Focus: What We Focus On is What We Become
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” -Philippians 4:8-9, from The Message Bible
Adam and Eve had it made. The whole earth was theirs! They could ride a lion to the ocean and chill on the beach for a while, then swim with dolphins. After their epic swim session they could hitch a ride from a cheetah to the nearest Chick-Fil-A to get a twelve-count nugget with some waffle fries and an iced lemonade (just making sure that you’re paying attention). But think about that. Everything was perfect. But they lost focus. God told them that they were free to do whatever they want! All besides this one thing: “You must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Guess what happened? You probably know the story: They were tempted by Satan and they lost focus of how beautiful everything else in the entirety of the world was to focus on the one stinkin’ thing that God told them not to do, which screwed everything up!
Let’s get one thing settled; I’m sure you can agree: Satan is a liar: a big, fat, ugly, stupid liar. Agree? Yet, how many times do we listen to his voice? Think about it. Sin is notorious for taking our attention off of God and onto other things, namely: ourselves. How many times do we worry and fear what is to come in the future, while knowing that God’s Word says things like, “Fear not” (365 times to be exact) and, “Do not worry” so often. We listen to the voice of Satan, who tells us that we should fear because the situation is greater than the strength of Christ— okay, we wouldn’t say that, but it’s what’s happening— and that we should worry because anything could go wrong. They are lies.
When we lose focus and take our attention off of God and His goodness, it is so easy for us to be overwhelmed with worry and fear. It has always been this way. Think of the overwhelming joy you feel when you’re spending time with God, reading His word, serving Him, telling others about Him, thinking on the bright future that He has for you. It’s a “peace that passes all understanding” as I’ve heard it called. Look, we struggle with this all the time, but guess what? We don’t have to. Isn’t that wild?
I want to challenge myself and you to be like a rhino… “What? A rhino? Corey, bro you we’re telling me all about focusing on God and now you’re telling me to be like a rhino?” I am. And before you peace out on this blog, I want to explain myself. You see, rhinos can run thirty miles an hour, which is pretty fast when you consider how much weight they’re pulling. They’re actually faster than squirrels, which can run up to twenty-six miles an hour. I definitely would’t want a squirrel coming at me full force because, well, squirrels are evil, and I sure as heck don’t want a rhino coming at me full force! Running at thirty miles an hour is faster than a used Pinto will go. Just one problem with this phenomenon. Rhinos can see only thirty feet in front of them. Can you imagine something that large moving in concert as a group, plowing ahead at thirty miles an hour with no idea what’s at thirty-one feet? You would think that they would be far too timid to pick up full steam, that their inability to see far enough ahead would paralyze them to immobility. But with that horn pointing the way, rhinos run forward full steam ahead without apprehension. Crazy right? “Corey, I’m still confused about this. I can see well over thirty feet in front of me…” I agree, you can see thirty feet in front of you in distance, but what about in time? You have no idea what could happen in 30 hours,30 days, or 30 years. Rhinos moving together at full speed are known as a crash. Even when they’re just hanging around enjoying the watershed, they’re called a crash because of their potential. You’ve got to love that. I think that’s what we’re supposed to be. That’s what happens when we shake free of domestication and civility. The church becomes a crash. We become an unstoppable force. We don’t have to pretend we know the future. Who cares that we can see only thirty feet ahead? Whatever’s at thirty-one feet needs to care that we’re coming and better get out of the way.
I want to challenge us to be like rhino’s: to focus our attention on Christ so much, that, even though we can only see thirty feet ahead of us, we’re trusting Him. We don’t have to fear or worry anymore. We can trust Jesus. How beautiful?!