Our pace, especially in America, is generally on fast mode combined with the pressures of our daily grind and jammed schedules, makes “fixing our minds on Jesus” difficult. Even those who have followed Christ for a long time can find it challenging to stay focused on Christ. God is good with a fast pace, but not without Him and not without order. What teachings does the Bible offer to help us stay focused on Jesus?
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1,2).
The key to running a God-driven race is staying focused on Jesus and NOT getting distracted by the world. There is nothing easy about being a Christian. We continually have to make choices that go against our flesh, the world, and Satan, who all work 24/7 to distract us and consequently weaken our faith. If our work in helping others does not give God the glory, then odds are we should not be doing it. There are lots of good causes; if we join one just because we like the people or it makes us feel good, it is probably not a call from God. A call from God involves much prayer and personal sacrifice that will ultimately give all the glory to Him.
“If then, you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).
There is no purpose in running any race unless we have a game plan. We must prepare and work hard, even when we don’t feel like it. The most important thing we can do is to commit to reading the Bible daily. The command to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) means that throughout each day, God, through the work of the Holy Spirit, is always on our mind. He will actively help us in the big or the little things in life that we encounter throughout the day.
“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!” (John 5:39)
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).
Know that the Lord is your help and your refuge. God wants to be with you in your sorrows and your joy and in fellowship and loneliness. Life is complicated and difficult. Once we understand the spiritual and physical dangers we face daily, we will focus more on Christ, our one and only Savior, who alone has the power of deliverance and can navigate us through all things.
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.…” (Matthew 11:28,29).
“Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:5-7).
Spending time with other believers who share your passion for Christ and are free to hold you accountable is critical in helping us keep our focus.. Hebrews 10:24-25,” And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
Staying focused on Christ is tough, but it is an essential part of the Christian faith. When we seek to grow in God’s Word and learn His attributes, to pray and plan, through the work of the Holy Spirit, and to spend time with other believers, then we can better focus on Christ and a life committed to His glory.
Helen Lemmel says it all in her hymn, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”