01 Aug Where is Your Focus?
I’m very farsighted.
Without my glasses or contacts, I can read a faraway billboard, but not a book right in front of me. I got my first pair of glasses around the time I took my first steps. It’s been a long series of “eye-opening” moments of life since then: some literal, some mental, and some with more of a spiritual nature.
I remember one such moment which occurred in college. It was the first day of Advertising and Mass Media class. The professor walked out onto the stage and the first words out of his mouth were “They’re selling you! They’re SELLING you!” “They” were the media networks and entities of the day. And yes, they indeed were selling us, viewers of their programming, to advertisers who were then trying to sell us their products. Very eye-opening indeed to my young mind.
Today, “they” have multiplied exponentially. Social media, cable and streaming networks, and personal devices are all new on the scene since that first day in my class. They’re still selling us. But I believe they’re also doing an excellent job of distracting us and directing our focus more and more on ourselves, maybe even more than on them. They let us see what we’re missing out on. They show us what “everyone else” has, because we can indeed see pictures of other people, even people we know, having it. They spark and then fuel discontentment, which makes us nearsighted in many ways as we continue to focus on our own lack. We are consumed with our immediate circumstances, and the things around us that are close seem very clear – clearly not good enough.
“We are consumed with our immediate circumstances, and the things around us that are close seem very clear – clearly not good enough.”
Have you dared to watch or read the news lately? Tragedy, pain, loss, anger, and discontent surround us. Maybe it’s no more prevalent now than it’s been in the past, but the way we are able to see and experience it has certainly intensified. So what are we to do with the longing, discontent, and entitlement that is stirred up in us constantly by the world around us? What am I to do? I feel the tension, as a believer who lives in this world but now sees it more through spiritually (and, well, literally) farsighted eyes.
2 Peter 1:5-9 mentions qualities of spiritually farsighted focus: “Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.” 2 Peter 1:5-9 (NIV)
These are the things we are to desire. Having them or not having them is the metric for our success in the knowledge of our Lord. Can you imagine what the world would be like if these things were really what we thought about and wanted? How would our lives look different? Our relationships? Our homes? Our bank accounts? Our time?
The Bible says that not possessing these qualities makes us nearsighted, and even worse – blind! This spiritual blindness leaves us caught up in ourselves and the immediate circumstances closest to us, losing sight of what’s really important, and discontent.
How nearsighted are you? How can we become more spiritually farsighted? If being spiritually farsighted is being able to see the bigger picture and knowing why our time right now matters so much in God’s plan, then we must know His character and His promises. God is what we need, more than anything else. We must understand where we are in His story. If we can see this with farsighted eyes, our focus shifts off of ourselves.
“God is what we need, more than anything else. We must understand where we are in His story. If we can see this with farsighted eyes, our focus shifts off of ourselves.”
Who around you needs to know the hope-filled truth of Jesus? Is it you? Is it someone in your family? Or is it a stranger? If we’re nearsighted or blind, we may never know.
God is inviting us to be a part of what He’s doing right now. He’s encouraging us to be better selves not for our own sake, but for Him, and for His plans. His story. We’re right there in it with Him. He has work for us to do. He longs for redemption, and “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9b (NIV)
Let’s not keep Him waiting! Let’s get our heads out of our phones and whatever fancies entice and distract us, and focus on His plans, His purposes, and His priorities.
“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)
Lord, help us to see through Your eyes. Amen.
Kathy is often amused by God’s creativity and timing in her life. After years of singleness and a career, God turned her life upside down. Today, her “business card” would say: Wife. Mother. Teacher. Follower of Christ. Kathy attends our Powdersville campus.