Scott Jones – Gilbert Campus Pastor
Several years ago, my wife Donita burst into the bedroom and shouted, “Your car is gone!” We had left the garage door open and the keys in the car and someone simply walked into the garage, started the car and drove off. They got my car, my wallet, my cell phone, my golf clubs, my Starbucks card! But the moment we realized that the car was gone, we also realized that the door from the garage to the house was unlocked too.
They could have come in the house. They could have taken our children. But all they took was a car. That realization put everything in perspective. It changed our focus completely. It helped me to remember that life is all about where you choose to look.
Think about that for a moment. Isn’t so much of life about our focus? If we can only learn to focus on what matters most – to turn our eyes, our attention, our energy toward the things that will have the greatest impact on our lives now and on our lives in eternity.
When I think about focus, it all begins here with the person of God. As a follower of Christ, I realize that I have been created to live a God-centered life―a life that is centered on God, a life where God permeates every area of my being, my work, my marriage, my parenting, my play, my relationships.
Finding life is knowing where to look.
That’s why I need to “look up.” I need to see God. I need to be reminded of who he is, what he has done, what he can do. I need to be captured by his beauty, majesty, strength, and glory so that I respond to him and to life and to you in a way that reflects the purpose for which I am made. And so that others will see this great God and do the same.
A little help with this comes from an ancient song known as Psalm 96. In it, the writer says we need to “look up.” To look up is to focus on God, who he is and what he has done for us.
1 Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Sing to the LORD, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
4 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and glory are in his sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts.
9 Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.”
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.
11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
12 let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;
13 they will sing before the LORD, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his truth.
Here’s our response when our focus is on God.
When we look up we sing out.
This is our natural response. When we see his greatness, when we settle long enough to be reminded of his faithfulness in our lives, then singing a song seems like the only thing we can do. By the way, I think a person sings in proportion to their understanding of who God is and their gratitude for his work in their life. It doesn’t matter what the song is. It doesn’t matter if you have a good voice. When we truly see God for who he is, our focus is less on our selves, less on our circumstances, less on our pain, or our anger……..more on God. More on a song to him. And yet, singing is only one part of our response to focusing on God. The second moves from our voice to our body.
When we look up we bow down.
This is the language of worship that takes us beyond a song. It calls for us to give God the glory that is due him. But it doesn’t allow us to stop with our words. For the Israelite, this would have been an animal sacrifice. For you and me, it goes much further. Our truest declaration of what we think about God will show up in our offering to him―our attitudes, our finances, our time, our talent, our priorities, our relationships.
What does my daily life say about my view of God?
I sometimes wonder if our God isn’t too small. Maybe that’s why we’re so angry, or so hurt, or so frustrated, or so critical, or so demanding, or so uninvolved, or so fearful, or so apathetic. But perhaps if we would look up more often, and see God in all his glory and beauty and strength we might be humbled in his holy presence, and while we are there down low, he might grow bigger and bigger in our eyes and our lives would reflect the God he truly is.
When we look up we stay focused.
When we acknowledge God’s reign, his sovereignty, that he is ruling, that he has everything under control. This brings everything into focus. We know that a God of majesty, beauty, strength and glory has everything exactly where he wants it. This is an affirmation of trust. It’s our way of saying, “My God, who loves me, who gave his one and only Son for me, has the world and me in the world right where it’s supposed to be.”
I don’t know about you but that helps me focus on the right things. Not always but most of the time. So I don’t where you’re living right now, whats’ captured your focus. But I think if we look up, we’ll get our focus in the right place.
Oh yeah, in case you’re wondering, I got my car back a few weeks later. And my daughter Morgan is driving it today.