“WISDOM OF LIVING (44) FOCUS” By Pastor YAU
Text: Colossians 3:1-4 February 26, 2006
1) An experiment: A seminary professor stretched out and relaxed on the grass on the top of a hill near his home one day. Turning his head to one side, he fixed his focus on some blades of the grass inches of his face. He felt dizzy and his eyes were strained and everything else beyond his nose was blurred because of the short-range focus. Try this: put your pointer 2 inches in front of your nose and try to look at it with both of your eyes for 30 seconds and you will understand what the professor was trying to say.
2) An application: While there is a need to see things close to our daily life, constant focus on things so close will cause you to feel dizzy and lose the ability of seeing things clearly afar. Unless you are willing to adjust your focus, you will miss so much more if you keep on focusing only on things that are near. God has made your eyes capable of seeing things both near and far, why do you have to sacrifice most of the benefits of your eyes by only focusing so much on things inches from you?
WHY DO WE FOCUS ON THINGS CLOSE?
1) They are dear to us: Everything from our job, the school, the attitude of our buddies, the kind of car we drive, the size of our salary, position at work, the size and location of our house, what others said about us behind our backs and the list goes on and on. We think that these are things so important to us: our status, achievement, image and so on. Often times, we value ourselves by measuring these things.
2) They are our security: We all understand the importance of feeling secured. That’s why we try all we can to build our castle of security by things close to us: the more and better things are, the more secured we may feel. We depend so much on things and people on the outside for our feeling secured. Because of the need of feeling secured, many people spend most of their time and energy just to accumulate things and build a pleasing image so others will say good things about them.
3) We want to be in control: We talked about this before: man always wants to feel in control. Most of us understand that we have little, if any, control of the future or things at great distance. So, we need to control things we can: things close to our nose. Some even want to control people close to them: family, friends, coworkers and friends in school or even at church. We want to remold or reshape them to fit our likes or dislike. The desire of control could become domination that could create friction and disharmony with others.
4) We have no better things to focus on: Men without God have little to focus beyond the things close to them. Many people try so hard to focus on things they can and some have achieved so much but end up feeling empty and meaningless because they have neglected the real need on the inside: the need of eternity. Many successful people either committed suicide to end their lives or ruined their lives in reckless life style because they have nothing beyond their nose to focus on.
THE DANGER OF FOCUSING ON THINGS TOO CLOSELY: (3:2)
1) It limits your scope: When we focus so intensely on things so close to our eyes and heart, we miss a much bigger spectrum of things that are available to us. Just try to wear a pair of completely darken eye-glasses and you know what I mean. Life is much bigger than the things close to your nose. Forsaking a much bigger and often time better world and everything else in it by being blocked with immediate things is not a very smart way to live.
2) It causes you to feel dizzy: Feeling dizzy is a physical condition that impairs the capacity of vision and reasoning. People who insist on focusing on things so close to their nose lose the capacity of seeing and understanding the value and potential of the much bigger world. Their reasoning power and ability to see life is greatly affected and reduced.
3) It blurs what you vision: No one can clearly focus when trying to see things both from near and far at the same time: you have to focus on one thing at a time. Each time to focus on things with different distance, your eyes need readjustment. People who see only things near cannot see things beyond and cannot understand the value of them. That’s exactly why Apostle Paul tried so hard to encourage the early Christians not to focus so much on things on earth but things in heaven above. While there are things on earth may be attractive, but none of them may compare with things in heaven.
4) It blocks you from making bestchoice: Focusing so much on things and life on earth may cause you to miss the need of eternal life and the blessing comes with it. Too many people are so caught up with things on earth that either hinders or blinds them from seeking the most important thing: eternal life in heaven. Focusing on things above is more than just eternal life in heaven after the journey on earth. It is a set of different principle and value system on which we operate our lives—a much better and lasting system than that of the earth.
HOW TO FOCUS ON THINGS ABOVE?
1) It all begins with your heart: (3:1) Paul asked that Christians should set their heart on things above. Setting is positioning, focusing and direction. We all have the right to set our heart on things we deem to be important, necessary and valuable. It is our heart that directs our thoughts and pursuits. It is our heart that set the course where we go. King Solomon warned his readers to be careful in protecting hearts from setting on wrong course. He said, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
2) It rests on the new life in Christ: (3:1) To be raised with Christ means the new life in Christ. Anyone who is in Christ, he is a new creation as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17. People with new life should have need focus in life, new value system, new focus and new direction. What occupies our heart and life pretty much tells how much or how sincere we are as Christians. Just as people who came to this country and had become citizens of this country, their new status should help them to see things different from his old country. He will suffer from splitting his loyalty and value if he still hands on to his old way of life.
3) It takes death to the old nature: (3:3) Death to the old and life to the new is the theme of Paul’s teaching through out his letters to the early Christians. He said that he was crucified to the old nature and now lived in the new life of Christ. (Romans 6:6; Galatians 2:20) It is of vital importance that we recognize our “death to the world and life in the Lord” status. We do not and should not allow the old ways of life, the old system, values and direction to determine our new life. Getting rid of the death old nature is our daily practice of Christian living.
4) It anticipates the glorious day: (3:4) We all have our glorious moments of life: score a full mark in an exam. Passing a driver’s license at the first try. Get a dream job after college. Marry a dream girl or a Mr. America, just to list a few. But all these and others will fade and be forgotten through time. Just imagine how you may feel when we appear with Christ in His glory with angels and trumpets. Some may think that focusing on things above is less certain than things here and now. But how much certainty we have on things we have now? Who care how much or what we have once you are done with the earthly journey?
1) What are you focusing? What is the center of your life? How much time and attention you spend on things above? You say you are a Christian, are you preparing for your journey above?
2) Are you being distracted? What do you need to do to refocus on things above and eternity? How certain are the things you have here on earth? Plan some important steps for new focus.
3) Set your heart with Jesus: plan your life with Jesus in it. Live with Him each day and be with Him forever when He come back to take us to heaven. Ask Him to go through the journey of life with you. He is the one you really need to focus for today and eternity.