April 24th

Focus on Jesus

1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:1-2 NIV 

   12I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13and among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man,"dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.  17When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. Revelation 1:12-18 NIV

One of the challenges of the walk with Christ is to keep our thoughts focused heavenward instead of the mundane issues of our daily lives or the carnal desires of our old self.  It can be a real struggle not to get carried away with such earthly thoughts.  The danger in fixing our thoughts on earthly things is that they will divert our attention and devotion away from God, and into whatever object of our thoughts is.  For example, I throw myself into a project at work that takes several weeks to complete.  If I’m not careful, I may give that project first priority in my life, over my relationship with God.  My quiet times may suffer or not happen at all. When I do have them, I may be preoccupied with thoughts about the project.  Everything will turn out much better if I am able to continue to give God top priority while I’m working on my project.  To do so will require that I maintain an eternal perspective and keep my thoughts “in-tune” with God throughout the day.  

One of the things that I have found helpful in redirecting my thoughts away from carnal topics and toward Christ is to picture Jesus in my mind.  This is a way of using our imaginations for a good purpose.  Here are some examples:  When I am being tempted to sin I might remind myself of the cost of my salvation by imagining Jesus being nailed to the cross for my sake.  When I am singing a worship song, I might picture God on his throne in heaven.  When I am praying for someone, it may help me to think about Jesus being there with us, ministering to my friend.  

John wrote about his encounter with Jesus in the above passage from Revelation.   John’s vivid description can help us in those times when we’re trying to fix our thoughts on the Lord instead of an earthly temptation.  Just imagine what Jesus looked like:

It’s an awesome thought that this same Jesus lives in us right now!  He lives to intercede for us and help us through whatever we are facing.  If we can keep our minds focused on Jesus throughout the day, we’ll be best positioned to handle whatever challenges we may face.  

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Heavenly Father, Thank you for creating me with an imagination.  Please forgive me for using my imagination for sinful purposes in the past.  I want to use my imagination now as an instrument of faith and to keep my thoughts focused on you, Lord, throughout the day.  Please convict me when my thoughts are straying into sin and grow in me the self-control I need to control my mind.   I praise you and thank you, Lord!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”