Fix Your Focus

I love reading the bible. It is full of so much wisdom and life application. I feel like there are so many mistakes I made as an adult that I could have avoided if I had a stronger understanding of God’s word when I was younger. Unfortunately, I can’t jump in a DeLorean with Doc and Marty and travel back to 1986 (that would be super cool), but if I could, I would tell my teenage self to start reading the bible every day. Especially the book of Proverbs. For those of my brothers out there who know this book, you feel where I am coming from. Respect authority; avoid that woman; stay away from that business deal; don’t eat fifteen hot dogs on a dare…ok that’s not in there, but gluttony is and trust me it’s not worth it.

As much as I love the wisdom we receive in Proverbs, this blog is about something else. I want to share with you two of my all-time favorite stories from the bible about fixing your focus on God. The first is when Peter steps out of the boat after Jesus calls him out and the second is Daniel in the lion’s den. Both men in these stories demonstrated extreme courage and faith, but in one case the man’s focus never left God. It is my hope that the points I share with you today encourage you in your current situation as you strive to have faith in God’s plan for your life.

Shut Out the Noise

The story of when Jesus calls Peter to walk out on the water with Him is the ultimate sign of faith. Jesus is telling his boy to do the physically impossible, and when you read the text it seems like he is all in until…..things get a little crazy. The wind starts whipping and the waves get choppy. Pete starts to clench up down below and he gets afraid. Not tense; not nervous; he is downright scared and it’s hard to blame him. One minute he is literally walking on the water and now he is sinking to the depths below. What happened? Peter got distracted. He started paying attention to all the noise that was happening around him and lost focus on Jesus.

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith, he said, why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14:28-31, NIV

Distraction is Satan’s way of getting us to divert our attention from what’s important now. Peter’s story of putting full trust in the Lord and then questioning Him when things get tough happens to people like us every day. We get excited about a vision that God has given us or a plan that He has placed in our hearts and then ask, “Why me?!” when the wheels start to go off the rails. Just because you believe it’s from God does not mean it’s going to be easy. As a matter of fact, anything worth having is usually difficult to obtain and even harder to maintain. Anybody out there married? Hello! How about becoming a Christian? Just because you join the club doesn’t mean life all the sudden is filled with stress free sunset walks on the beach. We need to be able to shut out the noise around us and concentrate on what we need to do in the moment.

Having Laser Focus

I have been a baseball coach for 25 years and I pride myself on learning all facets of the game. Tom House is someone I met back in 2007 and I learned so much about throwing mechanics from him. One of the quotes I still use from him today is “Aim small. Miss small.” While that is very helpful on the pitching mound, it also resonates in our everyday life. The more you concentrate on what is important the stronger your focus becomes and the better the result. Think of a controlling a beam of light. When the opening is wide it will illuminate a room. Make the opening much smaller and now that light is intensified on a specific spot. As terrible as it sounds think of how you used to take a magnifying glass and burned ants as a kid (I’m not the only guy reading this who did it). The light from the sun didn’t harm them until you used the magnifying glass as a laser and burned off their antennas.

When you read the story of Daniel in the lion’s den, we all know that he got a raw deal. He was sold out by a bunch of jealous co-workers who took advantage of their boss’s newly made rule (that they basically talked him into establishing). King Darius loves Danny, but reluctantly must toss him in with the overgrown kitties. However just before he does, Darius says this, “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.” He was right. A stone was brought over to cover the den and if you’re Daniel you’ve got every reason to freak out and break out your best Bruce Lee impersonation to fight for your life. However, he doesn’t. Why? Well, when you look up images of this on the internet almost every one of them shows Daniel looking up towards heaven (most likely in prayer) and focusing on GOD instead of the lions. Quite possibly if he for one second shot one of them a glance he would have been dinner. Instead, his laser focus was on God, and he controlled what he could control. Daniel survives the night and is set free first thing in the morning.

“So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.”

Daniel 6:16, NKJV

Respond Well

Daniel’s ability to focus on God alone and shut out the distractions around him is what separates him from Peter in these two stories. They were both great men of God, but when you study more about each one of them you see that Daniel has a better track record of being more levelheaded in his decision making and always seemed to respond versus react. It seems like each time he went to God and prayed for wisdom, God revealed an answer and Daniel went with it, no questions asked. Peter was more of a wildcard, and you didn’t know what you were going to get from him. Kinda “like a box a chocolates” (insert Forest Gump accent). Are you going to score a caramel delight or end up with one of those nasty raspberry gummy textured ones that sticks in your teeth and tastes like barf?

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

James 1:5, NIV

Thermometers tell you how hot or cold a room is, but a thermostat controls the temperature of the room. As men we need to be the thermostats in our homes and set the tone for how we want our families to interact. We need to continually be in God’s word and go to him in prayer daily so we can be in communion with Him. The more you do this the better the communication line is between you and Him. It’s an indescribable and amazing feeling when you hear that still soft voice in your head and YOU KNOW it’s God. By the way do not be surprised if it sounds crazy and nearly unattainable. He is the one who will guide you through it. If we want to be strong men who lead our families courageously, we need to fall to our needs and cry out to the ONE who created us, loves us, and will never forsake us. Get on your knees now or later tonight men and spend time with your Daddy. He’s waiting to hear from you.

Here are some things to think about and apply to your life:

  • Start and end your day in prayer and get on a daily plan of reading the bible.
  • Have a Daniel mentality and ask God for wisdom when a difficult situation in pressed upon you.
  • Be the thermostat at home and at work. Help set the tone for others to follow.
  • The next time life throws you a curve and you swing and miss, get back in the batter’s box and tell God that you’re ready for the next pitch.
  • Invite someone to church or bible study. They just might say yes.

Men, my wife is an amazing woman of God, and she wrote an article with a similar focus seven years ago. I want to encourage you to CLICK HERE, and it will take you to the link to her blog entitled Gaze vs. Glance. Send the link to a woman in your life that you love and I believe it will bless her.

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks, Billy. Great post!