.
Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with having nice things, or getting things we like and want. I’m in no way saying that to pursue God and focus on him more than other things in this life means we have to give up everything and live a life of voluntary poverty. Not at all.
But we do need to ask ourselves what our focus is on first. We do need to make sure that we are aware of what we choose to focus on; to examine our self in this regard. Because what we are choosing to focus on will determine the decisions we make and the direction our life goes.
Jeremiah 29:13 says – You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
God says when we seek him with all of our heart, we will find him.
Actually, this is something that is true of anything we seek after. If we seek after money with all of our heart, we will find it…because we will do whatever we have to in order to get it and keep it. If we seek after relationships with all of our heart, we will find them…because we’ll do whatever it takes to have a relationship.
Problem is, the things in this life don’t completely satisfy. So if they are what we seek after first, we will end up continually seeking them more and more, which becomes a vicious cycle and has the potential to lead down a bad path. (read 1 Timothy 6:6-10 to see what it says about loving and pursuing money)
But when we focus on and chase after God, we are choosing what is not temporal but rather eternal. We are choosing what will always last, always be there for us, never run out or fade.
Colossians 3:2 says – Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
This verse is challenging us with this very idea…what we choose to focus on. Paul is calling Followers of Christ to choose to focus on things that are Godly as opposed to worldly things. To set our minds on things of God, not on worldly things.
(This is one of my favorite verses btw, so much so that I have it tattoo’d on my arm as a constant reminder.)
There’s a lot in this life that can steal my focus and attention away from God. Things I want, life circumstances, the people I hang out with, etc. If I am not intentionally choosing to keep my focus on God, then my focus will very easily be pulled away from him.
Ok…so how can we begin to apply this…
Begin to evaluate what you focus on the most by asking yourself the following questions:
- What are the things that dominate my mind. What do I think about the most, and are those things helping me to focus on God or pulling my attention away from God?
- What are the things that take up the majority of my time. What am I regularly doing, and is what I’m doing helping me to focus on God or pulling my attention away from God?
- Where do I choose to put my expendable resources…money, energy, etc. And are those things I choose to put my expendable resources toward helping me to focus on God or pulling my attention away from God?
- When I have a bad day (or week, or month…) what is the first thing I run to? Do I run to God, seeking him through his word and prayer, or do I run to something else to distract me and fill me?
As you think through all of these things, ask God to speak to your heart and show you where you need to change your focus. Let him lead and guide you. Be willing to listen to what he lays on your heart, even if it’s hard. Ultimately, God wants your heart to be for him above all else, and he loves you more than you can ever understand, so you can trust him as he directs you.
*This is a journey only you can take for yourself. No one else can tell you exactly want you need to do in order to focus on God more…because they can’t see into your heart. But God can. That is why I’m sharing questions to ask yourself, but then telling you to ask God to speak to your heart. This is something between you and him.*
Also, make sure you are intentional about choosing to do the things that help you focus on God. Set aside time in your day to read His Word and pray. Start small if you need to, but seek to build and increase that time (if you would like some help with this; advice, pointers, etc, feel free to leave a question in the comments and I’ll respond). Regularly attend a good church. And seek to spend time with other believers. These are all important, and can help you stay focused on God.
What you focus on most will determine what you will pursue and chase after and look to make a priority in your life. And that will determine the decisions you make and direction you go in this life.
As you seek to Simply Follow Christ in this life, you must be willing to evaluate what you focus on so that you can make sure your focus is on Christ first. Otherwise, it will be very easy to allow your focus to shift to other things, making it hard to follow after Christ because you’ll be following after those other things.