Have you ever met someone who was educated beyond their intelligence? People who think they know more than others. . .or they always have the right answer, no matter what.
I’ve met my share of Christians who feel they’re more spiritually mature. . .advanced beyond ordinary Christians.
Recently, I had a brief conversation with someone who said. . .”I heard you talking about focus but you need to know that word is not in the King James Bible.
I must admit my first mental response was less than spiritual. . .as I’m not amused by pride and conceit.
I regained my spiritual focus. . .and shared that the word focus is in the Amplified (1); God’s Word Translation (28); Message Bible (28) and the New Living Translation (4).
He quickly said that may be true but it’s not in the King James Bible.
But I kindly pointed out that while the word focus is not in the King James Bible what it means and implies . . .most certainly is.
Let’s talk a quick trip through Philippians 4.
Verse 1 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Therefore, my brethren, whom I love and yearn to see, my delight and crown (wreath of victory), thus stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.
Verse 6 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.”
Verse 7 in The Living Bible says:
“If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.”
And verse 8 in the Amplified Bible says:
“For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].”
With all the distractions of our electronic age. . .we can easily spend valuable time, energy and resources on things that have nothing to do with our dreams, goals or vision.
This scenario is what used to be referred to as majoring in the minors or simply said, wasting time on things that won’t change the quality or direction of your life. Otherwise, known as … losing focus.
The first example of losing focus appears in Genesis 3:1-3 which says:
“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”
The enemy broke Eve’s focus by distorting the truth.
As far as we are told through scripture, God didn’t say “neither shall ye touch it, lest you die.” He said: “Don’t eat it.”
Because the enemy broke Eve’s focus on God’s instructions. . .she was distracted from the truth.
Genesis 3:4-6 says:
“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”
Once again, the serpent breaks Eve’s focus when he said “ye shall not surely die.”
Eve was distracted by the fact that the tree was good for food.
She was distracted because the tree was pleasant to look at.
Eve did more than bite into the apple. . .she bit into the devil’s assertion that the fruit of the tree would make one wise (even as wise as God).
Eve not only broke her focus she broke Adam’s focus as well.
We need to always remember that no one can give us something that is beyond God’s ability to give to us. Whatever the world can give us. . .God can give the better gifts.
When God decided to destroy the face of the earth. . .He gave very specific directions to Noah who stayed focused on the specifics God gave him.
As Noah worked faithfully, there were those who came and inquired what he was doing.
Whenever God gives you an assignment there will always be those who come along to distract you from your vision.
Remember this, if we lose our focus. . .we have given the enemy an enormous advantage over us. If we lose focus. . .then we get negative by speaking doubt and unbelief.
In life, we either live by fate or faith. . .but not both.
Now let’s look at a New Testament example of people losing focus.
Acts 3:2-4 in the Amplified Bible says:
“[When] a certain man crippled from his birth was being carried along, who was laid each day at that gate of the temple [which is] called Beautiful, so that he might beg for charitable gifts from those who entered the temple.
3 So when he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them to give him a gift.
4 And Peter directed his gaze intently at him, and so did John, and said, Look at us!”
Now that may seem like a strange thing for Peter to say “look at us” or as the King James Version says “look on us.” Why did Peter say this because the man was obviously looking at them.
Peter was wanting to re-direct this man’s focus from the money to their words. . .because the man’s miracle would manifest through the words he was about to speak.
As the man focused his faith on Peter’s words. . .something supernatural happened. Peter took the man by the hand and he stood on his feet. The man instantly went from being a lame beggar to a healed praiser because of his focus.
Distractions will come in life. . .but when we get distracted we break our focus and in so doing, can easily forget what the Word of God reveals is ours.
Proverbs 4:25-26 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Let your eyes look right on [with fixed purpose], and let your gaze be straight before you. Consider well the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established and ordered aright.”
Proverbs 4:27 in the New Living Translation says:
“Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.”
No matter how long it takes. . .hold fast to the Word and your confession of faith because God will not fail nor disappoint you.
Numbers 23:19 in the Amplified Bible says:
“God is not a man, that He should tell or act a lie, neither the son of man, that He should feel repentance or compunction [for what He has promised]. Has He said and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken and shall He not make it good?”
What God has promised us will come to pass when we keep focused on the Word. However, if we allow the enemy to break our focus off the Word. . .then we’ll begin to sink.
Matthew 14:28-31 in the New Living Translation says:
“Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
“Yes, come,” Jesus said.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
Several observations about Peter’s water walking experience.
First, the scripture says “…Peter went over to the side of the boat.” This was not a rowboat, a kayak or some dinky dingy. It was a big boat.
Second, Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water. As long as Peter was focused on Jesus’ Word. . .He didn’t sink.
Third, when Peter allowed the circumstances to distract his focus from Jesus he began to sink. Then he became moved by the wind and the waves.
Fourth, when we allow distractions to break our focus. . .we become terrified.
Now let’s go a little further. . .
As I was reflecting on Peter. . .I was stirred by seven things that happen when we become distracted and our focus is broken.
First, we fall to victim to our circumstances instead of being victorious over them.
