Where’s Your Focus?

dog and owner walking down a winding path

I was talking to a friend the other day, when we got onto the topic of my testimony. Who was I and what was I like before I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord?

Can you believe that when I was done talking, he not only felt uncomfortable about knowing all this about who I was, but also about knowing me now? He actually wasn’t sure if we could still be friends, now that he knows my past…can you believe that?

I told him, “But I’m not like that anymore…I’ve accepted Jesus since then. I’m not that same person.”

I don’t like to look back at the things that I’ve done…I mean, to some of you, it might not even sound that bad, and I have even had some people tell me it sounds like a good life! But to me, it was what I still call to this day, “my time in Hell.”

See, I was brought up in the Church, but somewhere along the line, I began to lose interest in Jesus. I began going to parties, got into alcohol, smoking cigarettes, sex, relationships that didn’t last very long, experienced extreme emptiness, and no matter how often I prayed (once I began again), I just could not figure out why I couldn’t feel the Lord’s presence. To tell you the truth, it felt as if God had turned His back to me. I would pray literally every night with the same prayer, something that I had put together myself. Every night, I would just hope that maybe God would listen to me this time. But it was always the same silence.

Are you beginning to understand why I call that time “Hell”?

To make a really long story short, I came to the point where I couldn’t handle the silence anymore. So I prayed to Jesus for the first time in a really long time. See, before, I prayed to God the Father, but neglected God the Son, which is Jesus Christ. Now, before you get theologically defensive here, I’m not saying that they are 2 different gods or anything. I’m just saying that you can pray to God, but if you haven’t accepted Jesus Christ, God the Son as your Savior and Lord, then it’s really difficult to pray to God the Father. So this time, I prayed to Jesus, God the Son, and asked Him if He would forgive me for everything that I did up to that point…and He did.

In Luke 9:62, Jesus said, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow, and then looks back, is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” I used to always wonder what this meant. Then somebody told me, and it made a lot of sense to me. Let me explain in today’s terms: you know those people – and I’m sure you have, in fact, you may even be one yourself – who, when they’re driving, they’ll pass something that will catch their eye, then will continue looking at it. Now, while they’re driving and looking at this thing (simulating holding onto a steering wheel, turning to the left as looking over the left shoulder), they’re also swerving into oncoming traffic, almost causing an accident. And they probably would have been in an accident if you, the passenger, had not grabbed onto the wheel and steered the car back into your lane. You know what I’m talking about, right? But if this crazy driver were to instead keep their eyes on the road ahead of them, then they would have stayed in their lane and everybody would be safe. Well, that’s basically what Jesus is saying. If you accept Him, then take your focus off of Him and put it onto something else, you’ll swerve into the next lane, so to speak.

OK, so now you’re focusing on Jesus and you’re feeling good; you’re walking down the correct path and nothing can distract you; you’re moving forward, but then you begin to look at where you are in your walk. You know where you should or would like to be and you see where you are, or maybe where others are and envy their position; and you begin to become discouraged because you’re not the best Christian out there; you begin to feel as if you’re not good enough to be called one of Christ’s; you begin to lose sight of your goal…you give up.

So what’s the first thing you decide to do? Let your instincts kick in…go back to what’s natural…sin. “EHH! Wrong answer!” Don’t look back at what you used to do. Don’t go back to your old ways before in the past! For if you do, then you too will be like salt that has no taste and will be useless, for no life will be able to grow from it. Remember what happened with Lot’s wife when she looked back? She turned into a pillar of salt. Now, you may not turn into a pillar of salt, but let’s look at salt for a moment. What do we know about salt? It has taste; Christian’s are the Salt of the Earth; in Luke 14:34, Jesus says, “Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil, nor for fertilizer. It’s thrown away.”

Check out the lyrics from Christian rock band “Disciple” from their song “Worth It All”:
“Forgetting what is behind, I’m moving straight ahead;
and I will run with a passion until I reach the end;
I won’t let my eyes move left or right;
I’ll run with all my heart,
I’ll give it all I’ve got!”

Do you understand? Don’t be like Lot’s wife who looked back. Keep the focus of all your energies on the Lord. Keep looking straight ahead, and not backwards, nor to the sides. Don’t look back at the sinful life you lived once when you were controlled by sin and reminisce about them being “good times”, stay in the life you are in with the Lord Jesus.

A final word from the Apostle Paul:
“No, dear brothers and sisters, I am not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us from Heaven.”

Don’t look back, but keep your eyes on Christ, and continue to move forward, and one day, when you tell people about who you were before knowing Jesus, they’ll wonder how the person standing there telling them this is the same person you’re describing.

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