Monday, September 24, 2007

misplaced focus

Sometimes when we are trying to overcome a besetting sin, we can unwittingly give it ground by building our whole life around it. Everything we do can be with reference to it. There surely are some unusual times when this kind of action is wise, and at some points in struggling against any sin, some drastic measures may be required. And we may need to spend some extra time in prayer and in reading and meditation concerning the matter. Though I'm becoming convinced that this time should not normally be prolonged.

We have to be careful not to make our sin the focus of our lives; Christ must be the focus, and along with that we must endeavor to carry on with a sense of normalcy according to the life in Christ that God's word calls us to. Of course we must have confessed our sin to God, trusting his word in Christ for our forgiveness. And we must walk according to wisdom. This may mean being more guarded with reference to the sin. But when our entire life is built around avoiding the sin, we can be easily drawn back into the sin, since our minds being on avoiding it, end up invariably thinking about the sin our hearts have cherished.

Here's where we need plenty of wisdom from God. We must not only put off the old self in Adam with its sin, but we must put on the new self in Christ. This is not to be something ostentatious, purposefully put out into the open for all to see, as if we're proving something to ourselves and others with reference to our sin. But it needs to be as those whose lives are hidden with Christ in God. In other words our lives in Jesus are to simply take on the character of Jesus, the one who said that he was gentle and humble in heart. It needs to be unobtrusive, there but hardly noticed by others, except by God. I say this in terms of the sin one has been succumbing to and fighting against, as well as how we live out this life in general. Maybe another way of putting it is that this new life in Jesus becomes more and more a natural part of who we are.

The picture needs to become changed so that the sin, and the object of that sin is in a different part of the picture. That object or subject is still in the picture, but in no way is it in the middle of the picture. It is there in its proper place along with other objects and subjects. Of course these objects and subjects can refer to people or things. We can be struggling with reference to a specific person or persons. Or we can be struggling over certain matters, many not necessarily sinful in themselves while others are.

Somehow in all of this, by grace and through the work of the triune God, Jesus needs to be at the center of this picture. When this is more and more the case, then less and less will objects and subjects be out of place.

This suggests to me that our focus in some way in overcoming our besetting sin must be on Jesus. Only in Jesus can our lives begin to take on the order intended by God which will renew and remake us towards the true humanity through this new creation, made by God.

What does this look like in our lives? I think it looks like a life of simple yet profound faith. It takes shape by simple, humble obedience to the word of God, and a dependence on God of submissive trust. I order my world seeking to be through the blood of Jesus in rightful fellowship with God and with all others.

Again, in certain special cases I do believe we'll have to take drastic measures, and initially in many cases we may have to take drastic measures. We may need special help for a season, receiving prayer and counsel from others. Certainly always and in all things we are in need of the special grace of God in Christ.

What might you add to this sketch about misplaced focus?


Anonymous said...

good post, helps me to focus...on Jesus.


Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy, Thanks. We all need that, I know I do, as I'm easily misplaced in my focus.

lorenzothellama said...

Two months my foot! We'll be back next week, full of bruises and ready to start a new blog spot!
Love Lorenzo the sunburnt Llama