The word “focus” is familiar to us. We use it often – as in employees who might need to “focus” on their work; or students who often need to “focus” more closely on their studies; or a husband and wife who may need to pay more attention and “focus” on a marriage that is running out of steam. You can likely think of something on which you should “focus” more carefully – Bible study or prayer or even reading this article! We speak of “focus” in familiar metaphors like “keep your eye on the ball” or “hammer away” or “knuckle down” or be “all in.” Interestingly, the word “focus” never appears in the Bible even once in standard translations. That being said, the simple fact of the matter is that, without ever using the word, Bible writers often spurred Christians to maintain an intense focus on Jesus Christ, the word of God and spiritual things. Here is a very tiny sample of verses that do so: * Colossians 3:2 “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Strong’s Concordance informs us the word “set” in this verse is from the Greek word phroneo (pronounced fron-eh’-o) and means “to exercise the mind; to be disposed earnestly in a certain direction; to interest oneself in or set the affection on.” So the apostle Paul directs us to earnestly focus our hearts and minds and affections on Christ and in the direction of heaven! If we fail to do that, the danger is “things on earth” arrest our attention to the point our spiritual focus gets fuzzy. * Hebrews 12:2 speaks of “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” The word “looking” here is from the Greek word aphorao. Thayer defines it as “to fix the eyes on,” indicating the action of one who, aware of trivial distractions, deliberately looks away from them to fix the eyes on more important things. A hound fixes on a trail, a laser- guided bomb fixes on a target, and authentic Christians are “fixed” or “focused” on Jesus. Alas, if we look at what they do instead of just what they say, some church members are more focused on things on the earth than they are Jesus and things above. Jesus taught us to seek God first (Matthew 6:33), and the Bible tells us early Christians “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).” To be a disciple of Jesus requires a fixed focus on Christ and His church and her worship and work. If a batter loses his focus on the baseball, he strikes out. The same is true spiritually of Christians who try to get by with a fuzzy, fragmented, half-hearted focus on Christ.
John Maxwell illustrates how a lack of clear focus in life is dangerous. In Developing the Leader Within You (p 131), he relates that William Henson tells why animal trainers invariably carry a stool when they enter a cage with lions. The trainers have other tools (whips, a pistol, etc.), but Henson says the stool is the most important tool of all. The trainer holds the stool by the back and thrusts the legs toward the animal’s face. Some maintain that the animal tries to focus on all four legs at once, but in the attempt to do so, a kind of paralysis overwhelms the creature. It becomes tame and disabled because its attention is fragmented. How many Christians are disabled spiritually because their attention to Jesus and the church is fragmented? A fuzzy focus on Christ endangers your soul. How focused are you on going to heaven?
By: Dan Gulley, Smithville, TN