One of the hardest parts of life is keeping our focus on Jesus.
Can you imagine being a leper in ancient Israel, as Jesus passed by on the road? Would you look at your decaying hands? Would you wonder if anyone would set out food for you to eat that night? Would you wonder how soon you would die?
You would have every ounce of your attention focused on this man who has healed other lepers. Then you would try to get his attention focused on you.
Single people tend to fixate. We get a subject in our mind and go over it again and again and again. Many singles turn on the TV, radio or stick earphones in their ears to provide some noise just so they can escape their obsession for a while. The trouble is that noise can't solve your problems. However, Jesus can.
Sometimes we get the weird idea that Jesus is too busy to solve our problem. We think that because it's not life or death, he couldn't be interested or that he's got more important things to do.
Here's some reassuring news: Jesus is the ultimate multi-tasker. He can control the universe, run the complex ecology of our planet, and still be intimately involved in the lives of billions of his followers. There is no limit to his power.
When we focus on Jesus, we remember the promises he made to us. It would be completely contrary to his character to go back on anything he's ever said. He never changes, so his word is as reliable today as it was 2,000 years ago.
We're all guilty of believing that worry is a constructive activity, that if we mull over our problem enough, we'll somehow get it under control. No matter how many times that strategy hasn't worked, we keep going back to it.
When we focus on Jesus, we believe that he already has the situation under control. But maybe we won't like his solution. Maybe it'll be hard or distasteful or cause us to lose something we value.
That's when our faith in his goodness comes in. It's not enough just to believe that he can handle the problem. We also have to believe that he always does what's best for us.
At the time, his solution might not feel that way. Because he knows and controls the future, he arranges everything to work into his plan for our life.
Our minds have a natural tendency to wander during prayer. We start to focus on Jesus, with the best of intentions, but then we forget and we're back to our worry list again. Back and forth, back and forth.
God understands, but he takes control only to the degree that we're willing to surrender. The more we put in his hands, the more he'll do.
I don't know about you, but I've messed things up so completely over the years that I'd much rather give the Ruler of the Universe control of my life and let him straighten it out.
Don't get me wrong. This is not a passive activity. There's an old saying: "Even God can't steer a parked car."
Rather, God will help you recognize opportunities. As you read the Bible and learn God's expectations for his children, you'll make wiser decisions. You'll consider the consequences and have fewer failures.
It's extremely hard to take your mind off your trouble and focus on Jesus. This is a lifetime habit we're trying to break here.
Fortunately for us, the Holy Spirit is the wisest, most helpful counselor we'll ever have, and he wants to help us make this change.
To relinquish control and focus on Jesus seems like a tremendous gamble, but in reality, it's the only sure thing in life.
People who act as their own god eventually discover they're a pretty weak god. They don't know the future. They're not all-powerful. They can only take a chance and hope for the best.
If you want to be a mature Christian, you don't have a choice. The Christ-centered life is truly the only way to go. Yes, you will stumble and fail from time to time. You'll backslide. We all do.
But if you make it your life's priority to focus on Jesus, one victory will lead to another, your faith in him will grow, and your walk with God will never be the same.