"My son, do not forget My teaching, but let your heart keep My commandments; for length of days and years of life, and peace they will add to you. Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man." (Proverbs 3:1-4)
How does a disciple approach the above Scripture? He accepts it as true and decides to make it truth in his life. He knows how to find favor with the Lord.
At times, we all wonder if we really have the favor of God in our lives. Life seems to be overwhelming, almost impossible to deal with. When we turn on television, heaps of negative conditions are piled upon our personal heap of negatives, and the burden becomes backbreaking. At such times as these, we logically wonder if we really have favor with God.
Scripture tells us that God works all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28), but we wonder if God can make anything good out of our present circumstances.
The key lies in the direction of our focus. Satan would have us focus upon our circumstances, but God wants us to focus upon Him and watch Him work all things together for good. If our feelings control us, we can't accomplish this, but if we persist in faith to focus upon Him, we experience the victory.
We need to study Hebrews, Chapter 11, to learn how the mighty people of God responded to their circumstances.
"For he who finds Me finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord." (Proverbs 8:35)
A good example of the truth of this Scripture can be found in Mary, the mother of Jesus. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God." (Luke 1:30)
Mary's focus was upon God and obedience to His commandments, so she found favor with Him. Her circumstances grew worse because she was pregnant and unmarried, but God worked it all together for good.
Another example is Jesus, himself. As a youth, He kept His focus upon His Father, and Scripture tells us: And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:52)
To stay on target, we should continually monitor our focus. Are we occupied with our circumstances, or with the presence of God in our lives? We monitor our focus by monitoring our self-talk. We constantly talk to ourselves. What are we saying?
We can become so occupied with our circumstances that we never fulfill the purpose of God for our lives. We can't find favor with God when we are totally occupied with ourselves!
It is true that things happen in our lives that seem overwhelming, but what about the eternal, spiritual dimension? What is happening in that realm? Is Satan winning the battle because we are preoccupied with our circumstances, or have we learned to trust God in all things? Our circumstances may be very real, but we must not lose sight of the eternal dimension.
A spiritual battle is going on and we are in the midst of it. The direction of our focus determines, to a great extent, the outcome of the spiritual battles around us (Daniel 10).
The Great Commission has called us to disciple all nations (Matthew 28:19). We can't possibly fulfill His command if we stay occupied with ourselves.
Following the day of Pentecost, great things began to happen. Thousands came to the Lord. Their circumstances had not changed, they were still under bondage to the Romans, but their focus changed. They became enthusiastic for God!
And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people, and the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:46,47)
They took their eyes off their circumstances, focused upon God, and their lives changed completely! That is precisely what the Scripture tells us. That is what happened to Mary, and to all the great saints listed in Hebrews, Chapter 11.
We live in a time of intense spiritual warfare. The end of the age may be closer than we realize. Every international event seems to line up with Biblical prophecy. Satan knows his days are numbered. Obviously, the spiritual forces of darkness want as many victims as possible. They will do whatever they can to get our focus off God and onto our circumstances.
God doesn't want us ignorant, and we won't be if we focus upon Him to seek His guidance and direction. This requires the faith to adjust our focus. God created us in a way that we cannot focus in two directions simultaneously; therefore, we must decide where to focus.
If our feelings take over, our only choice is to focus upon our circumstances. But we can circumvent our feelings, decide to trust God and have faith that He will bring us through because He wants to accomplish something beyond our circumstances.
We will then be in the same position as those believers following Pentecost. We will find favor with God. We will also discover many others eager to become disciples of Christ!
As always, Jesus leaves the decision to us. It should be enough for us to know that when we focus upon God, we find His favor, regardless of our circumstances.
Jesus is King!
P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?
Question for today: Based upon my self-talk, where was my focus today?