Changing our focus to look inward instead of outward
Recently while reading a new book “Wonderstruck” by Margaret Feinberg, I learned how to look up and outward instead of looking inward and downward.
I won’t give you the whole story as not to ruin the reading for those who might want to read for themselves. But basically she was explaining how when we are faced with difficulties or situations that cause us to worry we tend to focus on the problem looking inward as to what can I do to fix this, instead of looking upward to God and outward focusing on the Who instead of the Why.
She used Job as an example in her story. But I also see where we could look to David as our example. When David got ready to fight Goliath, everyone laughed and said what can you a small boy do against a giant?
David instead of looking inward, at himself, his small stature, he looked upward and outward and asked WHO?
Did I not while taking care of my father’s sheep, fight the lion and kill it, fight the bear and kill it?
Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he would come against my God?
In other words David did not look to his own capabilities of defeating the giant. But he knew that God, who delivered him from the lion and the bear, would also deliver him from the giant.
He didn’t focus on the why but on the Who that would deliver him out of his situation.
Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine…”
1 Samuel 17 v 36-37a
Another teaching from one of my favorite teachers also goes right along with this, being that when we are yet weak, that is when we are strong. We are strong with the strength of the Lord. When we turn over our weaknesses to the Lord, we find our strength to win our battles.
Instead of focusing on our weaknesses and why me oh Lord? We focus on Who loves me more than anything, Who gives me the power to defeat my enemies, Who says I can do all things through Him Who strengthens me? Who says I have the victory? Who shut the mouths of the lions and saved Daniel?
He will save us as well.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. “For when I am weak, then I am strong…”
2 Corinthians 12 v 9-10
Ok, let me make something clear here, this verse is not saying we as Christians are or should be always under persecution or forever being tested by the Lord.
Just the opposite. First of all, God is good all the time, and persecutions, and trials and tests do not come from the Lord, they are from the enemy whose main job is to kill, steal and destroy.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly…
John 10 v 10
It is saying that while yet we may be under persecution, or in distress, we but have to turn our problems over to Him and rest in His strength, for He will deliver us.
His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Why? Because when we realize we can let go and give it to Him, His grace, His power, His strength is more than enough.
There is no problem too big for our God. Amen.
Someone I was listening to the other day explained letting go and letting God like this. You have a cup that is full, you can’t add more to it because it will just run over the top, there is no room for more.
Well, when we don’t let go and let God, when we are so full of ourselves that we don’t have room to let God into our situations then we stay weak.
But when we empty ourselves (our cup) and turn upward and outward and let God fill our emptiness, then we can be made strong through His strength.
In other words, we change our focus, we take the limelight off of ourselves and place our focus on Him and what His word says and we will come through our situation and not stay camped out in the wilderness trying to work things out on our own.
We need to raise our heads high and look upward and outward instead of inward and downward. This is a great lesson for the New Year when we are all making changes for the better.
How do we change our focus?
This story began more than two decades ago and it’s far from over. It started in the summer of 1989... read more