When the Alaskan Pipeline was being built, there were many Texans who went to Alaska and found work on the pipeline. The Texans could only work a few hours in the frigid weather, yet the Eskimos, the native Alaskans, could work indefinitely in the cold.
They decided to do a study to find out why the Eskimos could withstand the weather. After much study they found that there were no physiological differences between the Eskimos and the Texans. There was nothing in skin thickness, blood, or any other thing physically that would explain the differences in the ability to withstand the temperatures. The solution came when they did a psychological study. The difference was the Eskimo said, “He knows it was cold but there was a job to be done.” In other words, his focus was on the job and obtaining results rather than on the weather. The Texan focused on the weather, and this kept him from focusing on the job at hand. (Taken from the Movie 5th Quarter).
In our faith, focus is everything. In fact, it’s so important that the devil works overtime to steal our focus from the things God would have us set our eyes like flint on towards the things that only bring hardship and division. We see it all around us. The things we should be focusing on that might unite us towards a positive goal are replaced with things that only bring strife.
The world says we need more anger to achieve justice, but God asks us to, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2). When we set our minds on things that are above, our focus becomes set on things like love and peace and communication.
The things of the world cause us to stray from these things. Worldly advice says we should live in fear, react in anger and communicate through harsh words. The devil smiles when we reject the ways of God by trying to find solutions in ways that are not of God, that don’t focus on things above.
Proverbs 4:25 says, “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.” In other words, keep your eyes set on the goal. We are to let the will of God guide us in such a way that we cannot be distracted by worldliness.
Isaiah 50:5-7 is in the midst of the third Servant Song speaking of the coming Messiah, it goes like this, “The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward. I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting. But the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame” (Isaiah 50:7). Here he is describing the focus of the coming King of kings describing His unwavering determination to accomplish the agonizing goal given to Him by His Father.
Keeping our focus like Christ’s in a world of distractions is not an easy task, so God has provided us His Word to serve as blinders so that we might keep our focus on the goal of everlasting life with Him, He has given us His Spirit to motivate us toward the goal of faithfulness and He has given us His Son to provide the path by which we might find our salvation.
Jesus was the perfect example of the kind of focus God would have us achieve. Nothing could stop Him from reaching the goal set before Him. No threat could deter Him, no punishment would discourage Him, and no amount of ridicule would prevent Him from doing for us what only He could do.
The Apostle Matthew gives us wise advice when He asks us to, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). God has a plan for all of us, but to reach our goals we must be focused on the task at hand, even in a world that daily distracts you. If we can do so, He promises us everything.
The choice is yours. Will you keep your focus on Christ and the pathway toward salvation, or will your eyes veer from the path set before you towards things of the world? Will fear and anger rule your days or will you trust in God to guide you toward better things? God will not steal your focus, it must be given willingly. Are you up to the task? Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, keep our eyes set like flint on the path you have laid before us. Help us to trust only in you for our salvation and lead us to help others maintain their focus on better things to come. Amen.