Focus

eyes-33216_150We’ve all heard it. It is one of those legendary lines Moms use on wayward kids. When the unsuspecting child discovers that amazing entertainment of crossing their eyes, their ever diligent Mom says, “if you keep doing that your eyes will get stuck that way!” Little did I know they were right. Last week, my wife and I took our kids to see a movie. Since we are behind on our movie going, we went to the bargain movie theater to catch the film we wanted. Normally, that works fine, but this movie was in 3D. I’m not sure if it was in the equipment or the operator, but the movie never totally worked. I wore my stylish 3D glasses but things stayed out of focus. After squinting and straining I was able to get the center clear enough to watch. After 2 hours of this the movie ended with the hero winning, when we got in the truck to drive home, I was puzzled by the blurred road. My eyes were stuck! It has taken a couple of days to get over that forced wrong focus.

Maybe that is why God inspired Paul to write “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable — if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise — dwell on these things.” (‭Philippians‬ ‭4‬:‭8‬ HCSB). The things upon which we focus stick with us. They make an impression and set a pattern for us. For example, by focusing on a lie long enough and performing mental acrobatics to twist our brain, we begin to think the lie is true and the truth is a lie.

Let’s stop pushing and straining to make ourselves fit this world. Instead, we need to have our minds fixed on the things above. High and noble thoughts which conform to the word of The Lord.

Infection

malwareIt happens frequently. You try to get on your computer to pay bills, and it won’t work. It won’t connect to the right website, it keeps opening popups, the problems just compound. Most likely you have a virus or malware. Time to do some cleanup work. The bulk of the tech requests I answer are related to malware.

All of that got me to thinking about why we get infestations in the first place. On the computer, it happens because we go to places we should not on the internet or open unsafe attachments. Sometimes it comes to us through deceitful links. You are trying to download something legitimate and it is surrounded by fake download ads.
That is also true of infestations of sin in our lives. We let our guard down and start moving in directions we should not. Sometimes it may start innocently, and then it proceeds from gray areas into questionable ones. Finally we end up enslaved to our sins.

James addressed this very issue in James 1:13-15 ”13 No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone. 14 But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. 15 Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.” HCSB

Just as we need to be careful when online to avoid malicious programs, we need to be careful in life to avoid temptations. Sin lurks within in us just looking for a chance to lead us astray. Sometimes all it takes is song or glimpse of a television show, and our desires latch onto it and we start the “what if” game. If we are not careful to shield ourselves from them, those desires will lead to sinful thoughts and actions.

So what software is out there to protect us from the malware of sin? David wrote in Psalm 119:9-11 “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping Your word. 10 I have sought You with all my heart; don’t let me wander from Your commands. 11 I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You.“ HCSB God’s word is the protection for our lives. Keeping the word and treasuring it in our hearts gives us God’s perspective on situations.

Being exposed to malware and sin are inevitable. Having protection is required. Keep your spirit protected through frequent and extensive application of God’s word.

The problem today

culture clash

The problem on so many issues today isn’t really a new one.  There has always been a clash between the culture of  the world and the teachings of the Bible.  Many of the hot button issues being debated today really come down to one foundational belief:   “What is your view of the Bible?”

If you view the Bible as God’s word in which He gives to us His ideas on our lives and values, then it is to be obeyed and followed.  If on the other hand, it is a dated document that needs to be re-translated to fit our modern times it can be adapted to suit our culture’s ideas.   The problem with the later views to me is where does it end.  If I want to get drunk, I simply say the prohibition against being drunk only applied to the 1st century.  If I desire to cheat on my wife, I say the 10 commands, and Jesus’ endorsement of them in the New Testament are outdated and need to be redefined.  In other words, I can ultimately write my own Bible to justify whatever my heart desires.

Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” HCSB.  

The Bible is inspired, literally  “God-breathed”.  He chose different authors from different times to use like an artist might use different brushes and colors, but His hand directed their strokes.  His thoughts were recorded for us without any error.

His word is profitable for us!  In His word, we find out what His standards are.  It is the rock upon which we can build our lives. You don’t have to use things the way the owner’s manual says to use them, but there are often consequences for disregarding them.  Just ask someone who has submerged their cell phone in water.   The Bible was written by our manufacturer (creator).  When we start using our lives in ways God didn’t intend for us, there are consequences to suffer.   Nothing can separate us from His love, but when we misuse His word to justify sin, we are opening ourselves up for a world of hurt through the consequences of our sins and the discipline of our loving Father.

We must quit trying to adapt the word to fit our world, and go back to trying to get the world to follow His word.  That is ultimately done as individuals become disciples of Jesus.   In all the political debate, court cases, protests, etc it is easy to loose sight of that.  No matter what judges or laws say, wrong will always be wrong and right will always be right.  Our mission is to lead people to the truth.  We can win the world 1 life at a time.

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