“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.” – Philippians 3:13-16 (MSG).
“So let’s keep focused on that goal” – simple but compelling words. Every one of us has a story; things that have happened in our past, a few weeks ago, or even earlier today, that could throw us off course. The truth is we can be distracted and focus on people or opinions or circumstances and fail to maintain a fixed focus on God. When we lose our focus on God is when we find ourselves adrift in the our circumstances.
Paul was talking about that focus when he wrote to the Colossian believers: “Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:2-3).
The writer of Hebrews says “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith…” (Hebrews 12:2) Elsewhere, Paul again advises us to focus steadfastly on God: “…fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)
Joshua was a good example of this kind of focus. The nation of Israel had known only one leader, Moses. Moses had led them out of Egypt and formed them into a nation during the 40 years they were in the wilderness. Now Moses was dead and a new leader had been appointed by God. Moses told the people who would be their next leader in Deuteronomy 31:3: “…Joshua will lead you across the river, just as the Lord promised.”
Joshua 1:7 says, “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do.” Joshua’s message? Stay focused. Don’t deviate. Always obey God. These instructions were so important Joshua repeated them in his directions to the Israelites at the end of his life: ”So be very careful to follow everything Moses wrote in the Book of Instruction. Do not deviate from it, turning either to the right or to the left.” (Joshua 23:6)
God is the only thing that does not change with our feelings, circumstances or challenges. Whatever our circumstances, we need to stay focused on God.
- In the midst of trials and struggles how can we stay focused on God?
- What can we do this week to strengthen our focus on God?