I don’t know about you, but learning to focus seems to be one of my ongoing challenges. It’s not that I can’t do it. I’m capable of tuning out absolutely everything when I am engaged with a project. But a lot of the time I feel like my browser with every single window open to a different site, each page representing a task in progress.
Focus is beautiful, simple. It draws us in. The tack-sharp eyelashes of a baby, the crips silhouette of a dancer against the sky. Proper focus on our subject is satisfying.
On the other hand, a lack of focus can render our work unusable, destined for the digital scrap heap.
When it comes to focusing a camera, the work is simple and easy. Hit a button. Adjust the focusing ring. But when it comes to my life, how do I avoid the metal flitting from one thing to another, the draw of social media or a thousand projects before I spend any time on the most important things?
The book of Hebrews offers us a hope-filled answer:
…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
The key is Jesus. We fix our eyes on him–we focus on him. We set our eyes on who he is, the hope of his gospel, the depth of his love for us.
Who is this Jesus?
He is the “author” of our faith. It was his idea, his plan, his plot, his settihg, his choice of characters. The unfolding of the story was authored by him. And, as C. S. Lewis once observed, our only hope of knowing this great Author was if he chose to write himself into the story.
He is also the perfecter of our faith. Not only did he author it–conceive it, bring it forth, and sustain it–but he will also bring it to completion. He will make it perfect.
In other words, Jesus is the beginning and the end of the race. We fix our focus on him, and we run alongside him. We keep in step with his Spirit. (Gal. 5:25) We don’t wander aimlessly–we run with purpose and focus. (For some great thoughts on running with purpose, check out this blog by John Piper.)
So, how do we do that?
First, I think it really helps to spend time at the beginning of the day with him. It’s hard to focus on something if you don’t focus from the beginning. When I’m photographing someone, I’m not going to wait until I am five frames in to see if she’s in focus. Instead, focusing is the starting place. In the same way, we need to begin with our focus on Jesus.
And then we need to refocus throughout the day. When I am photographing children running down the beach, I’m not going to focus once at the beginning and then let it go! That would be a disaster. How much more do I need to keep refocusing on Christ?
Be encouraged, friends. Jesus endured great suffering for the joy set before him–and we are a huge part of that joy. Just imagine how deeply he desires to enable us to focus on him, to draw us to himself before we get going and continually as we go through all of the events of the day. Entrust yourself to him, focus on him, and run your race with the strength and endurance that can only come from him.