Rarely do we ever drift to our desired destination in life. Its the places you focus on that you end up succeeding at. This is true in relationships, exercise, family life, work - you name the sphere! Focusing helps you finish well.
This has been true for Alanna and I in our life over the last 11 months. We decided that it was time to focus on paying off all of our non-mortgage debt. Finances is another one of those areas that goes better if you give it attention. We were only paying minimum payments on all of our debts and watching money slip away, stressfully feeling like we never had enough. So we cut our lifestyle, used the debt-snowball method, and knocked it out.
We focused on it. It was a regular topic of conversation; where to spend, when to spend, how much to spend. We talked about it daily.
Last week Tuesday we paid off the last payment. With no debt, we have more margin. With more margin, we’re less concerned about getting what we need and the result… less stress. But it took focus. Here’s the truth: what you focus on, you finish well.
The reason for this is actually imbedded deep in your biology. Your brain is actually only able to focus on one task at a time. Multi tasking is a myth. The more distraction, the more difficulty in finishing anything.
This is why the unknown author of the New Testament letter Hebrews can call readers to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” - Hebrews 12:1–2.
The race they’re talking about is life. There are no illusions here about life being simple, straightforward or easy. Life is like a long distance race. It is filled with challenges, distractions, bumps and bruises, muscle strains and fatigue. You know this. And you have experienced this at various points in your life. It can be difficult to run well in your marriage, money, exercise or vocation or schooling.
So throw off the distractions. Cut your cable, limit your phone, say ‘no’ to some activity if you must - because you are focusing. When the writer says - “throw off that which hinders” - its neutral. The things that “hinder” us in life are not necessarily bad things or good things - they’re just distracting. Sin, on the other hand, by definition will trip you up in your life. So throw that off too. You’re focusing.
So the wisdom of the writer is simply this: fix your eyes on Jesus.
In other words focus.
Pick one area of your life that needs work and focus on Jesus instruction or example on how to live there. Relationship problems? Maybe its time to focus on Jesus’ teaching about how to be in relationship with others (Philippians 2, John 13:34.) Financial problems? Focus on Jesus’ musings on money (Acts 20:34-45, Matthew 6). Suffering, pain and disappointment - focus on Jesus instruction on enduring difficulty (John 16:33, Matthew 5:10-12).
And don’t just focus on his teaching, but follow his example.
You rarely drift to your desired destination. Where you focus you finish well.
So what about you?
What area of your life requires your focus? Is it a relationship? Is it your physical health? Is it your spiritual life? How might fixing your eyes on Jesus bring health, meaning, satisfaction, or value there?