When I originally was thinking about the idea of why God made us with the need to focus on one thing at a time to be effective and productive back in July 2012, the boy band called One Direction was not really popular, at least not among my college-aged friends. But I put it on hold to post because I knew I had more to say about this topic, and could probably write forever about lots of things in the Bible. However, I figure now is the perfect time for this, because this issue is so relevant and this band is totally dominating the teenage-girl music charts right now!
So, join me as we concentrate on our One True Direction: getting closer to the heart of Jesus.
Just like we can only physically look in one direction at a time as a result of how our eyes are set in our heads, so spiritually, we can only look one way at a time. In this sense, we have one-track, or tunnel-vision. Some say moms have eyes in the back of their heads, but the reality is that they really only have one pair of eyes and are just very observant concerning the safety and conduct of their young children.
What would it be like if you could see multiple things – look in multiple directions – at the same time? I think it would be not only confusing, but very unfocused. Your life would lack clarity as your intellect and attention was constantly split in two (or more) places.
I think God made us with limited physical vision to not overwhelm our senses (of which he gave us an overabundance in FIVE of them!) but balance our awareness of the world around us. Sight is clearly important to Jesus in the New Testament, like when he heals two blind men in Matthew 20 and the blind man in John 9. Jesus even says in Luke 4:18-19, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.”
Jesus turns his sights (pun intended) to our spiritual eyes as well. In Matthew 6:22-23 he says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light is darkness, how great is the darkness!” Clearly, eyes are incredibly important to our spiritual health! God purposefully gave us spiritual tunnel-vision so that would could focus and put all our efforts, determination, faith and trust in Him as we seek that one thing. One goal at a time is not a narrow view of life. I think it is a very wide view: it allows one to complete the task at hand adequately by focusing all energies on that one thing without distractions. Thus, just like physically, if you are looking down, necessarily by definition, you cannot see what is above you. Now the question comes: if we have only one point of view, where do we look?
My answer is to God, the One who sees all and knows all! Where better to find the right direction to look than by asking the One who knows everything?! We are called as Christians to make prayerful and wise decisions concerning the direction we pursue in our lives. And sometimes, even if we think it’s the right one, God might tell us to go a different way. I personally take comfort in the fact that if I’m not going in the right direction, He will gently guide me to the right one.
Yet one place where we often get stuck as Christians is when we think we know better than God does about where we should be heading. Since He gave us the ability to choose which way we want to go, we always have the freedom to run in the opposite direction than where He intends for us. But one of my favorite things about God is that He is relentless. He will never, never, ever stop pursuing you, and he certainly will never give up on you. So when we stumble upon the wrong way on accident or run away from God out of rebellion, the good news is that He won’t ever leave you and is going to tenderly guide you back in the right direction, no matter what. And the good news is that if you get lost, there is only one right direction to turn your focus towards: Jesus. He’s the guide post to focus your life around, and He’s got the map and directions to life, since He created it all!
[but as you begin your journey towards our Savior Jesus Christ, enjoy more photos of the One Direction boys. At the very least, they can harmonize and don’t have acne.]
Jesus has got that “One Thing” for you: Salvation!
Is Medication REALLY the Best Solution?
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but in order that the world might be saved through him. – John 3:17
Our souls are inherently sick in this world, manifesting in the spiritual symptom of sin. Most people try to cover it up. They will try anything: pretending their sin doesn’t exist, lying to themselves to convince themselves that their sin isn’t really “that bad,” spending their whole life trying to atone for their wrongdoing, trying to drown out their remorse by using various coping mechanisms such as alcohol, drugs, self-harm, sex, eating disorders, and the list goes on…the ultimate solution is an “escape” – suicide. And suicide rates have been drastically increasing in the last 50 years.
As of September 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that each year 16 in 100,000 die due to suicide worldwide; that is about 1 death every 40 seconds. The organization also noted that in the last 45 years, suicide rates have increased 60% globally (www.kaieteurnewsonline.com). Fortunately – or maybe unfortunately – according to the American Association of Suicidology, there are 25 attempts at suicide for every 1 success. Yet all these are vastly inadequate means of medicating an indelible sickness that has only one True remedy (see Isaiah 45:22, Acts 4:12 and 1 Timothy 2:5). The prescription to cure our sickness is always and only Jesus Christ. He is the one who suffered on your behalf; he took your sickness upon himself and in return gave you a permanent cure: eternal salvation. But you can only have the antidote if you choose to take it. Translation: Jesus has already cured your disease, but he requires one thing from you: Trust in Him. That’s it. (see Psalm 13:5, Psalm 22:5, Psalm 37:5, Isaiah 26:4, Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13).
But it’s your choice. Is trusting in Jesus really so much harder than self-medicating with things that never work – in order to be healed permanently from a sickness that has persisted since Adam and Eve? One method could cost you your very life; the other will save it for eternity. Which will you choose?
Everything Jesus endured; He endured for me so that:
a) I don’t have to go through condemnation, death, suffering, or damnation, because he took care of that for me. He took all the guilty verdict in my place and died the worst kind of death possible for it, bled profusely and suffered immensely for me, then went to hell and kicked Satan’s ass(!) and finally returned from the dead victoriously.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. – Romans 8:1-4
b) When I die, I won’t go to hell, because Jesus already went there for me and won my salvation by his suffering, death and triumphal resurrection; I get to go live in Heaven for all eternity with my loving Savior instead!
When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” [Cited from: Isaiah 25:8] “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” [Cited from: Hosea 13:14] The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 15:54-57
a) If I depend solely on Him, He gives me the strength to persevere through and overcome any and all temptations, offenses, trials, lack, poverty, tribulation, condemnation, stumbling, oppression, adversity, etc.
