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Adjusting Your Focus

I like to grab my binoculars when I see a new bird in the back yard and try to identify it. To do that I have to adjust the focus to have the clearest view to examine the markings. I think it is also necessary from time to time to adjust the focus of our thinking. Ask yourself, "Where does my mind tend to focus? Do I spend much time dwelling on the past? Are they pleasant thoughts?" Many times our thoughts of the past produce feelings of guilt or regret: I shouldn't have done that or I wish I had done something differently. God's Word tells us to forget about those things which are behind and to press on (Philippians 3:13,14). God doesn't intend for you to punish yourself over past failures. Christ has already been punished for them. He doesn't want you to get stuck in the past, it will defeat His purpose for you.

Do you focus more on the future; do you ask "what if" a lot? That only causes worry. Jesus tells us not to concern ourselves about what may occur in the future. He already knows what will happen and is in complete control. We only need to trust Him.

Well, that only leaves us with today, and we have two choices: We can dwell on our circumstances or we can focus on Christ. To put it simply, if we are dwelling on our circumstances we are looking to our own self-sufficiency to solve our problems or meet our needs. If we look to Christ we are "seeking first the kingdom of God," then letting Him take care of everything. Focusing on Christ can involve several things: Meditating upon who He is, what He means to you, what He thinks of you, what He wants to do for you. Be careful that your thoughts are not based upon what you feel or impressions you have formed, these can be false; they must be based on the truth of God's Word. Focusing on Christ will give you the clearest (and real, and right, and true) view.

Here is a poem by my favorite poet, Annie Johnson Flint, that sums it up best:

But We See Jesus

I don't look back, God knows the fruitless efforts,

The wasted hours, the sinning, the regret,

I leave them all with Him who blots the record,

And mercifully forgives, and then forgets.

I don't look forward, God sees all the future,

The road that, short or long, will lead me home,

And He will face with me its every trial,

And bear for me the burdens that may come.

But I look up -- into the face of Jesus,

For there my heart can rest, my fears are stilled,

And there is joy, and love, and light for darkness,

And perfect peace, and every hope fulfilled.

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