Focus; December 26, 2017

Luke 2:25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.

Simeon is an interesting figure in the Bible, recorded not so much for what he did as for what he was. I doubt that he was much noted by the “movers and shakers” of his day, but he had a relationship with God that brought him to a place of rare privilege. His hope was fixed on God, and that opened him up to the work of the Holy Spirit. That in turn made him available as an instrument of blessing to Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. However, he himself experienced it as blessing to himself. That’s a very interesting feature of God’s economy: we are most blessed when we transmit blessing to others. Paul quoted Jesus as saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) This is an example of that. When we are hungry for blessings ourselves, we are rarely satisfied. However, when we get in line with the flow of God’s blessings to others, we are filled. It was Simeon’s character that lined him up with this truth, and not only the Holy Family, but all generations of believers since, have been blessed as a result. This is a principle I refer to frequently in marriage counseling As long as we are fixated on our own happiness, it remains elusive. If we on the other hand fixate on our spouse’s happiness, we find our own to be increased immeasurably. Simeon was focused first on God and serving Him, and God blessed him with an incredible privilege.

My focus has been sadly diffuse for too much of my life, but God keeps working on me. I am reminded of the Hubble space telescope, that was out of focus for some time after it went into orbit, but that was corrected to bring it into great usefulness. I am quite aware of the many distractions the devil uses to try to disturb my focus, because they are effective all too often. Right now is no exception, with widely divergent demands on my time and attention. I’ve got to make the conscious choice to focus on God, His kingdom and His righteousness, (Matthew 6:33) or I will be tied in knots, losing both joy and peace. That benefits no one, least of all me. Today and tomorrow are momentous in terms of financial projects, and the devil has a boatload of anxiety he wants to dump on me. I’ve got to stay submitted to God so that I may in turn resist the devil. (James 4:7) God has been speaking through me to others, but I’ve got to hear and appropriate His truth myself. I have felt sorry for others with a poverty mentality, but I must not succumb to such myself. I’ve got to remember that “My God will meet all [my] needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) As often as I quote that to others, I’d better believe it myself!

Father, thank You for this Word this morning. The devil was trying to make me feel the walls were closing in on me, when in Christ nothing could be further from the truth. Help me be faithful in all the details, but leave all the results in Your hands, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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