Where's Your Focus?

Self-indulgence Disguised as Self-righteousness

Jesus came toward them…

…walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror. But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.” Matthew 14:26-27

Fear Paralyzes

It is a powerful tool used by the enemy to debilitate us. Fear deadens our spirits and draws us down. In fear we hesitate, procrastinate, rationalize, make excuses and ultimately end up living smaller, less fulfilling lives. Why do we give it any mental space? Brennan Manning, author of The Signature of Jesus, said, ”When we fear failure more than we love life, when we are dominated by thoughts of what we might have been rather than by thoughts of what we might become, when we are haunted by the disparity between our ideal self and our real self, when we are tormented by guilt, shame, remorse, and self-condemnation, we deny our faith in the God of love.”

He is the point

I am not the point.  He is the point.  And yet, as I think about the sin, the awful, wretched sin that emanates from my poor choices, selfish motives, and maligned values the focus comes back on me. It’s nothing short of self-indulgence.  What is my predominate, all-consuming focus going to be? The continual sin in which I engage and how terribly bad I feel about it, or the magnificent love of the Father?

We are not advocating that we ignore or deny out shortcommings. We’re not soft on sin. We need to be “called out’ in order to grow. But wallowing in guilt rarely changes us because the focus is on us, not the One who transforms us through love, from the inside-out. So, the question is…

Where’s the focus? 

Is it on being wrecked by the depression, fear, shame, and guilt of self-indulgence, disguised as righteousness, or contemplating what it means to be God’s beloved? The first stance will continue to hold us captive. Exactly what the forces of darkness want. The second perspective has the power to shine a Light in our darkness and truly set us free.

Pausing for an Epic Moment

Jesus you are the point. By your grace, let my sin be nothing more than an instrument that takes me back to your magnificent love. Let your love for me and those I love be the all-consuming focus of my life. As I know it in my head, let me experience it in my heart. Let your love so consume my worldview that it colors everything I see with life as you intend it to be. Let your love so consume my life that there isn’t any room for self-indulgence of any kind. Grow my faith and trust in you Lord. Open the eyes of my heart to what you’ve done and what you are doing. Help me to see that while I am pleading for you to come near I am missing your nearness. Let my devotion run wild. If any doubt resides in me let it be the doubt of the limitations I put on you.