Growing up playing sports, I got used to hearing the word “focus.” I think for many people it’s very easy to focus on the physical things in life that are in the “here and now.” How do we focus on the spiritual things though? How do we stay focused on the eternal things in life? I know in this summer season it can be very difficult to stay focused on Jesus. Between summer jobs, internships, summer classes, (even family!) it can feel like we don’t have any time to do anything else. We have to focus on making Jesus a priority in our lives this summer.
The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of the word “focus” is “mentality.” My mind is what helps control my focus. Colossians 3:2 says:
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
Let’s think about the first word in that verse; “set.” The connotation of that word brings precedence to this verse that we are to purposefully make it a priority to set or “focus” our minds on Jesus. It’s not something that just automatically happens. Sometimes you might have to set your alarm clock to wake up 15 minutes earlier, so you can spend 15 extra minutes with Him before you go to work. Sometimes you might just start praying in the middle of class or wherever you’re at. To stay focused, we’re going to have to start doing things intentionally!
I think a lot of times our problem with staying focused lies with where our heart is. I’ve struggled with the thought of this many times, but too many times we get caught up with the treasures of this world (Luke 12:34). I mean, that’s the whole reason we go to college right? To get a job, make money, buy a car, and get a dog? Please don’t misunderstand me, those are not bad things. I just believe that God has so much more for our lives than living a materialistic lifestyle. Why would we want to live up to the status quo/standards of a society that rebukes and denies the very existence of our savior? At this point you’re probably wondering, “What does this have to do with staying focused on Jesus this summer?” I’m glad you asked. Matthew 6:33 says:
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
In all the chaos, and in all the hoopla of summer, we have to seek first the things that God has for us, and everything else will fall into place as God would have it (which might not always be necessarily how we want it). This includes summer jobs, summer classes, internships, etc. Again when he uses the word “seek”; that’s something we have to do intentionally. I’ve never met someone who accidentally searched for something. Then he uses the word “first.” This implies that it should be the number one item on our priority list. Think about it. He could have just said “Seek me and all these things will be added to you,” but he said “Seek first.” By purposefully adding the word first, it implies that this should be our numero uno priority. The two main things to think about when it comes to staying focused this summer is “intentionality” and “priority.” Are we intentionally making time for Jesus because he’s our number one priority? I know for me personally this question hits like a skillet to the face because it’s a serious reality check. Keep in mind; your priorities typically lie where your heart does.
Being an engineering student, physics is my favorite subject. One of my favorite topics in physics is momentum. I love riding roller coasters, and momentum plays a key role in the process of how roller coasters work. Typically you see the biggest hill on a coaster at the beginning of the ride. That’s because once the cart gets over that first hill, the momentum that you gain as gravity pulls you down the hill will carry you the rest of the ride. Think of this summer as a spiritual hill. It’s not always easy getting up the hill, and sometimes you need help from some chains to pull you up. Once we’re over the hill, it can give us the momentum to carry us into and through the fall semester.
Let me leave you with this. Sharks have to constantly move forward in order to breathe and stay alive. Even while they sleep, they are moving forward. If they stop moving, or even move backwards, they will stop breathing and die. We have to keep moving forward like the sharks, and not be still in our faith or even look back (Proverbs 4:25). This requires us to stay focused!
John Sidwell, Student Leader for Impact Christian Fellowship at IUPUI