Amateur photographers often don’t know what they’re focusing on. They know what they think they’re focusing on—but then the pictures end up containing blurry faces and buildings askew. Then they may look at their work and respond, “This isn’t what I was pointing at!” But the fact of the matter is, the photos reveal exactly where and how the lens was positioned.
In life’s highs and lows—and every moment in between—the way you and I react to circumstances reveals the angle of our camera lens, the focus of our hearts and minds. The challenge for believers, then, is to live with a focus that is centered on God.
Jesus made it very clear that in order for us to embrace a God-centered focus, we must first understand who we are without Him. In fact, Jesus explained to His disciples that apart from Him they could do nothing; after all, “in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). Our need for Jesus is not partial; it is total. None of us can even breathe without God’s enabling. How can we think of taking credit for any work that He’s done through us? We are absolutely impoverished without divine help.
This principle runs throughout the entire Bible. Moses, chosen by God to lead the Israelite people out of bondage and slavery, was adamant that he couldn’t do the job unless God was with him—and he was right (Exodus 3:11-12). Amos was a keeper of fig trees and a shepherd; he had nothing to contribute to the ministry when God appointed him as a prophet (Amos 7:14-15). Daniel, likewise, with his amazing ability to interpret dreams, was quick to give every bit of credit to God (Daniel 2:26-28). Each of these men recognized his utter dependency on God. In fact, no one in Scripture who achieved great things for God did so without relying wholly on God. For their ability to do the work they were called to do, they looked up rather than looking in.
As Christians called to live with a God-centered focus, we must not ascribe too much attention to ourselves or our abilities, for in doing so, we may very well obscure God’s grace and power in our lives. In Christ, we ought not to boast in our abilities or seek any opportunity to draw attention to ourselves. Instead, we should merely wish to be known as servants of the living God, to be useful in His service as He works in us according to His good purpose, and to point away from ourselves and to Him in all we do and say.
Where will your focus be today? And when success or praise come your way, to whom will you point?