The Reality of Your Focus

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Notice the Theme

In Star Wars I: Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon Jinn directs young Anakin toward a way of thinking that really drives the entire movie series:

“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.”

This theme actually runs throughout many books and movies. In most cases, it stands out with little effort put toward seeing it. As a Christian, I also see this theme throughout Scripture.

The truth that “focus determines reality” stands out the most in the Old Testament as God’s people continually struggle with focus, casting it from God Almighty to foreign god’s multiple times.

“This disaster happened because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God who had brought them out of the land of Egypt from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt and because they had worshiped other gods. They had lived according to the customs of the nations that the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites and the customs the kings of Israel had introduced.” (2 Kings 17:7-8)

The theme also comes alive in Psalms, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.

“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.” (Proverbs 4:24)

“Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then your will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:2-5)

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

The theme shows up in the New Testament too.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” (Romans 8:5)

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2)

Applying the Theme

FocusThis theme of “focus determines reality” has become one of continual application for me. And even though I regularly visit its status in my life, I still intentionally hone in on it a bit more at the start of every new year. This year, that deliberate focus came out in the form of three separate posts.

Pursuing a Quiet Life — A peaceful inner life permeates the outer, physical state of a person. It’s a deliberate effort that benefits not just our own lives but the lives of the people around us too by witnessing to the impact of the presence of God in a person’s life.

Balanced Goal Setting — We certainly should pursue our ideas and make plans as best we can. We also need to keep in mind that He ultimately accomplishes His will regardless of what we plan. With that, we need to leave room for the unexpected and be willing to love and pursue His will over our own.

Diligent, Peaceable and Occupied — These words give a deeper understanding toward what it means to focus on developing and living a quiet life. This focus also helps us accomplish the work God gives each individual in a productive and effective way.

My prayer is that this theme permeates your life too as you realize the importance of deciding your focus in the determination of your reality and how doing so falls within God’s design and plan for your life.

DISCUSSION: How have you seen the theme “your focus determines your reality” played out in your own life?

Note: For more Scripture examples, see “What the Bible says about staying focused.”

How to… Obtain Knowledge

We gain knowledge from a variety of sources. The goal, of course, involves obtaining knowledge from positive sources that helps us grow. Part of that goal includes sorting out knowledge that comes from deceptive sources and/or that won’t contribute to our growth in a positive way.

Knowledge is another important element in our journey to Be Victorious. So how do we obtain knowledge that helps us grow and at the same time avoid accumulating knowledge that is not edifying?

My health journey has involved a tremendous amount of sorting through good and bad information. I collected knowledge that helped and tossed what did not.

My sources of information included the internet, doctors, magazines and books along with friends and acquaintances going through similar situations. No one source provided all the answers. Rather, the solution to my struggle with depression and other nagging health issues involved knowledge gained from a variety of sources.

The idea that small changes made over time add up to make a huge different certainly applies here. As I collected information and through the process of trial and error, I slowly made changes mentally, physically and spiritually that brought me to a place of health and wholeness.

Through this process, I learned several lessons that others can use to obtain knowledge in a way that promotes growth and health as an individual.

  1. Persistence is an absolute necessity. Simply refusing to give up is half the battle toward obtaining knowledge that promotes healing. For more on this topic, read the post How to… Be Persistent.
  2. Know thyself. I wrote in my journal regularly to help sort out what I was feeling physically, mentally and spiritually. I also kept food and exercise logs as well as noted how I felt throughout the day. Knowing myself well helped me identify the information that would help me most.
  3. Look for knowledge to come in unexpected ways. From the waitress at the coffee shop to your pastor, anyone can give a tidbit of information that provides a small step in your journey. Refuse to discount any information until you have had time to pray over it and to corroborate it with additional sources.
  4. Have & focus on goals. My first goal as I searched for the knowledge I needed was to overcome depression. I felt, and still feel, I can deal with any physical ailment as long as I’m stable mentally. I then focused on the physical ailments. Within all of this, I kept a focus on growing spiritually, knowing this was the glue that held all else together.
  5. Be aware of information overload. As I’ve already mentioned, there is a lot of good and bad information available. More than that, there is simply a lot of information coming at us constantly.  Take in information in bits and pieces and avoid taking in so much that you can’t process anything. And be sure to take breaks from building knowledge. On a regular basis, let yourself relax in a good book or movie or time with friends.
  6. Realize your helplessness and dependence on God. The hope of deliverance from the pit of depression kept me moving forward and pursuing knowledge. Most importantly, knowledge of the Source of that hope trumped all else.

In Hosea 4:6 we read that the people were actually being destroyed by a lack of knowledge and that the leaders (priests) had actually rejected necessary knowledge. Regardless of the situation, a lack of knowledge creates a severe handicap that leads to an unproductive and sometimes hopeless life. God gives us the knowledge we need to live victorious lives. Above all, as our knowledge of Him increases, He gives us opportunity to increase in knowledge in all other areas of our lives.

DISCUSSION: How does the difference between knowledge and information fit in with this discussion?

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