A Sojourner Keeping Focus


Life is a daily battle, isn’t it? Not only daily, but moment by moment. We can wake to sunshine and in a moment’s turn darkness can cover as a storm howls. Sometimes those storms quickly pass. The rainbow appears and we give praise. There are times when the storm seems to hover lowly above us. Rain pelting down, relentless in all ways. I have found even in these times the sun rises. It shines upon me and there is evidence to praise God’s presence. It’s a no matter what kind of faith. It’s a faith we choose.

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” Romans 13:14

See, we can either choose Jesus or we choose to see only the circumstance. The outcome depends upon our choice. If I choose to focus on the circumstance that has brought me pain, it is only pain I am going to see. I simply cannot see nothing past it if that’s all I’m choosing to allow in my thoughts. If I choose to see Jesus, to praise Him through my pain, it gives way to me experiencing a peace that I would not have otherwise known. As bad as it can be there’s always a reason to give Him praise.

“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Galatians 5:16-18

We all battle something. If we say there isn’t some kind of giant trying to stand nine feet tall in our lives we are lying to ourselves. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, these are places in our lives where Satan tries to gain strongholds. He sneaks in while we pretend everything is fine and before we know it we are asking ourselves, “How did that happen?” After all, we think we can handle it. We have it under control right? That’s not how sin works.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

What can we do? I mean if we are believers he is going to attack, right? You betcha! For right now he seeks in every possible way to destroy us. If there is a circumstance plaguing you right now you can bet Satan has something to do with it. Whatever it is there is a root cause. We must protect ourselves. We have to set boundaries. We have to be aware. We cannot wake in the morning leaving our lives wide open for attack. We pray over every inch of our lives, every aspect and every detail. We leave nothing for him. So, in turn we give everything to Jesus. We entrust Him with all.

“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:11-12

Prayer is power. Through prayer we communicate with our Lord. He wants us to share with Him. All the good, the bad, and the ugly. He knows, right? But there’s something about us speaking it, acknowledging it, and owning it. There are circumstances that touch our lives that our not of our control and then there are those that we ourselves have caused. That’s a hard one to admit, right? We like to make excuse and to place a blame somewhere other than ourselves. But facing our sins and admitting them is a huge step in coming to be the people our God has created us to be. Growing with Him is knowing Him intimately. We don’t get to know Him without knowing ourselves.

“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” James 1:12-15

Each day temptation stares us down. Oh, it’s tricky, isn’t it? It disguises itself as something good for us, but then we take a bite and somehow we have bitten off more than we can chew. Temptation is like that. It can look so inviting. A little pleasure. I mean, we deserve it, right? What we don’t deserve is grace and without grace we would be lost in sin forever.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into His grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:1-5

On days when I don’t make God my focus everything turns in a direction that I know isn’t one He has planned. On those days where I am steadfast to remain focused something happens. Jesus happens. Everything becomes about Him. My actions, my words. There’s a heart change. When He is the foundation for my day I find Him in everything. That’s pretty spectacular.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” 1 Peter 5:6-10

So, how do I focus on Him? It isn’t always easy. There’s much to take our attention. There’s much to keep us busy and by busy it isn’t always hands and feet in something good. I have been doing something different. If we want to make a change we have to be purposeful in our actions, right? In the mornings I listen to preaching on the radio. Oh, there are some fantastic teachers. Such good stuff for the soul. I tell you, when you love the Word of God, well, you just can’t get enough! I turn it up so it can be heard throughout the house. In the afternoons I will set it on Christian music. I too set my radio station in the truck on Christian radio. I keep my Bibles open and in places that gets my attention. I set a time in the morning to study and at night before bed I will read a Christian fiction. I have to be purposeful or other things will take presence of my mind. It is sometimes a moment by moment battle. I have to tell myself, “Nope. I’m not going there. Get behind me, Satan.” We have to take control of our thoughts or they will take control over us. That’s a place I don’t wanna be. I don’t want to be any place where Jesus isn’t.

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8

Friends, we are sojourners in this land that is not our home. Although this is where we live. This is where we make our home for now. We don’t have to live in fear. We don’t have to hurry through. Let’s live this life with purpose. There is such love to share. There’s so much to explore, so much to witness of God’s glory. Remember the Israelites? They were shown so many wonders. They lived it! But yet they forgot when things got difficult. They would lose focus on who their God was and in whom they belonged. We lose that focus and the battle gets rougher. Let’s remember who we are battling. Satan is enough. We don’t need ourselves to battle. There’s enough to stumble over.

“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-13

What can we do to change our focus? Often we have to rid ourselves of the junk. God is good to show us what doesn’t need to be present in order for us to experience more of His presence. Hold tight to what you know and get excited about what you don’t yet know. Dive into the Word! Get a great study Bible. Maybe a devotional will help kick start your day. I love them. A Bible study, a group of ladies, a few friends, someone who can encourage you in the journey. There are great tools to aid us in our study. Take time and just talk to Jesus. Give yourself room to experience Him. The more of Jesus we allow in our lives the more we will see that we just can never get enough.

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