Thursday, November 9
Day 18: Praying for Focus
“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of Peace will be with you.”
– Philippians 4:8-9
In business, there is a phrase often referred to when analyzing the state of a company or department.
“Your organization is perfectly constructed to achieve the results you are currently getting.”
Perhaps, this is a bit too simple, but I believe the heart of what is being communicated is incredibly accurate. The results we get are directly correlated to the choices we make day-in and day-out. In business, one can look to the bottom line, the office culture, and customer satisfaction as benchmarks of what they are encouraging and building by their actions. If different results are desired, a change in operations is required. It’s simple, if not even elementary to understand, but arduous to put into practice.
The Christ-follower can often experience a similar situation—one where we find ourselves overwhelmed with feelings of fear and anxiety, paralyzed by uncertainty, incompetence, and the belief that everything is out of control.
How did we get here? I do not want to imply that when we feel stress and fear we are in sin. Simply, it is worth noting that God is often called the God of Peace (Philippians 4:7), a feeling foreign to many of us. From the logic of our business acumen, change needs to be made to achieve different results within our lives. Paul outlines the needed change for many of us. He makes it clear the problem is not that we do not have enough faith or that we need to do more, but rather the necessary change is a change in our focus.
In Philippians, Paul encourages Christ-followers to trust God amid their fear and anxiety (Philippians 4:6-7). But immediately after this, he gives us an important next step: we need to change our focus. What are we dwelling on? Where are we allowing our thought life to rest? What foundation do we structure our choices upon? Is it on the Lord and His sovereignty? Or is it on our feeble attempts to convince ourselves we have a level of sovereignty in ourselves?
In times of unrest, may we surround ourselves with the truth of Scripture, returning our hearts to the reality of God’s control and our eternal reality. May we bring other Christ-followers into our thought lives to encourage and walk with us. May we remove obstacles that threaten to bring our hearts back into a state of seeking control. Let us focus of what is good, “and the God of Peace will be with us” (Philippians 4:9).
Father, what a gift it is to know You are good—that when I am at a loss, when things don’t make sense, when choosing to follow You comes at a cost—I know you are good. May this be the focus of my heart. May it anchor my mind when I start to look around and begin to believe the lie of my own need for control. May I look back at how You have worked in the midst of my own life and gain confidence in the promise of Your goodness. The conflict in Israel and Gaza has not caught You by surprise. Your heart breaks for those who are suffering—so much so, that Your goodness compelled You to bring hope back into our world. Through Your death and resurrection, evil and suffering have an expiration date. In the waiting for this, may I be moved to bring small pictures of Your goodness into the darkness and evil, trusting and focusing on the hope of Your goodness and love.
In Your name, Amen.
By Andrew Glenn
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