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Focus to Finish Well

Romans 5:20b But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more

It has been a few years now that my wife and I have picked a word that becomes our personal focus for one full year being on January first. My word for 2017 was clarify, so all year I was tasked to clarify everything I found myself doing during the year. For example, if I read scripture, I was tasked to clarify why that passage had meaning in my life. Or, if I was working on a project, I had to clarify why the project was important to me. It helped me find more meaning in the things my life was involved with. My wife’s word for 2017 was minimize, which meant she would evaluate everything in her life that was not needed, and get rid of it. Well, yes, I was spared; I was not part of her yearlong purging. However, she did rid our house of unnecessary clutter and restructured her time to be more productive on things that matter.

So that brings me to a brand new year and a new word.

After some debate and a little thing called quadruple bypass surgery, I decided to go with the word focus. In today’s sound byte world we like the fast and easy answers to questions, always looking to a quick read and moving on. There is some merit to being able to do a quick read on things, but I am not sure it is how we should live our lives.

It was after my surgery and during recovery that I realized how fast paced everything around me was happening. It was almost as if I lived for the moment and then moved on to the next moment without much thought about the last moment. It seemed like my life was layered with experiences but none of it really connected. Living life without a flow of thought that connected yesterday with today, and tomorrow with today is a disconnected kind of life. It takes a great amount of focus to evaluate today, and how was it different from all the other days that I have lived so far? How was it similar and was today a day I enjoyed, or was it too similar like many of the days before it? I know this sounds very philosophical, but if you choose a word like focus for a yearlong emphasis on how you live, these are the kind of questions you would ask. Finding something each day that makes sense, or finding that you will never repeat a day like that again brings you face to face with people, places and things you just won’t tolerate again. The last thing I want to do is live a life that is always repeating things in the course of a day that I hate, but not doing anything to change it.

Another way the word focus will be used is to realize how important a spiritual perspective is every day. What is it about each day that becomes an opportunity for God to speak to me and re-focus my life? Everyone I know who is a follower of Christ finds themselves in need of a few tweaks in their discipleship. That means we need to stop and focus on where we have been, and what needs to change in order to bring our lives back on track with God’s word. That includes topics ranging from our weight gain over the holidays to how our attitude has changed toward people or circumstances.

One of those focused moments happened while I was in the hospital. I was given such kind care and kind attention that I had realized how cynical I had become about everything. I had little to no trust in people, yet when kindness and patience was extended to me day after day, I realized how wrong I had been in assuming that goodness is totally absent on earth.

There is a lot that is wrong in this world, but at the same time God is still at work, and kindness goes a long way to reshape an attitude and outlook. I also realized how many Christians are scattered around a VA hospital like little angels waiting to serve and attend to your needs. All of this made me realize how I need to focus more on what God is doing rather than on what evil has done.

So, this is why I chose the word “Focus” as my word of emphasis for 2018. I hope to continue to reacquaint myself with a world filled with the goodness of God and the truth of His Word.  That is why goodness and grace will never be replaced by what happens around us, because they are always one step ahead of this world. But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more!

I suggest you try an emphasis word; it might help you to discipline yourself around that word to accomplish a more anchored life.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K


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