I’ve learned something over the last couple years.
Well, if you want to get technical, I’ve learned a whole lot of somethings! Enough to turn this 31 (31? yeah, that’s right – had to think about it for a second!) year old on her head and make her go back to re-evaluate everything she’d been taught about what life in Christ should be. But since I hope you stick around until the end of this, I’m just focusing on this one thing for now. Like most things I’ve learned, I am not awesome at doing it yet but I am practicing and seeing more and more just how true it is.
We can focus on the problem or we can focus on the Promise.
It seems so simple, right? But it’s so profound.
What we focus on is what we will see manifest in our lives.
Focus on the problem breeds fear, anger, anxiety, helplessness, bitterness, and many times, ultimately leads to death.
But for every problem there is a bigger Promise – not a denial of reality, but a greater truth that trumps reality – and focus on the Promise leads to peace, joy, clarity, purpose, and an abundance of life.
We’ve been given a choice, and we are even told what to choose:
“I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses; choose life, so that you and your children may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19
Hold your problem, your “mountain”, up next to the glory and GOODness of God and see if it doesn’t shrink into a tiny little nothing. I promise it will. Every time! Every single time I have focused on the goodness of God and thankfulness for all He has done and wants to do for me, the problem that seemed so powerful to me moments before shrinks into this weak little pathetic nothing. It loses its power in my life.
The beauty of the Promise is it is a DONE DEAL – a sure thing – that we have the responsibility and privilege to agree with and stand in. Every promise God has made is a solid “yes” because of Jesus. We have been given authority on this earth to enforce and stand in everything that God has provided for us through Jesus Christ, the RISEN Savior.
I did a word study on the word “sozo” not too long ago. If you’ve read any of my posts before, you may have seen it. It is one of those words that, when I read it in context, started to shift the picture I had in my heart of what Jesus has (already) done for us. It is one of the Greek words for “saved” or “salvation” and it means “to save, heal, preserve, rescue.” I started looking at every instance in the New Testament that this word was used and came across these passages in Matthew 27, Mark 15, and Luke 23 that all tell the same account. They really stood out to me, because it was like God was saying over and over again, in each book, “look what I have done for you.”
And they that passed by ridiculed Him, wagging their heads, and saying “You that destroy the temple and rebuild in three days, save (sozo) yourself. If you be the Son of God, come down from the cross.” Likewise also the chief priests taunting Him with the scribes and elders said, “He saved (sozo) others: himself He cannot save (sozo). If He be the King of Israel, let Him come down now from the cross and we will believe Him.’
*I added the sozo in parenthesis in this passage to show which words are derived from this Greek meaning.
The chief priests, scribes, and elders had it right but not in the way they thought. Jesus could have saved Himself OR us. He chose us – the only way He could free the people He loved from bondage. In the midst of torture ad mocking, He stayed on the cross for us. Man, I would have wanted to come down and PROVE right then and there that I was the Messiah!!! But Jesus gave up His chance to be saved – “healed, preserved, rescued” -so that He could purchase those things for us. This is powerful. Jesus is not going back to the cross again – all of the fullness of what Jesus provided for us that day is done. I don’t know about you, but I want Jesus to get what He paid for in my life!
We are not who we once were before Jesus. We are not without hope, deliverance, or healing. Salvation isn’t for “someday in heaven”; it is for now (Galatians 1:4)! That is the Good News. When we have Jesus, we are a people who have been set free. It cost Heaven everything and all we were told to do is stand firm (Galatians 5:1) in the freedom Jesus purchased for us. This implies that there will be threats that come against us to take that freedom from us. They come in the form of problems. And not always just the problem itself, but the opportunity the problem presents for the enemy to suggest something contrary to God’s Word – whispered lies of defeat or worthlessness, symptoms in our physical body, threat of poverty, a twisted identity… If we don’t know that we have a choice to stand in freedom – Paul even pleaded for us to “stand firm” when the time of testing came – we very well might let go of what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross and chalk it up to “must have been God’s will.” No! We must stand in the “yes!” of Christ. We have been charged to uphold what Jesus did, add our “Amen!” to Jesus’ “Yes!”, speak to our mountain about what our God has done, and see that mountain MOVE – and God gets the glory!
Every lie the enemy sneaks in, we get to accept and allow to become part of us, or we get to reject as the trespasser it is.
Every symptom the enemy suggests we make our own, we can either coddle or cast out with the authority Jesus gave us.
My brother or my sister, can I offer you some encouragement today? Discern what problem is fighting for your focus today (what is the belief that it is trying to sell you?) and find a Promise to exalt above it. Hold this Promise up over your life as a banner, stand on it as a foundation, and choose to live in it today as your greatest reality – not a denial of what you see and feel and what is true in the natural word – but a truth that is greater than all of that and as strong as the integrity of God’s Word. The problem that could have crushed you can turn into a stepping stone toward the good plans God has for you if you keep your eyes on the Promise, forsaking all else.
Choose life today. Choose to focus on what brings life, freedom, and peace.
And expect to see your reality change based on truth. This is the power of the Good News of Jesus Christ.