Thursday, December 26, 2019

Family Forte: Resolve to Achieve a 2020 Vision

by: Topher Wiles
Topher in 1991
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, a combination that set the school year off on the wrong foot.  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.  I know I’m not alone in that learning experience.
Vision that is rated at 20/20 is the standard for clear focus, yet many of us struggle with vision that is much weaker.  When our weaknesses 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.”  I was one of those students, even though I didn’t realize it at the time.  In fifth grade, I almost didn’t pass my classes and struggled to get along with my teacher who thought I was lazy.  When my focus was corrected with glasses in 6th grade I shot to the top of my class with straight A’s. 
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.” (Colossians 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.   I’d like to suggest a few resolutions that might change your year, your decade, or your life to give you a 2020 focus?
·         Read the entire New Testament, Old Testament, or Bible in 2020.
·         Set a 10 minute time and small place to pray every single day.
·         Identify a child to mentor, empower, or encourage specifically for the year.
·         Search for a church or a non-profit to invest your time and abilities into for the year.
·         Commit time to a family service project for others once per month.
·         Commit to studying with one person in 2020 in the hopes of leading them to the Lord’s salvation.          
If you’ve looked back on the last year or last decade with regret realizing that you had life “out of focus” then now is the perfect time to make the change.  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.
“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.” – Proverbs 4:25-26
The word “forte” comes from the latin word “fortis” meaning strength.  Our weekly Family Forte article in The Expositor is the effort of family at Central Church of Christ to give your family the love, care, and attention it needs to become a stronger version of itself.  If we can help you in any way, please contact us at Central Church of Christ through email,, or through our website,