With all the temptations and troubles in this world, it’s easy to become distracted from what really matters—living out our faith in Christ. Here, I’ve listed three steps we can take, to keep our focus on Jesus.
Let’s face it, life can be crazy. With all the stuff going on in the world (pandemics, protests, etc.). Plus, with the insane pace of our own lives, it’s no wonder we lose sight of Jesus so easily.
There is so much noise! Society and culture tell us to “do whatever makes you happy”, and “be in control of our own destiny”. At every turn, there is an opportunity to get lost in the chaos of the world. Not to mention, get depressed about the general state of things.
Where is God in all this?
C’mon now, I know I can’t be the only one who feels that way.
How do you stay focused spiritually, amidst all the craziness?
So many days, I’ve gone to bed and realize I’ve barely prayed at all or sought God’s guidance for any decision I made.
I take it you’ve been there too (otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this post!)
The Importance of Keeping Our Eyes on Jesus
Obviously, we know how important it is to fix your eyes on Jesus. As Jesus himself said in John 15:1-8, we must remain connected to him (the True Vine) in order to bear fruit in our lives (to live for him, learning to love God and our neighbors as he instructs us to). We simply can’t do or be what God has called us to if we’re not staying connected to Christ.
But, doing that takes some effort. We need to be aware of those things that may take our focus away from Jesus.
Take for example, the story of Peter’s experience walking on the water (in Matthew 14:22-33). He stepped out of the boat, and started walking. And he was doing fine, until…Peter “saw” the wind. He was afraid, and began to sink. Peter took his eyes off Jesus, and was fixated on the fear instead of on his Lord and Savior. And therefore, his faith tanked, and he sank. Of course, Jesus rescued Peter, but not without an admonishment: “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Did you catch that? Peter let his focus fall away from Christ, and instead he focused on the wind, completely forgetting that Jesus was right there nearby. And how often do we do the same, by allowing our attention to be on the fear or temptation of this world, instead of on our Savior?
As Christ followers, we need to stay focused on the TRUTH. We need to focus on Jesus, so we can remain faithful and full of hope, no matter what’s going on around us. We need to remember God’s presence, power, and promises!
Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.Colossians 3:1-5 (NIV)
Three Ways to Keep Our Focus on Jesus
So, with all the “wind” and “waves” that threaten to distract us in this life, how do we keep our focus on Jesus? These are three things that are helping me…
1) Create a routine for your daily life that puts the focus on God.
Start each day with a song of praise and thanksgiving! Listening to worship music helps me a lot. You could also make a point to say a simple prayer of gratitude before you even get out of bed.
Then, set aside a regular time for Bible study and prayer! Make studying and meditating God’s Word each day a top priority. You could also make a habit to always pray at certain times/in specific situations, like while you’re cleaning your house, driving to work, or standing in line at the grocery store.
Personally, I’ve found that morning prayer and Bible study time is essential. It helps me to set my mind on heavenly things, whether I’m able to spend only a few minutes, or a half-hour. I usually read a Bible passage and/or some kind of devotional (or listen to an audio devo), and then I spend at least a few minutes in prayer, or more if I have time.
2) Remove distractions (things/people that take your focus away from Christ).
There are certainly some distractions that we can’t just remove (like your sibling who is far from God, or your boss at work who cusses up a storm, or the trials in your life that make you question God’s goodness). BUT, there are still a lot of negative influences that we can and should get rid of.
It’s worth asking: “What (or who) in my life is taking my focus away from Jesus?” Maybe it’s the TV show you watch that’s a bad influence (you know when it contains promiscuity, lying, stealing, killing, backstabbing, etc.)
Or it could be that 90% of your friends are unbelievers. Maybe you spend more time surrounded by them than by your brothers and sisters in Christ who can help you stay strong in your faith.
Or perhaps you’re leaning too heavily on something. Like food or shopping, to self-medicate when you’re upset or stressed out (this is something I’m definitely guilty of!). It could also be an unconfessed sin, like lust or jealousy, that is keeping you from focusing on Christ your Savior.
3) Surround yourself with reminders of Jesus!
On the flip side, to redirect and keep our focus on Jesus, it’s important to surround ourselves with reminders of Him. That could be placing Scripture on our walls, keeping your Bible open on your desk, choosing to read Christian fiction (instead of books without any Christian faith in the story), or listening to a Christian podcast.
Legendary author C.S. Lewis was known for his devout Christian faith. And one way he kept his focus on Jesus was to have only one piece of art adorning his bedroom walls: a picture of Jesus’ face in the Shroud of Turin. You and I may not be that minimalist, but still, the point is a valid one.
Are there things you should remove from your home, that are distracting you from God? And what can you add, that will remind you of Biblical truth? like how much God loves you, and what His will is for your life?
It can be so encouraging and helpful to adorn your walls with Scripture…but, it doesn’t have to stop there! What about putting a Bible verse on your phone’s lock screen? Or writing a verse on a post-it note, which you place on your bathroom mirror, on the coffee maker, or next to the front door? Seriously, post-in notes are cheap, easy, and plentiful. We have no excuse to not plaster our homes, cars, and offices with Scripture!
And let’s not forget, the benefits of focusing on God that you can glean from nature. Just stepping outside to admire the sunset, appreciate the rainbow after the storm, or marvel at the clouds, can be such a great reminder of God’s majesty and sovereignty over our lives.
“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.[…] Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates…”Deuteronomy 11:18,20 (NIV)
So, to summarize, how do we stay focused on Jesus? By ordering our very lives around Him! And of course, this won’t be a one-and-done kind of thing. It’s something we need to work on each day: tweaking our routines, habits, and physical surroundings to help us stay focused on our Lord and Savior.
What small changes will you make today, to help keep your eyes on Jesus? Leave your ideas in the comments.