The Power of Focus
"...we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon YOU." II Chronicles 20: 12
My problem is focus. It's not that I have an inability to focus, though at times it does feel as if I have the attention span of a flea. Still, truth to tell, I can focus...sometimes on the same thing for hours and days on end. In fact, at times I have been so focused that I lost sight of everything but the object of my attention. My problem is that I find that too often I have a tendency to focus on the wrong things, ignoring or neglecting what really matters.
Can you relate? Our great problem is not lack of focus, but focus on the wrong things. Most of us go through life focused on two primary things - the avoidance of pain and the pursuit of pleasure. Thus, we become the center of our little universe, the subject and object of every thought. If we're not careful - God, the Bible, church, serving others, winning the lost - all of these become for us mere distractions, hindering us from the our single-minded pursuit of our own happiness.
And so, unfortunately, God sometimes must engineer a "train-wreck" to derail our one-track minds and help us to regain our focus on what really matters. Such was the case in our Scripture for today from II Chronicles 20. King Jehoshaphat, and the people of Judah find themselves confronted with an unexpected threat. A vast army comprised of their ancient enemies, the Moabites and Ammonites has assembled to march upon Jerusalem, their Capitol. They are in short, out-numbered and out-gunned.
We don't really need to know any more details of their story to see a piece of our own life story. Does this sound familiar? You're running along on the treadmill of your life, going about your own business, looking for happiness and security, when out of nowhere comes an unexpected attack that you are neither prepared for nor equipped to handle. What do you do when your life is knocked off track by a sudden attack?
Well, if you're wise, you'll do what Jehoshaphat did. You'll get your focus back where it belongs - on God. In II Chronicles 20:3-4, we read:
"Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD; indeed they came from every town in Judah to seek Him."
It was in the context of fasting that we hear these words from Jehoshaphat,"...We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on YOU." Fasting has a way of silencing the confusion around us and giving us laser-like focus on God. It was with those words - "our eyes are on YOU" - that the tide was turned. Fasting reminds us of our brokenness and need for God. Fasting teaches us that God is not attracted to our strength, but to our weakness. Through fasting and prayer, Jehoshaphat focused his attention and all of Judah's on the only thing that really matters in life, seeking God.
The key to success is not to run faster on the treadmill of life pursuing happiness and peace that never actually comes within reach. The secret of life success is day in and day out "Seeking first the Kingdom of God..." and discovering that when our focus on the King becomes unbroken, "...all these things shall be added" unto us (Matthew 6:33).
As I am writing, I hear the Holy Spirit asking - "How big a crisis will it take, to snatch your focus from the distractions of life and put your it back on Me?" Surrounded by a vast army with no way out but up, Jehoshaphat led Judah into Consecration. And when Jehoshaphat and Judah turned to God with their whole hearts, God fought the battle for them and not only gave them a great victory, but also gave them wealth and riches that they might never have gained any other way than through miraculous, divine intervention.
And so I want to encourage you during this 21-day Consecration to turn away from the distractions that so often rob you of your time with God. Shut down your social life, get into the Word, pray until something happens. You won't regret it. God is waiting to show Himself gracious. He is waiting to grant you the victory and a great blessing.
"Turn your eyes upon Jesus,Look full in His wonderful face,And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,In the light of His glory and grace."
Lord, give us back our focus on what matters most...loving You, chasing You, living for You.
I pray that this helps.
Bishop Mark Moore, Sr.