When struggling with an issue in our life, it’s hard not to focus on the problem. In fact, the most common response is to “try harder” or “learn more” or “fight, fight, fight!” So, we pour energy, time and resources into overcoming the problem. We believe that focusing on the problem will help us overcome it.
- If I could just stopping eating so much, I could finally lose some weight.
- I hate it when I yell at my kids. I wish I wasn’t so angry all the time.
- I will not be like my mom. I will not!
Here’s the problem with that thinking: What you focus on organizes your life.
If you focus on fear, then fear organizes your life. If you focus on overcoming anger, then anger organizes your life. Whatever your focus on will organize your decisions, your thinking patterns, and your way of life.
Do you remember the Chinese Finger Trap toy? As a kid, I played with these all the time. You put your finger in one side and someone puts their finger in the other side. As you each try to pull your finger out, the “trap” tightens making it harder to escape. Your strength makes the problem worse.
The same is true about focusing on our problems–the more we focus on them, the tighter the grip and the harder it is to escape.
So, what’s the answer? Change your focus.
In Matthew 6, Jesus talks quite a bit about the struggles we face here on earth and encourages us not to worry. His solution was not to focus on the problems. His solution was to “…seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).
Jesus encourages us not to focus on our problems, but to focus on God because when we focus on the Kingdom of God, then the Kingdom of God organizes our lives.
So, how do I focus on the Kingdom of God? Here’s what Paul told the Philippians: “Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (v4:8).
As it says in Romans 12:2, we must change the way we think and renew our mind. For freedom to happen, we must change our focus and seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. When we do, then freedom will organize our life!
Prayer: Father, give me a Kingdom focus. Help me to cast all my cares upon you for you care for me (1 Peter 5:7).