You're 16 and the whole world's watching you. That's Shawn Johnson at the Beijing Olympics. She's got a lot of expectations riding on her. The petite Iowa gymnast entered the Olympics, favored to win the sport's most coveted title, the all-around competition.

According to USA Today, the publisher of Inside Gymnastics compares Shawn Johnson's ability to concentrate to that of record-breaking swimmer, Michael Phelps. Michael Korotky said, "When you are focused the way athletes like Michael Phelps and Shawn Johnson are, you reduce the risk for injury. Your mind is not wandering."

Now that makes me think. When you're totally focused, you're a lot less likely to be injured. It reminds me of what one Bible writer said - a writer who obviously was familiar with the original Greek Olympics (Hebrews 12:1, 2). He wrote about us running our race successfully, "surrounded by...a great cloud of witnesses." Hello, Olympic stadium. "Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles." Hello, Olympic training. "And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hello, Olympic endurance.

Then, the secret of gold medal living. "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus." Focus. Concentration. Realizing that it's all about Jesus. When I focus on myself - like what I'm feeling or fearing - I trip. When I focus on my circumstances, I'm paralyzed. I'm convinced that most of the devil's ploys have one common goal - to get us focusing on anything other than Jesus. Because we're easy-beat. But he cannot defeat Jesus. Keep bringing your heart and mind back to Jesus, and he cannot take you out. Let your heart and mind wander and hell's stalking lion (1 Peter 5:8) can have you for lunch.

When I focus on frustrating or irritating people, I'm wandering. When I focus on the problem du jour, I've left my Source of protection and strength. When it's all about anyone or anything other than Jesus, I'm going to get hurt or defeated. I need to hear myself saying it about 20 times a day - "It's all about Jesus." That's the focus of a champion.

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
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Harrison, AR 72602-0400

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