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Life At Its Best: Keep your focus on God

By By Jim Graff
Feb. 17, 2012 at midnight
Updated Feb. 16, 2012 at 8:17 p.m.

Jim Graff

I recently heard a story about a man named Matt Emmons. Emmons was an expert shooter, favored to win the 2004 Olympics. He'd been practicing for this event for months, and when competition time rolled around, he was ready.

Emmons took his first two shots and, sure enough, they were right on target. Going into his third shot, he was well ahead of the competition. All he had to do was hit the target, and he would be named the 2004 Olympic champion. He stepped up confidently, lifted his gun, and fired.

Once again, he nailed it. But this time, instead of cheers, he heard silence. Confused, he glanced back at the target. At that moment he realized the cause of the unusual quiet. He'd hit the wrong target. He'd lined up in the right lane but focused his gun on the target in the lane beside him.

Instead of winning first that day, he ended the competition in eighth - all because his focus was off. Oftentimes, the same is true in our lives. We put a lot of time and effort into pursuing the things we desire, but we can't seem to get the results we want. And it's because, like Emmons, we have the wrong focus.

In Ephesians 1:18, Paul says, "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you." We can give great effort, but until we spend time with God and let him open our eyes to his plan, we'll never experience the rich blessing he has for us. But when we combine right effort and right focus, God begins taking us places we never dreamed we could go.

I love the story in the Bible about a woman named Deborah. Deborah was a strong leader who served as a judge in Israel. One day, God opened her eyes to the oppression the Israelites' disobedience was causing. When she saw this, something in her heart shifted, and she got passionate about seeing her nation restored.

She quickly approached the leaders of Israel, but they just brushed her off. Refusing to lose focus, Deborah came up with a plan of her own. She mobilized various military leaders and got them on-board with the vision God had given her for their nation. Because of those leaders' obedience, things turned around, and Israel came out of bondage and entered into God's blessing.

Isn't it amazing that because one woman kept her focus, a whole nation was inspired to change? Our lives have the potential to produce the same outcome. When we set our hearts on fulfilling God's plan, we can enter into God's blessing and inspire others to do the same. So today, let's choose to adopt the right focus - God's focus. Then, let's take every step with confidence, knowing that he is blessing our obedience.

Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria. faithfamilyvictoria.com.

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