Taking Thoughts Captive


Your Focus Will Be Your Feelings

I want to remind us tonight of something that we should know by now and that is the fact that what we focus upon determines our state of heart, mind and emotions. You are all familiar with the story of Peter walking on the water:

Matthew 14:25-33 

"And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.  26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear.  27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." 28 Peter said to Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."  29 And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"  31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"  32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped.  33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, "You are certainly God's Son!" 

What a wonderful few moments for Peter, doing that which only God Himself could do, but it was short-lived by Peter's choice. What was it that brought Peter down to despair? His choice of focus. When Peter's eyes were fixed on Jesus before Him, he defied fixed laws of the universe and walked on water. But when he changed his focus from Jesus to the "wind" (v.30), he sunk down and was convinced that he would drown.

Church family, what you and I focus upon will govern our thoughts and even more, the condition of our spirit and emotions. Let me apply this for us given the current situation with Coronavirus. If you and I choose to turn our televisions and/or radios on from morning until evening listening to the endless reports, interviews and "potential" scenarios, should we wonder that we are afraid, anxious and overwhelmed? How can we not be when what we are hearing 24/7 is reports of death, the spread of the virus and stock market decline?

So, am I advocating that we stick our heads in the sand and close our eyes and ears to the reality around us? Of course not. Having faith does not mean willful ignorance. Christians should know what is going on in the world around us. There is a proper level of information and a proper course of action to take based upon the facts that surround us. 

What I am addressing is focus and meditation. There are things we must give attention to, then there are the things that we choose to focus and dwell upon. What we dwell upon will determine our disposition and will make the difference between walking on the water and sinking into it. How important it is that non-believers see you and me walking on the water right now. What impression will we leave of Jesus if we allow ourselves to believe that we have gone under the waves and are drowning? "You of little faith, why did you doubt" (v.31). Let's not give Jesus cause to say this to us. I am sure that there are many things God is testing during these times and we as His children must not think we are exempt. This is our chance to show the world that our God is God.

This is not a matter of trying to get fearful thoughts out of our heads, our minds don't work that way. You and I must put the right kind of thoughts into our minds to drive out what causes anxiety.

Our eyes are to be focused upward:

Psalm 121

"I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come?  2 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.  3 He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.  4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep.  5 The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade on your right hand.  6 The sun will not smite you by day, Nor the moon by night.  7 The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.  8 The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in From this time forth and forever." 

Let's look up to God. Limit your time on television and radio. Meditate on Psalm 121. The Lord is your keeper. Sing a hymn while you work. Say short prayers throughout the day. Remember, you and I are responsible for what we focus on.

All is well.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Gary