Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Changing Our Focus

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’” (Matthew 22:37-40 NIV)

Let’s try an experiment this morning: With what would you fill the blank of this statement if you examined how you really live?  I love _____________ with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind.  In other words, what is the motivation or focus of your life right now?  

When I look back at my life and consider what I see in people today, here are some possibilities that perhaps ring true for you: What people think of you—your reputation among your peers, how many “likes” and comments you get on social media; your career or your career goals; your romantic life; the wrongs done to you and your lingering bitterness over them; having fun and enjoying life; regret over past sins; accumulating wealth and/or power; the appearance of your body; your personal comfort and safety. 

The call of Jesus is to deny ourselves and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). This means what we want out of life is secondary to what He wants for us and where He leads us.  Too often today Christians live and think as if their lives still belong to them, that they can do whatever they want. However, the call of Jesus is one of surrender.  To follow Him is to surrender our wants and desires to Him.  Now He may surely give us what we want, like a career goal or a romantic interest, but it is from His decree, not ours.  We don’t demand it or take it.  We humbly submit to His will, trusting that He loves us and has our best in mind.  

By filling in the blank of the above statement honestly, we can get a sense of where our hearts truly are, to what or whom they are truly devoted.  The wonderful thing about the Lord is He is so patient.  He knows we struggle with self-absorption and He grieves at the trouble it causes us.  If your blank was filled in with something other than the Lord, know that He is willing to forgive you.  Yet know continued self-focus will only lead to more heartache and regret.

The Lord wants what’s best for you, and living for Him is truly the best. Consider where your heart is today and ask Him to change it to where the focus is increasing more on Him and less on yourself.

© Jim Musser 2016

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