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We all do it… fixing our attention where it ought not be; problems that we fixate on, our own inadequacies. Yet, in putting our attention on these things, we do ourselves and those around us a disservice. In fact, it is by doing the opposite—turning our attention to things above and letting concerns fall to the wayside that true breakthrough often comes.
Join us as we explore how we, as God’s children, need to shift our gaze upward and stay focused on God—and how each of us benefit from doing so…
The Problem with Having a Wrong Focus
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”—Colossians 3:1-4
What we focus on may not seem all that important; after all, how important can our attention and thoughts be in the grand scheme of things. But it is what captures our attention and time that will eventually impact our future. It is those small things—the worries and concerns, distractions and enjoyments—that slowly overtake our time, outlook, and character.
Yet, while a lack of attention to the gaze of our life is dangerous, it is easy to lull ourselves into false security. After all, in the culture of today, being ‘busy’ is often seen to be equal to success or purpose… giving a false sense of worth as our busyness can be seen in the light of ‘productivity,’ ‘problem-solving,’ or even, ‘character-building.’
However, no matter how we or others view our focus and energies, only one opinion truly matters. God’s.
Not only is He the only true judge of what motives are driving us, He is also the only one who knows what is best for us. Not just over a lifetime, but in every single season. In every moment of every day. His opinion is the one we should seek before all others. He ought to be the one leading our every action, thought, and word. That’s why we should shift our gaze and stay focused on God.
How to Shift Our Gaze
We know the best place to get our direction from is God. Yet, when our thoughts and focus are held captive by other things—worries, self-condemnation, etc.—it can be difficult to silence all of the noise.
As God’s children and the sheep of His pasture, we were created to know and listen to His voice; however, it helps to create the necessary environment, or stillness, to truly hear and stay focused on God
When our thoughts are going a million miles an hour in response to a situation, or when the character flaws we possess seem to scream in our ears… we have to take that step to find stillness. We have to no longer give the enemy a foothold by silencing his lying tongue and choosing to look at things above. To shift our gaze so that we can hear God’s voice!
Philippians 4:8 is a wonderful reminder of our need to do this… “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
No matter if this is done through spending time in God’s Word, putting on praise music, or drawing near to God, choosing to be intentional with both our attention and time—shifting our gaze to things above—propels us to our breakthrough! It is that turning of our focus that allows love, hope, renewed purpose, confidence, and much more to be released!
“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”—Jeremiah 29:13
The enemy whispers lies, but God speaks the truth! By intentionally shifting our gaze to what is above—to God and His ways—we unblock our ears to hear God’s truth and walk in the Light! We are able to stay focused on God! We build our relationship with the God of all!
What to Expect When We Stay Focused on God
Every day we are able to have a say in where we put our focus…
“If you look for the bad expecting to find it, you surely will.”
This quote is from the 1960 movie Pollyanna and is supposedly quoting Abraham Lincoln—this cannot be confirmed—and though not meant to indicate that noticing wrong is equal to expecting it… it does provide good food for thought.
Yes, things that are bad exist and noticing them and taking action against them has its timing and purpose, but sometimes we fixate on the bad. Sometimes we go out looking for it, and, as a result, find it.
As God’s children, we are not meant to be ignorant or blind to wrong. We are meant to be lights in the darkness after all and to know the difference between good and evil. However, it is easy for us to almost glorify the evil by continually focusing on it rather than on the things above. It is easy to spend too much time and energy trying to find solutions to a problem that we were not personally called to fix. It is easy to obsess over our flaws rather than on God’s love and ability to overcome those areas where we lack, or to even use those ‘mistakes’ in us to great benefit!
In shifting our gaze away from the cares of the world and lies of the enemy, and by choosing to fix our eyes on things above, we become more like our God. Our relationship with Him grows. And problems fade. In short, what once appeared dark and foreboding is made light and easy by our great God!
Each of us is able to make this choice. Each of us has the ability to daily shift our gaze to things that are Heavenly… things that speak of God’s character, will, and love!
And when we make that choice, when we stay focused on God and draw nearer to Him, good things happen! Miracles happen! Love happens! Our purpose and true identity are put into the best hands… God’s!
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”—Isaiah 26:3