Focus! – Week of August 1, 2022
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.
Focus! The preschooler flits from one activity to the next, unable yet to carry out a plan for any sustained length of time. The grown-up knows she’d better turn on her “Driving Focus” app if she wants to stay safe on the long road home. It is so easy for our brains to get distracted from whatever it is we’re supposed to be doing or thinking about!
God, through the apostle Paul, is speaking to exactly that kind of trouble in our verses for today when he says, “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.” In a nutshell, “Focus!”
Why do we need this reminder? Because God knows exactly the kind of unfocused mess we often are. He sees how our eyes drift so quickly to Facebook Marketplace to add to the list of our possessions. He sees how often our hearts yearn after the praise of people. He knows how easily we become consumed with ticking the boxes on our to-do lists, losing sight of why we’re doing what we’re doing at all.
Thank our God that for all of our lack of focus, Jesus came into the world ready to reach his goal with laser-sharp precision. Jesus lived without concern for his earthly possessions, kept his eyes on giving praise to his Father, and worked tirelessly every day, never losing sight of the mission for which he came: to die on the cross for every sin, including the many times that we have failed to stay focused on heavenly things.
We are forgiven, in Christ! Paul tells us that now “our li[ves] are hidden with Christ in God.” All those things we think we need, all those to-dos we face? That’s not our real life anymore. When the Holy Spirit worked faith in each of our hearts, our focus became completely changed. Our hearts now see and desire what Jesus desires. Our minds remember that it’s not for earthly things, praise, or achievement that we’re working, but rather to bring glory to God in everything we do. This side of heaven, we will never focus perfectly, but with Jesus’ help, in the strength of his forgiveness, we work daily to keep setting our focus where our focus should be: on our life with Jesus in heaven and the ways in which we get to share about him while we still go about our days on earth.
Dear Jesus, you know how often our focus wanders from what is truly important. Forgive us! In our personal lives, and as we work with students and families, help us to set our hearts and minds on things above, remembering that our real life, everything that is truly important, is found with you, in heaven. In your name we pray this, amen.
A Thought to Consider:
Make a list of 3 things that tend to be distractors for your heart. Then, write a promise from the Bible that helps to refocus your heart for each one.