Friday, June 29, 2018

What is your focal point?

Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. (Galatians 3:1 Msg)

Clear focus is a challenge for even the most dedicated believer. We are called to evaluate our focus because God often sees that we no longer have Jesus set before us clear enough to remain on track. There are times when we have allowed something else to fill the center of our focus that only Christ should be filling. With all the input we receive in a day or a week, it isn't hard to get off track. The things that are all around us act as distractions to what really needs our focused (undevided) attention. Focus is the position in which something must be placed in order for clarity of perception to occur. If we change that position even minutely, the clarity of our perception is directly impacted. Spiritual focus is impacted by a number of things.

Changing the distance at which we hold Christ in our daily lives can have a dramatic impact on how well we face or resist these distractions.  We actually distance him anytime we neglect daily times of praise, prayer or worship. A simple change of distance, although quite small in our minds, makes a huge difference in the clarity of our purpose and direction in our daily walk. It allows for compromise to begin to be made. It might be hard for us to think one missed day in the Word or in time with him will matter all that much, but it is like letting down one's defenses. It is much like turning off the electrified fence for even a while. Whatever should have been held off by that current is no longer deterred. It is free to pass through. What passes through the defenses is free to attack us.

Allowing things to cloud our focus actually creates a 'screen's behind which things go unnoticed.  By placing something in our field of clear vision, we allow for a “film” of sorts to develop over our spiritual eyesight. We do not perceive the things or events around us in the same manner as we once did. What once might have been clearly recognized as a threat, or something not all that good for us, becomes something we hardly pay any attention to and it is now free to gain even more access into our minds, hearts, and spirit.

For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? (Galatians 3:3) a

If you haven't examined the meaning of “crazy” in the dictionary to find the most interesting meaning of the word, take a gander. It could be defined as simply making poor choices or being unsound in mental capacity. It seems that the word “crazy” also carries a meaning of being full of cracks or flaws. No wonder that we refer rather quickly to someone as “crazy” who is unsound in their capacity to make decisions in a competent manner.  Sometimes I think God might just refer to us as crazy people because he sees us as full of cracks or flaws – unsound in our walk because we have let ourselves be impacted by the opinions of others, the misguided teachings of those who do not have a direct relationship with a living God, and the “wacky” perception that rule-keeping can assist a man to live in a manner that is deserving of God’s approval. Cracks don't have to be big to do damage....even small fissures allow all manner of stuff to leak out, or get access within.

For most of us, the cracks are so small that they are almost imperceptible in our lives. It is quite possible we even have developed a “mesh” of fine cracks in our character – allowing for things to penetrate that should have stayed on the outside of our minds, never getting our attention or changing our focus. Crazy people are impractical, or erratic in their behavior. They are distracted with desire or excitement – they are passionately preoccupied with what leads them askew. To those of us who get so easily led astray by those things that distract because they are allowed to take the focus off of Christ in our lives, we might feel we are not smart or strong enough to ever get to the place where we see God complete the work Christ began in us. Nothing g could be farther from the truth.

Our intentions are good, but our follow-through is poor. We don’t possess the knowledge to grow as we should. We don’t possess the where-withal to resist the things we should and embrace those things that will encourage us in faith. So…why do we try to do it on our own? Rule-keeping or religious pursuit of things we do to gain God’s approval is simply trying to do by our own power what only God can accomplish in his power. Our passages today describe this as a “crazy” pursuit (full of cracks). If you are numbered among the "cracked pots" of this world, then take heart. There is a plan God has for even us "cracked pots"! It begins with not losing focus, but even the best plans need some nurturing. Just sayin!