Dogs love walks. They may not like leashes, gentle leaders, other dogs on the street, or rules, but in general, dogs love walks. When I am walking Georgia, her intense focus on the task has almost pulled my arm out of the socket. We live in a cul-de-sac, so every single day we walk in the same direction. We may add a street at the end, but every day, twice a day, we walk the same street, pass the same houses, and greet the same neighbors. Yet Georgia walks with such gusto and purpose, it’s as though every walk is a new and exiting venture. And don’t try to talk to her when you’re walking; she is busy concentrating.
You’ve watched kids do the same thing. Give a kid a Lego project, and watch her tongue slip out of the side of her mouth as focus draws her in and the background activity fades away. The ability to tune-out in order to focus-in is a gift from God, and has brought us all through driver’s exams, final papers, graduation, scoring the touchdown, childbirth, accomplishing the big project at work, and has even saved our lives when the surgeon’s focus was accurate. Olympians, politicians and three year olds know the value of focusing.
But even the strongest among us can occasionally lose focus. Or maybe it’s a matter of shifting our focus to the wrong things. We can focus a lot of time, energy and attention to things around us that are not going carry us forward to the goal of being citizens of heaven. All day long our focus can shift to useless things like comparing ourselves to all those happy, beautiful (fake) families on Face Book, envying the coworker’s expensive car and wondering why you don’t have one, clicking on a friend’s vacation video, reading announcements of someone’s child who got straight A’s and won four school awards….all these things are focus-stealers that take you down wrong paths. Too much time on Instagram can lead to Instagrim, where you get caught in a sticky comparison trap that makes your vision blur. When you do that, you lose sight of what’s really important.
So what’s really important?
Seeking a relationship with the One who makes us beautiful and whole.
Building a partnership with the One who will transform our earthly bodies into glorious ones like his own.
Staying on the right track and living a life worthy of the cross.
Focusing on God, and letting the rest of it go. All of it.
So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision – you’ll see it yet!
16 Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it. 17 Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. 18 There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross.
19 But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites. 20 But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.
Gracious and Loving God,
Help me to focus wholly on you today. May my eyes gaze only on your Word, may my ears hear only the whispering of your Holy Spirit, and may my heart be set only on doing your will. And please bless the dogs. AMEN
Photo by Sherri Henderson.