The Awesome Ability to Focus!
Posted by February 22, 2021on
Our minds have the capacity to focus on good or bad. But it’s our choice how we use this ability. Consider some of the choices we face.
“Would you listen to me? Pay attention to what I’m saying. Pay attention to what you are doing. Look at me—listen to what I’m telling you!”
How many mothers have said something like that?
One of the challenges for kindergarten teachers is to get and hold the attention of those little ones. Of course, that is a challenge for all teachers. They want their students to focus on what they’re attempting to teach them.
When God tells us to examine ourselves, study, meditate, seek first the Kingdom, etc., He is asking us to narrow our thought process—to focus.
The ability to focus is truly a miracle of the human mind.
Where will we focus?
Consider this scenario: John Doe, a member of the Church of God, wakes up one morning. As he lies in bed, he hears a couple of birds chirping outside his window. A mockingbird? A robin?
Higher in the sky he hears the distant roar of a passenger plane, and several miles away a freight train rumbling through town. He hears a couple of children chatting as they walk toward the bus stop and two cars pass by. Shifting his attention to inside his house, he hears the soft hum of the refrigerator and a slow drip from the shower he needs to fix soon.
In a couple of minutes he rolls out of bed, looks out the window to see a partly cloudy sky getting lighter from the sun just under the horizon. In his line of vision he sees lights in the neighbor’s kitchen, trees, shrubs, flowers, a car going by, the children standing on the corner, a street light dimming and a squirrel digging in the leaves.
All this reminds him of how incredible His Creator is. He can hear all those sounds all at the same time, or he can focus on any one of them. He can see everything within his view, or he can focus on the squirrel or a flower. He can enjoy an orchestra or focus on the oboe or grand piano.
Focusing our thoughts
Just a little earlier, as he lay in bed, he started thinking about his tenure in the navy, the ports he had visited, the drinking, the women, the wild, exciting times of his younger days.
And then it occurred to him that God inspired Paul to write the words, “Whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely . . . meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8). And John was able to cast out those thoughts and focus on God’s plan and his future in it.
It also reminded him of Paul’s words regarding the spiritual battles we all face, the fight to not allow our minds to return to any corruption from the past or present.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
David’s failure of focus
When David looked out over the housetops and saw Bathsheba bathing, his attention went from seeing a city and city life sprawled out before him to focusing on this beautiful woman taking her bath. He had within him the ability to look away, to turn his eyes and mind to other things, but as we know, he did not exercise that power.
When he first spotted her in the panorama that was before him, he was tempted. By focusing on that scene, the temptation turned to lust and led to sin, to another sin, and then another! James describes how the dominoes fall if one allows the mind to move down that path (James 1:14-15).
Let’s make good use of the miraculous ability to focus on those things that make for spiritual growth, while avoiding those that can tear down and destroy us.
To learn more about focusing on the important things, read about “Christian Priorities: Putting God First.”