Happy New Year! I think I am still allowed to say that (even if we are well into January). I hope you have come into this new year hopeful and refreshed and committed to your walk with God!
As 2022 begins to peak into our lives, I thought we might do something a little different at Whitney Gibbs Ministries this year. Each week, we will be focusing on a new word. This word will drive our daily Bible verse readings on our Instagram page and will shape some of our study here on the blog each week with at least one post dedicated to that word and topic. Really, a word will drive our study of the Word each week!
This week, I want to begin with a word that really evokes the essences of new years and how we generally hope to center our years upon. Our word for this week is : FOCUS.
We focus on so much at the beginning of the new year. We focus on resolutions, vision boards, political and social forecasts for the year. We focus on NOT focusing on what life was like in years past with the hope that it might be different on this side of the calendar page. We focus on life: what it can be; what we want it to be; what it is. Focus feels so intentional at this time of year, it can sometimes feel stressful if you AREN'T as focused as everyone else is.
This new year, I realized, however, that everything we tend to focus on at this time are things the world is telling us are important. Our weight, our careers, our finances, our houses, the creation or expansion of our families. These are all things that, though the intention of all of them might be honest and good, are things the world deems to be important above all else. I'm not saying, certainly, that God doesn't care about these things or that He does not want them to be our focus; rather, what we focus on these things purely because the world tells us we should, we are focusing on the what rather than the why. Why do you want to lose the weight? Why do you want the better career, or the finances, or the house, or the family? So often times many of us have no "why" to our "what" and when that happens, the focus on the what oftentimes fades with the passing of days; leaving us feeling defeated and weak.
This week, I shared four verses with you all on Instagram pertaining to focus, as it is seen in the Bible. I want to refresh your memory with them now:
"Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed." – Proverbs 16:3 (NLT)
"Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." – Romans 12:2 (NLT)
"But the one who endures to the end will be saved." – Matthew 24:13 (NLT)
"You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!" – Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)
Now, I know someone will point out to me that NONE of these verses have the word "focus" in them. That is very true. One verse says "all whose thoughts are fixed on..."; but other than that, focus isn't explicitly mentioned. All of these verses, however, clearly remind us where our mindsets should be placed; that place being on God and his plans for us.
These verses clearly also tell us the why for each time they ask us to focus in on God. So our plans will succeed; So that we will know God's will for us; So that we might be saved; So that we will have peace. God asks us to focus in on Him rather than things; but He doesn't ask us to do these things just because He says so. Certainly not. God tells us why focusing on Him will be beneficial to our lives; and what He lays our is GOOD.
He says focusing in on Him rather than what the world tells us we should focus in on does not rob us of those good things we want to have. It will not rob us of a healthy body or good career, we don't have to suffer financially or give up on having a family. Instead, God says, on top of all these things we desire that are good and right and of His will, we will have peace, salvation, endurance, we will be a new person in Christ Jesus, and we will surely succeed. You see, when we know the WHAT and the WHY, we are seeing the full picture; and, when we see the whole picture, we can focus with intention on the things that are most important.
This year, we will all be bombarded with things we are told we should focus on, and some of them will be good things indeed; but let us not forget the thing we should focus on first, God. When we have Him in our sights, everything else will fall into place.