Tuesday, July 22, 2008

focus

Focus spiritually is a matter of the heart. While it is not just an individiual endeavor, it most certainly involves us as individuals. I focus by faith in Jesus. It must begin there. In so doing I'm actually brought into a fellowship of others in Jesus. Together we have the same faith, same Lord, same God and Father.

I speak in terms of the word: focus, because while it's a gift from God to have the capacity to do so, eyes to see the truth revealed in Jesus, it's also a matter of faith, of ongoing faith. We must exercise this faith ourselves. Yes, it's also a gift. But gifts can be rejected or set aside. Scripture to me along with many others seems to make this clear, that we can set aside this gift. I know there are arguments by people also based on Scripture to reject this idea, that we can lose the gift of eternal life, as well as those like me who believe it's true. One thing for sure that I think we can all agree on is that all of us in Jesus can lose focus.

When I lose focus, it means I'm not looking by faith. Though we're to walk by faith and not by sight, Jesus chided some in his presence for having ears but not hearing, and for having eyes but not seeing. This ends up being a faith issue. And a heart issue, as well. And ongoing.

It's not enough just to get focus, though this is a first step, and an ongoing basic in our life of faith. In the eyes of the blind man, we say of this gift, "Once I was blind, but now I can see." Beyond this first reality this faith impacts us as whole human beings, from the top of our heads to the tips of our toes, as one might say. Inside, out. It takes effort as we work out the salvation, which God works in us. If there's one simple thing this post is saying, I'll say it again, Focus takes effort on our part.

I see myself as a mind person in that I like to read and think and I learn by hearing, so my reading while silent, is usually out loud in my mind. I can say the right things and even believe them intellectually. Such is the case for me, of the Christian faith. Sure, I know I hold it hardly knowing what I'm saying, even in the most simple gospel truth, such as in John 3:16. Nevertheless I still affirm it to be true by faith. All well and good.

But I can easily end up deceiving myself, I'm afraid, if I fail to get my life in order before God by failing to focus on Jesus and God's truth revealed in Jesus and in Scripture. When this is the case, then I begin to miss out on the grace of God. God's grace in Jesus is always there for us, but we can lose out on it, if we fail to respond to this grace in Jesus with ongoing faith.

In Jesus the Elect One, all who put their faith in him through the word of the gospel become part of this election and predestination and salvation. But this new sight can be kept only by faith and through the power of God. Both God and we are involved. Faith involves our efforts to focus. I need this reminder, because it's easy for me to just slide on what I "know," yet lose out on the kind of knowing that changes our lives.

I know this is a tough one. Certainly was not an easy one for me to write, either. But what thoughts would you add here from your reading of Scripture, as well as from others' reading of which you know? Or from your own life experience?

(While I agree that it's good for me to add links of Scripture as I often do, and maybe as I especially ought to do in the controversial aside from the main point of this post, I think it's important that we don't depend so much on just this and that text. That has its place, I believe. But we need to see what we believe within the scope of the entire sweeping Story as told and elaborated on, from Genesis to Revelation.)

Tomorrow: "Clefts of the Rock - Responsibility" from L.L. Barkat, Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places

6 comments:

NaNcY said...

dear brothers and sisters,

i have found myself falling in Love with Jesus again. like i have come around the circle to that again from the days that i was in college. i have learned more from the bible since then, i have taken leave from my Father and have returned to open arms. and now i am remembering what it was like to be in Love.


when someone is in Love, there is desire to be with, talk with, spend time with, share the pleasure of just being together.

i think that other people might have other discriptions for this place, but, i find that being in Love is the best discription for me.

the feelings are similar to being in love with a person, but the scope is a bit different, more of the heart, but, also the mind and soul. it is a wonderful and special kind of Love that we can depend on and give our whole self to.

when i am in Love, i do not have to think about focus so much anymore, because i want to dwell there, i want to abide with Jesus in the Love of God.

i think that God has Love to share with us, and that is His best GIFT to us.

we should dwell and abide in this Love. it stirs the heart to want to Love Him more, to be Loved by God and to be in His Love.
is very much like being in Love...but, a brand new Love.

we can understand in in terms of being in love with another person, and having them love you too. we can understand it if we had someone in our life that loved us just the way we were.

we can try to relate it to what we know. then if we go there with God, we find that it goes beyond our expectations, beyond our knowledge or experience.

we go into this Love and are completely and absolutely Loved, and a woosh of utter joy floods into us. we are taken up into it.

but, we must first allow our heart to go there. and we can.

think Love thoughts to Jesus,
tell Him how much you Love Him,
it is a wonderous Love to be in


there will be no other choice
because
you will want more of His Love

there will be no
thought
about need to focus
on Jesus
for you will
abide in His Love

Rachel Mc said...

" a woosh of utter joy floods into us" Nancy, thank uyou so much for this post..it has given me the courage to keep my conviction of Jesus front & center, and to realize He is guiding me as to what that relationship looks like.

Even So... said...

I am in agreement with what you said, and I often use the phrase that I call "the scope and sweep" of scripture...indeed, as to the post, when we are simply looking for a prooftext to prop up our own points, we can lose the focus (as a text, ironically, John 5:39 points this out)...

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks, Nancy. I really like your words, and I perhaps do get carried away in all this talk of focusing. But sometimes I do believe for reasons we can't always know completely, it can be a struggle. And I'm just trying to say in this, what Scripture says. And you're doing the same.

I'm sure that love you're experienceing is for us all, in Jesus.

Thanks, again.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Rachel, Amen. Glad Nancy's words spoke to you. I find them encouraging, as well.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks, Even So. Very true. We can miss the point so easily, and usually this proof texting, as you very well know I'm sure, wrenches a passage out of context, anyhow.

Thanks, again!