If you feel overwhelmed by what’s happening around you. . .the turbulence of life at the moment . . . take comfort in Isaiah 41:10 in the Message Bible which says:
“Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you."
Second, we will be double-minded when we lose our focus.
James 1:8-9 in the Amplified Bible says:
“[For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides].”
Third, we will feel intimidated and insecure when our focus on God is broken.
Philippians 1:28 in the Amplified Bible says:
“And do not [for a moment] be frightened or intimidated in anything by your opponents and adversaries, for such [constancy and fearlessness] will be a clear sign (proof and seal) to them of [their impending] destruction, but [a sure token and evidence] of your deliverance and salvation, and that from God.”
Fourth, confusion and chaos will enter our lives when become distracted.
Romans 16:17 in the Amplified Bible says:
“I appeal to you, brethren, to be on your guard concerning those who create dissensions and difficulties and cause divisions, in opposition to the doctrine (the teaching) which you have been taught. [I warn you to turn aside from them, to] avoid them.”
Fifth, without our focus. . .we become unstable.
James 4:8 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery].”
Sixth, we will never experience lasting success if we are unable to remain focused.
1 Peter 5:8 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.”
Seventh, without focus. . .we will live a life filled with fear and doubt.
Mark 11:23 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him.”
One more verse. . .Mark 9:23 in the New Living Translation says:
“`What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.’”
Here are seven principles to keep you focused on your future.
First, focus requires a reference point.
I can’t think of a better story or illustration about the necessity of focus than that one found in Hebrews 12 of the Message Bible.
“We’d better get on with it. . .keep your eyes on Jesus. . .Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed.”
That is focus! You have to have a reference point.
I have nearly seven million air miles with American Airlines and I can tell you that on every single flight, I want the captain to know where he’s starting the journey and most certainly where we will end up. . .I don’t want him unfocused in cockpit.
Second, focus requires effort.
Focus requires a conscious mental decision to do whatever is necessary.
That means you may have a job description that only requires you to do a certain amount of effort. But when you see it is necessary to do more to make sure the outcome is successful and you do it, you put yourself on the next level for success.
While others may criticize, complain and seek to find and enlist fellow commiseraters. . .the one who will survive to success. . .the one who will overcome adversity. . .is the one who maintains their focus.
There are going to be moments when unexpected things occurred. I’m not speaking that into existence, I’m just telling you that the enemy is aware of your goals, commitment and focus.
Third, focus should be taught and modeled early. What’s your assignment or life’s purpose?
The scripture teaches that we should train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
What are we teaching our children to focus on? We are teachers either consciously or subconsciously.
Children will imitate their parents. If your daily focus is on any and everything that’s on television, then your children will duplicate your choices as their own.
If your words are focused on criticism of your church, your pastor or your spouse or others in authority, then your children will act and behave in the same manner. Studies have shown that male children generally treat their wives the way their fathers treated their mothers.
That lends credibility to the old saying that: more is caught than taught.
If your children see that your personal relationship with Jesus is the greatest focus of your life. . .then they will follow, if not immediately, it will happen eventually.
Fourth, focus must be filtered through priorities.
There will be moments in our lives, despite our most best efforts, that we tend to focus on the wrong things or perhaps things that aren’t a part of our vision or the goals that we’ve established for ourselves.
Our focus should be filtered through the achievement of our goals in the six major areas of our lives (spiritual, family, financial, physical, mental and social.)
We have to continually inspect, what we expect, so that we can be perfect, without defect in the things that matter to us and more importantly to God.
Fifth, focus can be strengthened.
The best way to strengthen your focus is in the King James Version of verse Philippians 4:8 says, “. . .think on these things.”
What you focus on will expand in your life. As believers you are to protecting what you are reproducing in your imagination (1 Peter 1:13).
Your focus can also be strengthened by associating with people who will help you think on the right kind of things. Stay away from negative, toxic people. Unfortunately, some of those folks are family members or long-time friends.
Proverbs 13:20 in the New Living Translation says:
“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.”
You can strengthen your focus by what you think on and who you associate with.
Sixth, God is focused. . .should we be any less?
Luke 2:49 in the Amplified Bible says:
“And He said to them, How is it that you had to look for Me? Did you not see and know that it is necessary [as a duty] for Me to be in My Father’s house and [occupied] about My Father’s business?”
If something is important to God, then it should be important to us. He wants you to have more than enough.
When it comes to focusing on our future. . .Jesus gives us very specific instructions on how to ask and receive.
Matthew 7:7 says:
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
Seventh, focus will produce the faith we need to accomplish our goals and dreams.
Luke 17:5-6 in The Living Bible says:
“One day the apostles said to the Lord, “We need more faith; tell us how to get it.” “If your faith were only the size of a mustard seed,” Jesus answered, “it would be large enough to uproot that mulberry tree over there and send it hurtling into the sea! Your command would bring immediate results!”
Focus strengthens faith which produces miracles.
How do you achieve your goals and dreams in 2015 … by focusing on the Word.
Romans 10:17 says:
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
That’s focusing on the Word. . .then you’ll find every answer you’ll need in 2015.
When it comes to focus. . .remember, seven words.
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