In this [inheritance of eternal life] you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him.Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. – 1 Peter 1:6-9
Through [Jesus] we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. – Romans 5:2-5
b) Weathering the storm, be it difficult and seemingly impossible sometimes, in the end will grow my faith and make me that much stronger to withstand the next hardship that comes my way – because I am more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ! (Romans 8:37).
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. – Hebrews 10:39
Jesus doesn’t want me, or you, to suffer – ever! (Romans 5:8). He wants us to live an abundant, victorious life in Him – no matter what devices, schemes, tricks, lies, traps, or circumstances with which our enemy (Satan!) attacks us. Satan is a schemer and will try every minute of every day to entice you into self-medicating once again. But Jesus died an excruciating death to pay (literally with His blood) for, and then eliminate (forever), all your shame, guilt, condemnation, fear, anger and feelings of unworthiness, worthlessness, and inadequacy! (Galatians 5:1).
He took our illnesses and bore our diseases, and by His wounds we have been healed (Matthew 8:17, Romans 4:25, 1Peter 2:24). If all your sickness has been eradicated by Jesus, why are you still trying to medicate it?
*Una nota para Christian Guth: escribo en Español para ti. Espero que el mensaje obtendrá es que Jesucristo murió para tu salvación, pero necesitas elegir confiar en Él.
Guidance has a beautiful message hidden within it and once you have discovered it, your perspective on being led by the Holy Spirit will be forever changed. Take a closer look at the word: GUIDANCE. Can you see it? God, U and I DANCE is clearly spelled out.
Dancing is a theme that has persisted through the ages, its extent reaching from literature, to film, to the stage, to competition, and on and on. Dancing often leads to romance or is a form of romantic courting which can be clearly seen in countless movies of the past 50 years, including these and more:
Dance is a relevant element of guidance and I would love to continue discussing the bearing of secular dance in film to the notion of guidance, but its portrayal in movies is besides the point of this post. Moreover, the post would probably turn into a short novel, and since I’m sure no one wants to read that, I will simply commence with my composition without delay.
God is a gentleman, and He will never force you to do anything you are opposed to doing or do not want to do. But when you allow Him to gently lead you in the dance of life, the song will magically come alive. He knows all the steps: how to turn you, where to lead you, how to keep in rhythm with the music that sounds hauntingly like the rustle of leaves in the wind, the morning song of a blue jay, the crash of the waves on the shore, the pounding of the rain on the ground, the bubbling of the stream running over rocks, the booming of thunder, even the chirping chorus of crickets at twilight. Dancing is a form of art, which requires not only time, talent, energy, and lots of practice, but most importantly absolute trust. Trust (confidence and dependence upon your partner) is the basis of living a victorious life. If successful, the two figures (you and God) will become a single entity which glides effortlessly across the floor. When the two become one, they seemingly float around the dance floor in perfect unison. It creates a special harmony between the couple that is completely unique from person to person.
If you let God lead, it doesn’t mean that you are weak or incapable of dancing, only that He knows infinitely so much more about the art of the dance and has been doing it for an inordinate amount of time longer than you have. Unfortunately, even though He knows all, the bad news for you is that allowing Him to lead does not mean that everything will be peachy-keen, that nothing will bump into you and mess up your rhythm, or that someday down the road you won’t choose to lead yourself or find someone or something else to lead your life. The fact of life is that no matter who you are or who is leading the dance, there will always be troubles that cause you to stumble or tempt you to go the other way from God. Life is never perfect, for any one of us. The good news, however, is that your dance will glide much smoother than it otherwise would have, and I guarantee you will have infinitely more happiness with God leading you. The key is that you have to LET him lead. You don’t have to. It’s your choice. You could to it all on your own. But where has that gotten you in the past? My bet is nowhere good. Am I right?
I know that for me trying to do everything on my own led me down a road of destruction that almost killed me. A road that He rescued me from and one that I never want to go back to; and I now know that with Him in the lead, I will never have to. But it all hinged on me. I had to choose to ALLOW Him to lead me. And sometimes I still try to take over, and then life gets really messy, because when both partners are trying to lead, chaos ensues. All the grace, poise, and every semblance of harmony are removed from the dance if both parties try to lead. It simply looks messy, feels disjointed, and becomes incredibly difficult and complicated. You are much more likely to run into adversity: tripping, bumping into others, falling flat on your face, dancing alone and looking really dumb, etc.
The absolute ONLY way to achieve peace in your dance of life is to say, “God, You and I dance, and I yield my will to you and I trust you to lead me in the Way everlasting.” This doesn’t mean that there will not ever be any hardships, but that it will be so much easier to recover from your stumbles with the help of your leader reaching down His hand to help you back up after your fall – ALWAYS. He knows all your strengths and weaknesses, and won’t let you get into any situation that you can’t handle!
Willingly acquiescing to God’s loving control and gentle guidance also means you can lean on Him anytime you feel the least bit shaky in your footing or the steps you are about to take. In fact, you should be leaning on Him all the time. The Bible says we are to be in constant communication with Him, and that He is always eager to hear and talk with you. He is there to guide you and you can always rely on Him; after all, as I said in the beginning, receiving guidance is all about TRUST. Trusting in that little tap from the Holy Spirit leading you in a certain way and choosing to follow in the way he tenderly directs. Guidance from Him can come in many forms, but if you search your heart, His still, small voice is always there within. Dancing with Him means you trust Him to show you the Way to live eternally with Him.
Dancing with God means you trust Him enough to say “yes,” take His hand and jump on the magic flying carpet that will take you to new heights where you’ve never gone before.