Keeping Our Focus

So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then.
1 Peter 1:14, NLT*

Peter reminds his readers that they’ve been chosen, made holy, and cleansed by God (v. 1, 2). They’ve been given new life (v. 3), great expectation (v. 3), and a future inheritance (v. 4).

This is what matters, the true perspective “even though you have to endure many trials for a little while” (v. 6). These people love and trust Jesus (v. 8), and their reward will make all the struggle worthwhile.

The pain is part of the purification process (v. 7), not to disqualify them but to grow, train and strengthen them. Their focus isn’t to be on their present trouble, but on what’s to come.

With this in mind, Peter tells them to “think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world (v. 13).” And to be obedient to God instead of slipping back into their old ways (v. 14).

It’s so easy to get caught up in the cares of the day and to forget the big picture. Heads down, burdened, we’re slogging through deep mud and our focus shrinks to taking the next step. Can we keep Heaven in our hopes, and take that next, heavy step, trusting that Jesus is with us and that He will bring all those future promises to pass in His perfect time? Can we hold on, and trust that He’s holding us? That by His grace, we will make it?

“Think clearly and exercise self-control” (v. 13). This battle is won in the mind. “Live as God’s obedient children” (v. 14). Again, a deliberate choice. “Don’t slip back into your old ways” (v. 14). Vigilance, and ongoing choice. This isn’t just a warning to stay out of past overt sin like drunkenness, sexual promiscuity, theft, lies etc.

We need to be on guard against the small things, too. Attitudes, grumbling, petty thoughts… even daydreaming about perfectly good things at a time when we’re supposed to be focusing on something else.

Keeping focus long-term may be impossible for us, but that doesn’t mean that practice won’t improve it with God’s help. He wants us to draw nearer to Him, so we know He’ll help. In retraining our minds, we need to “take every thought captive to Christ” and remember:

  • God
  • His love for us
  • we’re chosen
  • our future hope
  • all He’s given us
  • eternity… let it affect our choices today

Father, forgive us for those times we’ve slipped back into our old ways, and those times we’ve stalled instead of growing. Give us hearts to know You better and to live to please you, and help us focus on living as Your obedient children, with Your help.

This week’s song is “No Turning Back,” by Brandon Heath.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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