Every season of the year we can expect changes in the weather, decorations, and even the sports we play. In spite of the change, especially in sports, all coaches will demand the same thing no matter what season they are coaching. Every coach I’ve met demands “focus.”
There was a man in the Bible by the name of Asaph who wrote a Psalm that gave me insight into the subject of focus. In Psalm 73:16 he said, “So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is!” I like that Asaph was honest and had questions for God. Maybe he was living a godly life and didn’t have anything to show for it, materially speaking. Maybe he was seeing all kinds of injustices around him and wanted answers. Regardless, he is unhappy with his current circumstances and he is looking around for answers.
For some reason he had questions and so he asked God for the answer. It says in Psalm 73:17, “Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.” He went on to describe that the path of the wicked is a slippery slope that leads to destruction. He realized that maybe the wicked wasn’t prospering as much he thought. Then he realized that maybe he had the wrong focus! Verse 21 says, “Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant, I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.”
Asaph realized that his focus was wrong and that he had harbored bitterness in his heart. Bitterness, like many emotions, has a way of clouding our thinking and poisoning our judgment. When our heart isn’t right, our emotions get cloudy and our actions tend to follow suit. Asaph was focusing on what he didn’t have, and didn’t realize what he did have. His negative thinking on the inside began to guide his direction on the outside.
Asaph began to change his focus. He realized that in spite of his focus, his attitude, and his actions – God still loved him. He said, “Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand.” I don’t know about you, but I only hold the hands of those I love and care about. Asaph spent time with God and got his focus back! “But as for me,” (remember those four words from David’s Psalm 59) how good it is to be near God!”
Have you lost focus recently? Are you enjoying the holiday season or do you find yourself complaining about all the work, the crowded malls, the fast pace, and what you don’t have? Is your attitude positive or negative? I once read that the optimist invented the plane, but the pessimist invented the parachute. Think about it.
I want to encourage you this Thanksgiving and Christmas season to keep the right focus. Spend time alone with God and ask him to guide you and lead you, to keep bitterness from your heart, and to be thankful for all the things that you do have.
From the staff of the Buckeye Border FCA office – we pray that you have a very focused and blessed Holiday season!
For more reading, check out Psalm 26:6-8, Psalm 100:1-5, and Ephesians 5:19-20