Archive for February, 2019

Where is Your Focus?

Because of artery disease, I have to undergo yearly tests to make sure another aneurysm or other problem hasn’t developed. This year, a screening test showed there was bleeding from around a stent.

The doctor wanted to take a closer look to determine why there was bleeding. So, he ordered a more accurate test and wanted it done urgently. During the wait for the test and results, I entertained a number of “worst case scenarios” of what would need to be done.  These included “it couldn’t be fixed” to major surgery.

I tried to keep my focus and trust in God’s goodness and help, but tended to rely on a good outcome. As the day approached to receive the test results, I felt increasing fear and depression. I knew God could heal me, but would he?

My thoughts were riveted on getting bad outcomes.  The night before the appointment the doctor called and said he had the test results – and there was no bleeding. There was nothing wrong!

I was elated and knew God had healed me. Why was it so hard to trust God to be willing and able to work this miracle?

When we fail to consistently keep our eyes on God during threatening circumstances, we often experience fear and depression. Peter was able to walk on water when he kept his eyes on Jesus – but when he stared at the wind and choppy water, he started to sink. God manifests his reality and power to us as we look to him for support.

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By focusing on Jesus, we remember we aren’t facing life alone. Our confidence becomes his presence and not good circumstances. He will always be with us, but good circumstances come and go.

David was able to kill Goliath because he focused on God’s power and faithfulness. He saw life as it really is – under the complete control of God. He was not fixated on dangerous circumstances, but on God’s help – and he did the impossible.

So, how do we keep our focus on God and not become victims of our circumstances?

We can’t by ourselves. But we can “do all things through him who strengthens us” (Philippians 4:13). With God’s help, we can put our trust in God’s control of our circumstances and help in going through them. Otherwise, we will become dependent on the uncertainty of good circumstances – a sure way to feel anxious.

Another action to keep our focus on God is to control what we see and listen to. We are bombarded with the things of the world through TV, newspapers, conversations, our worldly thinking, and social media. But God wants us to set our minds on the things above (Colossians 3:2) – like God controls our circumstances, loves us, and always works whatever happens for our good. We limit the input of the world and think about whatever is good, acceptable and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).

It helps to recognize how difficult it is to “put of the new self” (Ephesians 4:24) and to focus on God. We have many thinking habits and dependences leftover from our old life that drive us to depend on muscling our through life. We resist depending on a supernatural God. I wanted to give glory to my body for the good test results. However, I knew my body had failed but God was the strength of my body and healed me.

We must work hard to change what we rely on. If we don’t, we will continue to be tossed to and fro by our circumstances. God says, “Be diligent to enter that rest” (Hebrews 4:11) – this rest sees God in all things and frees us from being controlled by scary circumstances. Where is your focus?

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