With my keys, I was focused on a specific thing and my actions followed.
James wrote about a similar phenomenon. His book requires a lot of focused intentionality from the audience. In chapter 5, he addresses loving money; chapter 4, our motives; chapter 3, our tongue; chapter 2, how actionless faith undermines witness. But, successfully conquering these areas is impossible without correctly focused thoughts, as he warns in chapter 1, “Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:15).
The same concept applies in all areas of life. Our thoughts, when fixed on earthly desires, overwhelm our brain and manifest as actions. James is saying, if it isn’t a Godly thought, don’t focus on “it.”
What is “it?” “It” is the object of your temptation. “It” is whatever you desire that points away from God’s righteousness.
Miraculously, I was able to retrieve my keys. They had gotten caught on an inner ledge with the ring popped up just enough for my finger to slide through. Intuitively, I knew to focus on the inside of the circle, not the edge. Why? Because if I focused on the edge, the chance was great that I would knock the keys into the abyss forever, but shifting my thinking to the center gave me true aim.
Friends, it has taken me years, and sometimes I still struggle with remembering that I can choose to think about what I think about. Scripture tells us, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Phil. 4:8).
So, I challenge you to think about what you think about and encourage you , if your thoughts are not lining up with Philippians 4:8, to intentionally shift.
Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. This doesn’t mean ignoring the negative, it means focusing on God’s goodness. I suspect that if we do, we will find that joy and happiness are not elusive states and our actions will align much better with our intentions.
Friends, when life becomes overwhelming, an easy place to start is focusing on God’s goodness allowing the Holy Spirit to shift your hearts and minds through prayer.
Pray with me: “God, you said that if we focus on you, you will give us the desire of our hearts. Place within us those desires that are honoring to you, keep our focus pure. Amen.”
“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 (NIV)
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