“Keep your focus on the Lord.”
Those words came from a priest who recently visited an elderly couple I know. Before he came to their home they felt desperate—the man because he frantically focused on his finances and financial losses from the past. He let worry about money affect his sleep and every waking hour, even though he possessed plenty of money to meet his everyday needs.
His wife focused on how desperation ruled her husband. She worried about his becoming more irrational over their finances and how he wouldn’t stop talking about it—to her and to others on the telephone. His agitation brought on anxiety in her.
The people they talked to on the telephone—including me–tried to calm this couple. Then one suggested they call their priest.
The next day he came over and delivered those six words along with others of hope and comfort.
When the woman told me about the six words and how they helped her, they spoke to me as well.
I thought of how often I slipped into desperation because I failed to keep my focus on the Lord.
My obsessive focus tends not to be on finances, but it can easily be on family and the different challenges they face. I can begin to obsess and feel unable to stop talking about the latest difficulties they find themselves in, which seem impossible to overcome. My focus on problems rather than on the Prince and His promises and provision robs me of peace and joy the Lord longs for me to maintain.
As I speak to fellow Christians, I see how frequently a locked focus on something or someone other than the Lord rules so many of us in the body of Christ.
Hebrews 12:2 comes to mind as I contemplate the need to maintain a fixed focus on the Lord.
“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…” NIV
I like the way the Amplified puts it: “[looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith…”
Like Peter who took his eyes off of Jesus while walking on the water, when I look away from Jesus, and keep my gaze planted on my problems and the flaws and failings of others, I begin to sink.
Lately a few issues tempt me to take my eyes off of Jesus. Daily time in the Word keeps me from this. Also, praise and worship along with time in the presence of fellow believers who possess a strong faith (even if it’s just with DJs on Christian radio stations) helps me to keep my focus on the Lord.
“What the priest told us helped so much,” the formerly troubled woman told me.
“It helped me too,” I told her.
Another verse came to mind: “My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare. Psalm 25:15 NIV.
This came to mind as I read this verse again: “My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he _________.
I can fill in the blank because so much in my life can only be resolved by His power, mercy, and grace.
For the rest of today and in the days ahead, I want to heed what that priest and what the Word directs: “Keep your focus on the Lord.”
I know the One who loves me more than I can ever know will remind me again and again to do just that.
“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” by Alan Jackson