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