Thursday, December 29, 2016

Fixing Our New Year's Focus

Living Lessons:  Fixing the Focus
by: Christopher Wiles

In 7th grade, I had the same glasses
but a little better haircut!
Regularly since 1990 I’ve visited that beloved optometrist who puts a funny little machine over my eyes and asks, “Which one is more in focus, one or two?”  In 6th grade I received my first pair of brown and white “turtle-framed” glasses and I got a bad haircut from my older sister’s friend.  Whew!  That combination had the makings for a tough year in school.  Yet, I excelled somehow, making much better grades than previous years and developing lasting friendships.  Those grades & friends stayed steadily strong all the way through high school.  Correcting the weaknesses that affected my focus (and getting a better haircut) led to marked improvements in my life.  Guess what, I’m not alone in that learning experience.

When our weakness in our eyes cause problems where we can’t focus in the proper place or distance, studies show that it affects us in profound ways.  According to, the lack of proper focus “can affect learning ability, personality and adjustment in school.”  Wow, weaknesses and poor focus can have a profound affect!

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Focus and weaknesses are exactly what Paul was referring to when he writes to the church at Colossi, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Col 3:2)  Paul lists several weaknesses that inhibited them from focusing on things that are above.  Making the top list of weaknesses from the Colossian past are: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, desire, greed, idolatry (3:5), anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language (3:8).  Indulging in these weaknesses, they were limiting their ability to focus. Indulging in these items were like adding a cataract or a stigmatism to a child’s eyes where they can’t properly focus at school.  The lack of focus greatly impacted their lives.   
New Year’s resolutions are all about focus.  Whether you make 1, 10, or 100 resolutions, make sure those resolutions are focused on “things that are above.”  Then, set goals and make plans to get rid of all those “weaknesses” that inhibit your ability to focus on those heavenly resolutions. 
Might I suggest some reasonably attainable heavenly resolutions for your 2017?

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  1. Read the entire New Testament, Old Testament, or Bible in 2017.
  2. Set a 10 minute time and small place to pray every single day.
  3. Commit to your own personal service project for others once per month.
  4. Commit to studying with one person in 2017 in the hopes of leading them to the Lord’s salvation.
  5. Identify your own weaknesses and drastically change habits to remove one every quarter (13 weeks) for a total of four weaknesses actively worked on in 2017.
Remove the weaknesses that inhibit you from focusing on “things that are above” It will change your life, someone else’s life, and potentially the lives of generations to come. Focus!

Just for fun, here's the 1992 Smyrna Middle School "Touch of Class" yearbook and page I pulled my photo from!

Living Lessons are articles written for the weekly Washington Church of Christ bulletin.  You can find more by clicking HERE or searching for "Living Lesson" in the right sidebar search.

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