What is your outlook on life?
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. II Corinthians 4:16-18 [The Message]
I used to think that some people could focus on a multitude of things all at one time. I had seen teenagers who were chatting on the phone, listening to music and doing their homework, with the TV on in the background. I thought they had somehow discovered a way to glean useable information from all these sources simultaneously. As I sit here today I’m not so convinced. Merely an awareness of different stimuli doesn’t mean information has been received. I could be wrong, but I’m of the opinion that we only truly focus on one thing at a time. We can be aware of other things, but if we were tested on our comprehension level, I think we would fail miserably.
Focus is a very important commodity. I’ve noticed as a pastor that our congregant’s ability to receive spiritual assistance in our services depends as much on their focus as anything. Jesus said that true worshippers must worship in spirit and truth. [John 4:23, 24] Simply put, worshipping in spirit and truth is truly worshipping. It takes focus to truly worship God. One must put away the interference that tries to invade our mind sets. Your mind wants to ponder on things like: what you’ll do when the service ends, why sister so-in-so isn’t here today, did the guitar player just play the wrong chord, I hope the pastor isn’t long-winded today, is it warm in here or is it just me, or even – wow, my socks don’t match! This kind of interference allowed in insures that true worship isn’t going to happen.
Maybe even more important than the various things we may focus on is the basic outlook we bring to our every day life. We will all face challenges. No one gets a free ride as far as that is concerned. Just like back in our school days, it’s a given principle – there will be tests! Passing or failing is more about outlook than anything else. God has built into all of us an ability to succeed, but that ability rarely manifests in those with a “poor ole me” attitude.
When my wife and I came to upstate New York over thirty years ago we came with a message on our hearts and a deep trust in the God of that message. God poured a pure faith inside us and we ran with it. We wouldn’t even entertain the thought that we would fail. As far as we were concerned, for us to fail God would have to fail. A mighty church was built out of that outlook. Not only did the congregation grow here, but excited people went out from here and continued the work in places across the country and nations throughout the world. It was never that we were so smart or slick or even charismatic. It was that God was in it and we trusted Him completely.
I have to remind myself of these things often today. Physically I’m not able to do what I could do in the 80’s and 90’s. The nation – the world – is different now. The apostle Paul prophesied that these “last days” would be perilous. Our adversary knows his time is short. But, as we sang last week, “Our God reigns!” He is still on the throne. Faith in God still overcomes the world. The “Greater One” still resides in every child of God. As we used to say, “I read the back of the Book, and we win!”
I found this quote online: “Never let the thoughts of self-unworthiness re-arrange your prepared passion for failure. You can do it even if others say you can’t. But you cannot do it if you tell yourself you can’t.” ― Israelmore Ayivor
Embrace the outlook that you can.
“I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].” Philippians 4:13 [Amplified]