Sociologist and tech expert, Dr. Sherry Turkle says, “We are lonely but fearful of intimacy. Digital connections offer the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship. We expect more from technology and less from each other.”
One way digital connections have affected our culture is the distraction of our mobile devices. The distractions have impacted our productivity and relationships. The distraction impairs our ability to concentrate. We lose our focus.
Focus matters. Have you ever noticed that if you are driving down the road and you see a pot hole if you look at it you are more likely to hit it, than if you take note and keep driving. This is because of the Principle of the Path? Basically it says you move towards what you focus on.
Focusing on eternal things, we become overcomers!
Focus is critical to navigating the human experience with grace and in overcoming all the troubles and hardships that this world throws at you. Jesus references this principle twice in Matthew 6.
The first one is found in verses 19-21, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…but store up treasures in heaven…for where your treasure is there your heart will be also.”
The things of earth are perishable and slippery. They are temporary. The things of heaven are non-perishable and secure. They are eternal.
The second reference to the Principle of the Path is found in verses 33-34, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
The Kingdom of God is where Jesus reigns on earth. It is wherever the hearts of man are focused on Him. If we are focused on seeing God’s will being done on earth, we will be always moving towards His kingdom.
His righteousness is not our right behavior but our right relationship with God. When we focus on our relationship with God, He will transform our behavior.
When we are focused on the things of this world, we are drawn into all the drama, discouragement, and destructive thinking of the world system. An eternal focus deflates the temporary troubles of this world. When we focus on the things of God, we are drawn towards healthy relationships, encouraging people, and positive thinking. Focusing on eternal things, we become overcomers!
There is a little boy in our church, B. He is eleven months old. He was born with his foot at his knee. He has had surgery and lived with a full body cast. His twin brother is facing none of these things and is almost walking. But B, is determined to keep up. He is ready to walk. Today he is getting fitted for a prothesis. He doesn’t know defeat. He is focused on living. He is an overcomer.
How about you? Are you an overcomer? Do you store up treasures in heaven or are you struggling with temporary things and the worry they bring?
Live with the end in mind!
Jesus gives three tools for shifting your focus to eternal things:
1. Generosity – Hold all your earthly treasures loosely in your hand with a willingness to invest them in spiritual and relational things that are eternal in nature.
2. Prayer – Don’t just say a prayer, communicate with God which includes listening! Jesus’ model payer gives us several things to focus on when talking with God: Praise – acknowledge God’s sovereignty; Surrender – focus on God’s will not your own; Provision – let God know what you and others need; Grace – receive and extend it; Direction – seek guidance; and Protection – ask for help.
3. Fasting – Setting aside the things of this world to focus on kingdom things. Mostly fasting is giving up food to seek God. But you can give up anything that distracts you from time with God. If prayer is seeking, fasting is listening. I suggest a journal to write down the things God seems to be impressing on your heart during your fast so you can process them later.
Focus matters! You move towards what you focus on. Let me suggest something that Jesus teaches, a new way of thinking: Live with the end in mind!