Friday, March 16, 2012

Fixing The Focus

"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;"  Colossians 3:12

I am so easily distracted these days.  I tell you, I put a load of laundry in the washer first thing in the morning, with the idea that if I can keep at it, I can have all the laundry in the house washed, folded and put away in no time.  Then a day passes, and the washer is still holding that first load. Sigh. I could certainly blame it on this beautiful, beautiful early spring that God is blessing us with.  Wow! The sunshine, the warmth, the new beginnings right before our eyes are such a balm for the weary soul after a rough winter.

But the fact remains that I've been too easily distracted as of late.  My resolve one minute is literally gone the very next as something else comes up and gets in the way.  I've been really distracted lately by trying to figure out why people think the way they think.  Many months ago I read online about how Christians were getting in a tizzy because other Christians think it's important to have Christian people in the political arena, in Hollywood, in our schools teaching, running businesses, and so on.  Christians were upset by this thought?  Why on earth would it be a terrible thing to have good Christian men and women in the White House?  Why on earth is it a terrible thing to desire Christian people in Hollywood to make wholesome family entertainment?  I honestly, and truly do not get it.  And yet in my thought life I keep coming back to these thoughts because they make so little sense to me.

Christians out there are accusing Christians of horrible things right now, and all I can think about when I think of that is that a house divided cannot stand.

"But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand."  Matthew 12:25

I cannot understand why Christians have decided to attack their brothers and sisters in Christ, accusing each other of awful things.  I've watched as Godly people get caught up in these arguments and debates, and in the end, no good comes out of it, because both sides are certain they are correct, and everyone walks away with an even bigger distaste in their mouth for the other people.  It's abhorrent, to tell the truth.  To attack one another over trivial bits of doctrine and theology.  Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your savior?  Yes. Then that's good enough for me.  Everything else is semantics.

The thing is though, that while our good Christian brothers and sisters are arguing and fighting each other until they're blue in the face (because neither side is budging) other things are happening around them.  Scary things, things that we don't read about in our local paper because they are done in secret.  Muslim brotherhoods are moving into the remote regions of our country to build their mosques and appear as a peace loving alternative to Christianity.  Jesus IS peace!  And yet we are not displaying peace in the least because we're so busy attacking one another and breaking our focus- which should be fixed solely on HIM. The devil is taking advantage of this.  He's exploiting this divisiveness in the church with relish.  He's wringing his hands with glee as he watches our fighting and then when we're not looking, sends something into our very neighborhood that we won't be able to anything about once we finally realize it's there.  

What happened to kindness and meekness?  What has happened to make normal, rational Christians into the rabid, unkind people they've become?  Why do they turn on one another with such hatred instead of embracing one another and appreciating what they DO have in common- the love of a God who would send His son to be our Savior. 

And so while I am so caught up in these thought processes, my focus is also broken.  While I stay far, far away from these tainted dialogues between various members of the church, it's something that's clearly in my thought processes.  Yet, there's nothing I can obviously do about something that's clearly becoming a worldwide problem for the church.  So I just think on it, and I get frustrated with people in general.  In the meantime, the kids and I have been studying some amazing cultures and people and I am simply aghast that us as Christians can be so caught up in these trivial petty matters while there are people around the world who are really and truly suffering.

I don't get it.  And I don't want to get it.  

What I want is to have these thoughts out of my head.  I want to stop focusing so much on what other people think and believe and simply think on thoughts that God has for ME.  That's what this broken focus is affecting.  I read something really awesome in my Bible, and instead of just being joyful that God shared that with me, my thoughts are ones of criticism- why don't other people see this?  I think it's high time that we as believers stop reading our Bibles and thinking that what God reveals to us is meant for everyone.  I truly believe that sometimes God will open our eyes to something in the Bible that He means for only us at that moment.  I will read a passage a hundred times, and it isn't until the 101st time that something new leaps off the page- some new revelation or understanding. That's perfectly normal!  And in fact, it can be scientifically proven that it's a normal occurrence.  

The brain processes thoughts in different ways in every stage of our lives.  So a verse that we read when we're eight years old has a completely different meaning that a verse we read as a teenager, as a young adult, or as an elderly woman who has lived her life fully.   There's a reason our Bible is called a Living Word- because it actually IS!

I would pray today that this season of broken focus would be put snugly in the past, to never return.  God has things to say to us, things to share with us, and He can't do it if we're not focused on Him.  He won't do it if we're not focused on Him.  I would pray that He would help not only myself, but my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to check our focus and hold it where it should be.  Smack dab in the center of His Will. 

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