Focus is important and necessary for all walks of life. If we want to succeed, then we need to learn what it means to be focused. Gaining the right focus helps us be undistracted and guards us against anything that would take us away from where we want to go.
In considering what it means to be focused, Psalm 46 is very helpful. This Psalm was written by someone who has learned focus and who was learning focus at the time it was written. Not only that but someone who had decided that if tomorrow comes, they will be focused.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.
The Psalmist gives us a great model for getting focused. They aren’t looking at the world, nor are they looking at the situation and circumstances that they are currently facing, nor are looking at other people or their approval and opinions. They start with God. The Psalmist says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
God will always need to be our starting point in our pursuit to get focused. We must ask ourselves, “who is God?” Not “who is God according to our imagination, or who is God according to what we think, or what other people told us, but who is God as revealed in the Scriptures?”
According to the Psalmist, “God is our refuge and strength,” He is the One we run to for safety, protection and strength. God is also “a very present help in trouble.” He is a God of Rescue.
In life, change is both unavoidable and inevitable. Verse 2 speaks of some significant irreversible change. We read of mountains falling into the heart of the sea. A mountain slipping into the heart of the sea would not happen quietly, nor would it go unnoticed. If a mountain were to slip into the heart of the sea, it would invoke panic, fear and a sense of helplessness.
In our life, there are mountains, things that we think are solid, stable and secure, things or maybe people, locations or relationships that we think will always be there for us. These mountains we see as a foundation, something to build our lives upon, or maybe as an anchor, something that keeps us secure.
Sometimes these mountains are taken away. Sometimes, they slip into the heart of the sea. But in the context of irretrievable, irreversible change, the focused Psalmist says, “God is my refuge and strength… therefore I will not fear.”
There are two other verses that I want to highlight from this Psalm that speak to us further about what it means to be focused.
In the first part of verse 8 we read, “Come, behold the works of the Lord.” If we are serious about living focused lives, we must learn to practice this. Come, leave whatever it is behind. Behold, let your focus be drawn towards and your full attention given to the Lord. Come behold the works of the Lord. Come and consider what God has done. This is not a passing glance but a concentrated looking and investigating. Come pay attention long enough that you might not just see the works of God but that you might see God Himself.
The second verse is verse 10a. “Cease striving and know that I am God.” Cease Striving, calm down, slow down. Be still. So often, in the world that we live in, we are in a state of rush and hurry. We are always fighting the clock, feeling like we never have enough time. The invitation of The Spirit of God through the Psalmist is, “Cease Striving…” but simply calming down or being still is not the end goal. The invitation is not to keep calm and carry on. The invitation is to cease striving for the purpose of something else. The invitation is to cease striving so that we might know that He is God. The more we come to God, the more focused we learn to be, then the more reassuring, comforting and life-giving this invitation will be.
Every day, moment by moment, the choice is ours, where our focus will go. The invitation to all of us is one of a certain and steadfast life amidst the chaos. The object of our focus sets the course of our day and, ultimately, the course of our lives. Christ Jesus is The One who deserves our focus, and as we learn to focus on Him, we will discover Him to be exactly who He says He is, and we will know Life in His name.
By: Ben Ellershaw