Let's chat a few moments about staying focused on God in the mist of adversity. What?! Wait, ummmm say that again! Yup, let's talk about it.
To be honest, there have been many times that I have failed this test. It's a daily struggle but I'm determined to persevere! What about you? Are you tired of failing this test? I'm also a school teacher and my students hate to retake a test and SO DO I. God is not interested in passing us along nor grading on a curve. He is looking for a change in how we respond to adversity! Ouch! Help us Lord as we proceed!
Lets define focus.
Focus- (noun) the state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition. (verb) (of a person or their eyes) adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly.
I find that it is really hard to stay focused on God when my emotions take over. At that moment I become the passenger in the car watching myself wreck and self-destruct. My eyes are no longer on God but rather how I feel.
Following our emotions can cause our spiritual discernment to go out the window and our emotions become our god and leader of our lives. I think we have all been guilty of this at some time or another but its time to grow up and stop this emotional roller coaster.
We have to be careful not to switch masters. God is going to have full control of our lives or our emotions. You and I are to continually allow the Lord to lead us in good times as well as the bad not our emotions.
Have you ever been in the mist of a situation and not even think of a spiritual (God pleasing) way to respond? Before you know it you "done" slapped someone, overthought the situation or cussed your boss out and now you're fired. Now you applying for unemployment and getting food stamps because you let your mouth shoot off with an emotional response. Did I really have to go that far, ummm yah!
So, how then can we stay focused on the Lord in the mist of the battle/heated moment? You and I have to practice his presence and trust that
all things are working for our good! Easier said than done, I know right!
The thing is, God said he would never leave us not forsake us so he is there and he is also the avenger of those doing us wrong. Oh wait, also, he can show us where we are wrong. I surly don't want to leave that part out. Ha!
We have to trust him! You know Job, in the midst of his testing, had the protective hand of God on him and the enemy could only do him so much. Wow! Pause and really ponder that! Satan had to ask Gods permission to do anything to Job. (Job 1:10) God isn’t parcel. He will do the same for us.
Practice his presence you say... what does that mean? Spend time getting to know God personally and intimately and not just for what you can get from him! Spend time in prayer talking to God and listening for his reply. When he calls you, stop what your doing and yield. Spend time worshiping him. Read his love letter, the Bible and hide it in your heart not to sin against him. (Psalm 119:11)
As we practice his presence we become more aware that he is always there. At this moment we then become more mindful of what we think, say and how we act. I'm sure you wouldn't go off if God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit were standing right next to you. Well at least I hope you wouldn't....
Being aware of the Lord's presence (as we grow in this area) should help us not to grieve his spirit with our sinful actions (Ephesians 4:30).
I'm guessing by now you figured it out... this isn’t just going to happen over night! It’s going to take work on our part! Just like any relationship it forms and develops over time. I guarantee this relationship has eternal supernatural benefits. Including his promise to keep you in the mist of the storm!
When your next test comes up try focusing on God's omnipresence and seek him for help in pressure cooking situations. Sometimes I excuse myself to the bathroom or a short walk and pray to ask for help. The ultimate goal is to be so focused on the Lord, especially in adversity so we can produce fruit that remains (Galatians 5:22-23).
I challenge you today! In the mist of chaos that life can deliver right to your front door, gift wrapped all nice and pretty, keep your eyes on the Lord and allow him to lead your emotions. Remember to practice his presence and stay focused!