Get In Focus

Every year I plan on reading all of My Utmost for His Highest, and every year I make it through to about March. Then there’s a really long gap, with occasional April and May readings but almost none in the summer months until about mid-August. I usually get motivated again sometime around October, but by the end of December I’m back where I started. All of this is made evident just by glancing at my well-worn copy of My Utmost, for the days that I actually have read (for the most part) are filled with underlinings and/or comments whereas the other days are still virginal white. (I don’t know that I’ve ever referred to pages of a book as being “virginal,” but it really fits. Unless you carry that metaphor too far, which I’m not because I’m stopping right there.) What is the point of this rambling? Well, there isn’t one really except that this year I’m going to try to read all of it. And if I can’t do that, I hope that I can at least cover the portions that I seem to miss every year. What does Mr. Oswald Chambers have to say on July 24? (Oh wait, I just flipped there, and I’ve read that day. But you get the idea.) I’ve though about just reading all of it regardless of what day it is, but that just seems to defeat the purpose somehow.

Anyway, all of this was just a really long preface to today’s entry, of which I will provide an excerpt here:

“The great difficulty spiritually is to concentrate on God, and it is His blessings that make it difficult. Troubles nearly always make us look to God; His blessings are apt to make us look elsewhere. The teachings of the Sermon on the Mount is, in effect–Narrow all your interests until the attitude of mind and heart and body is concentration on Jesus Christ…The very thing we look for we shall find if we concentrate on Him.”

How true is this? I know the great struggle of my walk with God is just focusing on Him. It’s much easier to focus on me and my problems or how much my life is harder than the next person’s (which is of course completely ridiculous because my life isn’t hard at all, not really anyway). But to focus on God? This means everything. It means putting aside myself and my selfishness; it means literally killing self so that Christ may live in me. I’m the first one to become confident when things are going well in my life and the first to come crawling meekly back to God when everything crumbles before my feet. How much I have missed because I spend countless hours thinking about myself instead of thinking about God? It’s so silly and stupid the way I constantly worship my little manmade idols of school and money and me, hoping to find joy and satisfaction, when right in front of me is Joy itself. And really, what Chambers describes, this attitude of mind and heart and body concentrating on Jesus, isn’t this the very form of worship? It all comes back to worship.

And what’s even cooler about all of this is the way that a lot of what I’m reading in Chambers corresponds so nicely with what I’m reading in Philippians. I’ve been going through the book, taking a chunk of verses each day, and here’s what I read today. It happens to be one of my most favorite passages of Scripture:

“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” ~Philippians 3:7-11

Okay, enough rambling. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

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