“In our world, where hundreds of things distract us from God, we have to intentionally and consistently remind ourselves of Him.” Francis Chan, Crazy Love
Another way to stand firm is to stay positive and keep focused on God’s truth. Too often we’re sidetracked by how we feel, both physically and mentally. If we live life based on how we feel, then we won’t succeed at much of anything. And our selfish hearts keep our focus on our own needs and wants.
The Bible says to capture our thoughts and make them obedient to Christ. I’ve heard it said this way: we must think about what we’re thinking about. The battle truly is in the mind. We need to learn to sort though our thoughts, clear out the junk, and grab onto what we know to be good, true and healthy. (Phil 4:8) Most of the time we’ll discover that our minds are focused on ourselves.
To stand firm, we must intentionally direct our thoughts to other things.
- Count your blessings (focus on goodness). Unfortunately this task has become a cliche in our culture, but this truth still stands. We’re told so many times in scripture to be grateful, to give thanks to the Lord because He is good. Keeping a journal is helpful; when you write down all the things you’re thankful for, all the good things that have happened to you each day, you see that life is not as bad as it feels sometimes. We’ll become more appreciative of the things God had done for us, things we too often take for granted. And we must tell others about how God blesses us, because the Bible says we overcome by the the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. (Rev 12:11)
- Bless and serve others (focus on others). The Bible tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves, and that means we take action. We have to get involved in the lives of others, to be His hands and feet. Sometimes this is a smile, a word of encouragement, a listening ear, a little gift. Sometimes its making a meal, helping someone clean their home or yard, bringing treats to work. Sometimes its teaching Sunday School, writing a blog, greeting people who walk through the door of a church. There are so many ways to be kind and compassionate. We can’t reserve love for Sunday mornings; we need to live it every day, and look for ways to bless others. The Bible says that we overcome evil with good (Rom 12:21) – where can we do more good to others?
- Rejoice in the Lord always (focus on God). As moms and wives, we’re busy. And while we’re pretty good at managing time, we’re often weary. A year and a half ago, my office went through some major changes. My workload drastically increased, and managing the stress became a challenge. As I prayed for help, God showed me that the only way I could succeed at work was to look to Him and not my immense list of tasks. The word He kept giving me was “Rejoice!” (Phil 4:4). I found that the more I praised Him, the more I accomplished each day. I dug out old worship CD’s for my car and downloaded new music. I made sure I got time with Him each morning in prayer and Bible study. When we make Him our priority, everything else falls into place and we find that we can handle much more than we ever could without Him.
Because right thinking doesn’t come naturally to us as sinners, we have to practice and train our minds. We’re transformed by renewing our minds (Rom 12:2).
Where do you need to change your focus?