Where is our Focus?

Where is our focus today? When we look around us and observe the culture war taking place, what do we see? When we hear about judges redefining marriage, where is our focus? When we hear about government inculcation of secular values to our children through public, where is our focus? When we see a decline in morals on television, film, and radio, where is our focus? Are we focusing on the circumstances? Or are we focusing on Jesus?

I am not suggesting we bury our heads in the sand and ignore what we see happening around us. We are supposed to be alert (Ephesians 6:18, I Peter 5:8) and as wise as serpents but harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16). We should be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16).  What does this mean?

First, we remember that our God is good, all the time. He is sovereign, which means He is in control of everything that happens. That is not to say that God causes everything to happen, because God cannot cause evil. However, God does allow bad things to happen because somehow He mysteriously is able to use it for His eternal glory and to bring about His plan. Probably because He knows what we are going to do before we ever do it. Take the story of Joseph for example. He was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers who had considered murdering him, and later was wrongly imprisoned after being falsely accused of attempted rape.  Clearly bad stuff happened to Joseph. But did Joseph focus on the circumstances? He focused on God and God’s plan. After joyfully being reunited with his brothers many years later, Joseph said to them, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result [to save lives].” (Genesis 50:20)

Do we believe as Joseph did, that what others mean to do, which may seem harmful to us, God may use for good to save lives? Let’s be clear, this doesn’t mean God condones, approves or causes harmful behavior and choices. Or that we are free to engage in whatever wrongful thoughts, words and actions we want because we rely on God’s ability to use bad stuff for some good eternal purpose. That’s known as cheap grace. Christ didn’t suffer on the cross and bear the sins of the world so that we could go on living our own way, apart from God’s way. God graciously and mercifully forgives. But forgiveness requires a heart that repents. (Acts 2:38, 3:19; 8:22)

Second, knowing God is good all the time, do we trust Him? Do we live like we trust Him? Not merely talking about it, but actually living out God’s truths and promises so that our lives are living proof that God is good and we trust Him? Sounds great, but how do we do that? How do we live like “salt and light” when we see the culture war taking place right in our face, in our marriages, our homes, our schools, our churches, and our government? Paul says if we have all the words, gifts, knowledge, and faith, but we don’t have love, we are nothing and gain nothing. Nothing, without love. (I Corinthians 13:1-3).

So how should we respond to what we see happening in the culture war around us? Keep our eyes focused on Jesus. Know God. Know His Word. Be alert. Speak truth. But most importantly, live a life of love for God and for others. After all, isn’t this what Jesus told us are the two greatest commandments? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind...Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

Focus on Jesus.