Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Well, I'm not much of photographer, but I'm married to one. So, a few years ago I was able to open doors to minister to our local football team by being on the sidelines and shooting slides of them in action. Now, my wife gave me this crash course in photography, and one thing I had to learn fast was how to focus my lens. See, I was shooting from all different angles, all different distances. If I said, "Well, I'll just focus my lens on this first photo, and then I'll leave it like that," I would have had a pile of blurry pictures and not many friends on the football team. See, the picture kept changing, and I had to constantly refocus for each new situation.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Slipping Out of Focus."
Now what you focus on in any given situation will determine your attitude and ultimately your response. It's important that you fill up your lens with the right thing, that you ultimately, of course, focus on Jesus, not on the circumstances. But your heart and your mind are a lot like my camera: you can't just focus once and leave it set there and think it will stay there - the picture keeps changing. You have to get back in focus for each new situation.
There's a memorable example of this in our word for today from the Word of God in Matthew 14 beginning in verse 25. The disciples were out on the lake in a sudden, violent, life-threatening storm. And then, the Bible says, "...Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified. 'It's a ghost,' they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: 'Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.' 'Lord, if it's You,' Peter replied, 'tell me to come to You on the water.' 'Come,' He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus."
Wow! Man, Peter had his mental camera focused completely on Jesus - and he was unsinkable. But then things slipped out of focus. The Bible says, "But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink cried out, 'Lord, save me!' Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. 'You of little faith,' He said, 'why did you doubt?"
Well, there I am. There you are. Focused on Jesus, walking where we could never walk otherwise. And then focused on the storm, the circumstances, our fears. Going under. That's why we need to constantly refocus on Jesus - because we keep slipping out of focus. We get halfway there, and we start looking around. We lose our focus on Jesus.
Let's say you start your day praising the Lord, really hanging onto Jesus. But throughout your day, there are so many distracting problems and temptations and emotions and people. And it's so easy to focus on those stresses, those issues. And suddenly Jesus is just a blurry figure in the background.
Over and over, we need to stop and get our eyes back on Jesus - to take a deep breath and say, "Jesus is Lord." "Jesus is first." "Jesus is in charge here." Often I will find myself stopping several times a day when the winds have suddenly picked up and I'm saying those three peace-producing words: "Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Lord."
Satan's great strategy for sinking you is to get your eyes off Jesus because he can beat you, but he doesn't stand a chance against Jesus. So keep readjusting your focus. Keep Jesus always in the foreground, clearly in focus. Remember, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace."