There is a secret to the Christian life that many overlook. Paul, however, understood it and often wrote about it. Jesus practiced it daily and taught it to his disciples. It is the discipline of maintaining a fixed focus on God.
“I have given up all but my intercessory prayers to focus my attention on remaining in (God's) holy presence. I keep my attention on God in a simple, loving way. This is my soul's secret experience of the actual, unceasing presence of God. It gives me much contentment and joy.” — Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God
Brother Lawrence's words remind us of what Paul the Apostle said to the Colossian believers: "Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:2-3).
If Peter had practiced this, his faith would not have been shaken by the raging waves bellowing at his side that night on the Sea of Galilee. But we often do what Peter did; we start out with our spiritual gaze set on Christ, only to have it drift over to the varying circumstances of life. When this happens, we fall to feelings of insecurity, fear, anxiety, or anger.
The writer of Hebrews also admonishes us to "fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). Elsewhere, Paul again advises us to focus steadfastly on God: "fix [your] eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18).
Focusing on the troubles of your life only diverts your attention away from God. Apart from Jesus Christ, nothing has the power to heal what is hurting or to correct what has been damaged. Only God has the ability to calm your fears, lay to rest your suffering, and bring peace in place of frustration and sorrow.
Steffi Graf, arguably the best women’s tennis player in history, was asked the secret to her game. She didn't hesitate as she told reporters, "I keep my eyes fixed on the ball." She went on to explain that her concentration was so refined that while she was playing she could actually see the lettering of the company that had made the ball. Neither the movement or reaction of her opponent, nor the crowd, affected her game. Her focus was fixed on one object; that was the secret to her success.
What is the focus of your life? If it is serving Jesus, then you will ultimately experience victory instead of defeat, and spiritual growth instead of stagnation.
The reason Peter's thoughts betrayed him was because they were set on himself and his surroundings. He felt the power of the stormy sea and his mind buckled. Panic swept over him because he had taken his eyes off of the Lord.
On an earlier trip across the Sea of Galilee, Jesus had proven that he was in control of the elements. Why did Peter go on to doubt Jesus’ ability? One reason is that he was clearly a slow learner, much like us. If we fail to grasp a spiritual lesson, God is faithful, and he will create another situation in order to refine our faith.
When you face life's difficulties, keep your eyes on the Savior. He is the One who holds your course steady. And he will complete his work in your life. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 reminds us of this very fact: "Faithful is he who calls you, and he also will bring it to pass." Therefore, even when you experience life's victories, keep your eyes on Jesus. Praise him for his care and faithful love for you. He is the author and perfecter of your faith.
Prayer is essential to a spiritually focused life. Jesus made time with his Father a top priority. You may experience the enemy's reproof as he tries to distract and draw you away from time spent alone with God. Persevere in your devotion by asking the Lord to provide and protect time alone with him.
Making God the focus of your life will free you from worry and doubt. When you trust him with the entirety of your life, you can rest in the fact that God has the ability to take care of your every need. He loves you and will keep his promises throughout your life. Abundant blessings await all who wait upon the Savior with a focused heart.