What we choose to focus on can make a significant difference in our outcomes. We can concentrate on the positive aspects of our situations or embrace a negative viewpoint. We can adopt a worldly focus or choose to focus on our faith and hope in Jesus Christ. No matter what life circumstance we are facing, it’s important to always exercise faith-filled courage when determining our focus.
“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2
There are many times in life I feel as though I’m setting off into uncharted waters not knowing if I were going to sink or sail. I often feel like Peter in Matthew 14:22-31, brave but afraid, trusting but questioning, walking on water one minute and sinking below the surface the next.
Jesus, walking on the sea in the midst of gale-force winds, came toward the disciples and asked them to take courage and not be afraid. Jesus then commanded Peter to step out of the boat and onto the raging sea, the same sea that was battering the boat he and his fellow disciples were holding onto for dear life. Peter, having faith he could do Christ’s will with Christ’s help, took a giant leap of faith. He placed one leg and then the other over the side of the plank-board boat, stepped out onto the water, and began making his way to Jesus (cf: Matthew 14:22-31).
In that moment of decision, I believe, Peter, being human, took a few steps in faith, heard a voice of doubt in his mind that began to recite a familiar tune: Are you crazy? You can’t do this! You’re going to get hurt, you are much better off to stay right where you are! and chose to focus on the world’s voice rather than Christ’s.
Oh, how I can relate to Peter. How about you? Whether our inner voices whisper, cajole, or scream there’s no doubt we listen to them. As soon as Peter took his eyes off Christ and focused on the bad things that might happen, he began to sink. Can we really choose to tune out these inner voices of doubt? I believe we can.
When we courageously choose to focus on God’s voice and His desires for our life, we can override our inner voices that accuse, judge, and threaten with messages from God that empower, encourage, and support.
In learning to make courageous choices, I’ve found it critical to keep my eyes on Christ. Unless I completely trust the loving arms of my Savior to hold me when the waters get rough, I will be forever susceptible to listening to my inner judge or accuser who is constantly standing by just waiting to bury me in fear.
So how can we keep a courageously focus, one that is on Christ and not the world?
Here are 3 daily practices I incorporate that help me maintain a positive, godly focus:
- Set aside at least 10 minutes a day to spend in prayer and communication with God.
- Set aside at least 10 minutes a day to read and study God’s Word.
- Set aside at least 10 minutes a day to talk with a friend who offers godly counsel that is focused on positive aspects and is grounded in God’s Word.
By setting aside at least 30 minutes each day to incorporate these three practices, we can choose to maintain a godly focus that prepares us to face life with courage.
What steps will you take today so you too can keep a courageous focus?