Some things that we do in life do not require special attention on our part. We can successfully complete some tasks while we have the radio blaring and are talking on the phone at the same time. Other tasks, though, require us to be focused totally on what we are doing. One that drives farm equipment must keep his attention on the task at hand. The same goes for a doctor that is performing open-heart surgery. In so many endeavors, for one to lose his focus can cause unpleasant results, even real disaster.
As Christians we, too, need to stay focused. We always need to keep in mind whom we are, what our purpose in life is, and where we are headed. If we fail to keep our focus, we will soon get off course and into great spiritual danger. On what should the children of God stay focused? Though there may be many correct responses to that question, we want to point out three obvious answers.
For one thing, God’s children must stay focused on Jesus. After all, He is the One Whom we are following! Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). If we are to “follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:22), then we need to pay attention to where His steps lead us. Yes, it is “Follow the Leader,” but it is not a game. On the occasion when Peter walked on the water toward Jesus, in the beginning he walked with no problem. Every indication is that at first he was focused on Jesus and not the strong wind. However, when Peter “saw that the wind was boisterous,” his attention stayed on the potential danger and he was afraid (Matthew 14:29,30). Surely a key lesson from Peter’s stroll on the water is for us to keep our eyes focused on the Lord and not the storms of life.
Most of us get involved in so many different activities in life. Some of them are activities at school, at work, or at home. Some of them may be personal acts of kindness or actually part of the work of the church. First century saints that were running “the Christian race” were exhorted to look “unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1,2). May we ever be like the apostle Paul, who said of himself, “For to me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21). Let us all strive to do our best not to lose sight of the fact that Jesus needs to be the center of our focus. He died that we might live through Him. That ought to be on our minds each day. Stay focused on Jesus.
Second, followers of Jesus must stay focused on the word of God. Today there is a push to get away from “too much Bible.” We expect such from those outside of the Christ. It is disheartening, though, to see such an attitude among some members of the church. Some 21st-century saints spend little private time studying God’s word and at the same time they want Bible classes turned into a social hour. They yearn for shorter sermons and church bulletins that are filled with cute stories and social activities instead of Bible-related materials.
Brethren, we have got to keep our attention on the word of the living God! It is God’s word that “is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). Nothing else can do that. It is God’s word that serves as a lamp for our feet and a light for our path (Psalm 119:105). Nothing else can do that. It is God’s word that can build us up and give us an inheritance among the sanctified (Acts 20:32). Nothing else can do that. Let us be like babies and “desire the pure milk of the word, that you (we) may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).
Keep this thought in mind: it is impossible to stay properly focused on Jesus without staying focused on His teaching. When some of Jesus’ disciples left Him to walk no more with Him, Jesus turned to the apostles and asked, “Do you also want to go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:67,68). To turn away from Jesus was/is to turn away from the source of the words of life! Remember, Jesus said, “But why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). Staying with the Christ means staying with His word. And, keeping focused on Jesus includes staying focused on His word.
Finally, followers of Jesus must stay focused on heaven. Going to heaven after our earthly life is over – that is what it is all about! Going to heaven must be the goal that pushes us, the reward that drives us and on which our attention is focused. By faith Abraham “waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). He and others in his family desired “a better, that is, a heavenly country” (Hebrews 11:16). You and I must share that same longing.
Hear the truth of 2 Timothy 2:4: “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, in order that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” As soldiers of the Christ, we must not allow ourselves to become entangled or bogged down with the affairs of this earthly life. We must keep our focus on heaven! Jesus taught His disciples, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:20,21). May our desires ever be set on things above, where Jesus sits at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1,2).
Satan would love to get us so distracted that we would not focus on the things that are most important. May God help us all to stay focused on Jesus, His word, and heaven as our final dwelling place.
— Roger D. Campbell
TRUTH is published monthly by the Klang church of Christ in order to help educate, edify, encourage, and equip the saints of God.