The ability to focus is very important in many areas of life. Without this ability, it is difficult to achieve nearly anything. The ability to focus is involved in many mental faculties and also in our relationships. This ability is no less important in the area of faith and spirituality.
For instance, the state and emotions of our soul and heart is often a question of focus. In that line of thought, could it be that, often, the fear, worriedness and anxiety we experience are symptoms we have lost our focus on Jesus and that our focus is at the wrong place?
Let me illustrate. The account of Jesus walking on waters found in Matthew 14:22-33 provides us with a good illustration about the interplay of fear, faith and focus. This is the account where Jesus is walking on the waters to rejoin his disciples who are on a boat going to Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. As Jesus is walking towards them, the disciples are all afraid thinking they are seeing a ghost. Jesus reassured them by saying “take courage, it is I”. Peter still in doubt about this said “Lord if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water”, which Peter did. And here is the lesson; Peter gets out of the boat and starts walking on the water towards Jesus. So far so good. As long as Peter was focusing, trusting and obeying Jesus, everything was fine. The miraculous happened; he was able to walk on water. However, the account also tells us that as soon as he started looking at the wind (John.6:18 also tells us there was a strong wind blowing that night and the waters grew rough), he was afraid and started to sink. Peter started to focus on the circumstances around him instead and became afraid. Peter lost his focus on and faith in Jesus, and focused on the circumstance instead which caused him to be afraid and panic. His focus and faith were on the wrong place.
Besides this account, the Scriptures have more to say on focus than we think. I can think of at least three passages on this topic. Here they are. Luke 12:29-31, which says “do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink…but seek his kingdom…” Colossians 3:1-2 “set your hearts/minds on things above…not on earthly things…” Hebrews 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”
But why this focus on the things from above as opposed to the things from below? Should we just neglect or ignore our daily and mundane affairs? I don’t think this is the idea in these passages. The idea here is to focus on the bigger picture and perspective so that we look at our circumstances in light of them. The things from below, good or bad are to be seen, interpreted and understood in light of the bigger picture. The bigger, permanent and stable picture provide us with a framework that quiets our soul, heart and mind in times of troubles. It also provide a secure and stable anchor to our soul. The wind can blow hard and waters can grow rough but the captain and perfector of our faith provide us with peace and joy in the journey no matter what because we know that he is in control and can command the miraculous to happen. He is our ultimate focal point for our faith. He can provide what is needed to enable us to walk on the rough waters of life or pull us out of the rough waters when we are afraid as he did with Peter.