When there are no distractions, no turmoil or suffering it seems easy to faithfully keep your eyes on God. In fact, it’s during those times that it’s so easy to remain focused that we typically fail to do so at all! It’s almost as if I need some form of discomfort or struggle somewhere in my life, spiritually, physically or emotionally to test my faith and to be reminded to keep my eyes on God.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
Here’s the problem: lack of discipline. An area of discipline I’ve been taking notice of lately is what I eat, and this serves as a good example. It takes work to eat the right food, not just what’s easy. Eating healthy requires steps that pretty much any area of your life you want to discipline will take, but I want to think about it specifically in the context of keeping your eyes on God. Here are 5 suggestions:
- Planning – When you eat healthy, you have to begin planning at an early stage, like before you ever step foot in the grocery store. When you choose to focus on God, His will and following His lead it also takes early planning. You have to decide to blow the dust off of your Bible and crack it open every day for starters. Next, you should have an idea of what book, subject or study to dive into so you’re not doing what I used to do: open the Bible to any page and just start reading, though I admit, that’s better than nothing at all.
- Preparation – With food, preparation is obvious. Washing produce, seasoning meat, knowing what get’s cooked first and getting the cookware ready. When focusing on God, the first word of preparation is prayer. Preparation begins with communication, not just taking time to pray, but also to listen. Learning to discern His voice in the stillness and in the quiet. Sometimes it’s a verse, sometimes an outside friend and sometimes an impression on your thoughts. It takes planning and preparation to learn to hear, and discipline to discern what you hear and to follow.
- Consistency – Eating right takes consistency. A little cheat here and a little cheat there wreck your efforts. At least at 43 it does! Following the above steps will only result in positive growth if you do them with consistency. In my own experience, this means if I don’t have an idea of what I’m going to study in God’s word next (planning), I more often than not will lose my momentum and my consistency is out the window. Then it takes even more effort to start over again. Momentum is your friend.
- Execution – I think about the presentation of a well planned meal, the colors, the temperatures of the food, the way everything goes well together. This is like the execution of disciplining to stay focused and keeping your eyes on God. Things mesh, they truly do. And maybe it’s hard to wrap words around it, but when things are working together, you know. And for me, when things are not working together, I know that, too.
- The Clean-up – Have you ever heard anyone say clean-up is their favorite part of planning, preparing and executing a meal? Not the majority, that’s for sure! But without the clean-up every meal would result in rot and decay piled up in the kitchen. See where this is going yet? In my spiritual life, when God’s word reveals to me an area in the corners of my life that need attention, if I don’t act on that leading I, too will have rot and decay where I have not cleaned. These are the things that will wreck any efforts you make in planning, preparing and executing, and if you don’t already know that, which I suspect the majority do, then do yourself a big favor and take my word on it. Think about a pot of oatmeal that’s been left sitting all day. It’s much easier to clean things up the sooner the need to do so is exposed.