The other day I was playing Candy Crush on my phone. I was having a difficult time finishing a level, when I realized I didn’t have to get rid of all of the roadblocks in order to finish the level; I only had to pay attention to what the level was requiring me to do. I began to think about all the different parts of a level and that some are only a “shiny object”. They will distract you–make you use up your limited number of moves (energy) to get rid of them–when they aren’t even necessary to completing the task. And then I began to ponder how many times I watched the “shiny object” instead of what is really happening in my life? I began to ruminate on what I had just read in the book I’m reading and studying, “Fervent”. Satan is a master manipulator–showing us what’s in the box instead of behind the curtain.
“Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.” (James 1:16)
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)
If I were your enemy, I’d disguise myself and manipulate your perspectives so that you’d focus on the wrong culprit–your husband, your friend, your hurt, your finances, anything or anyone except me. Because when you zero in on the most convenient, obvious places to strike back against your problems, you get the impression you’re fighting for something. Even though all you’re really doing is just… fighting. For nothing.
Today (in Western culture at least), our innate tendency is to underestimate Satan’s power. Even his presence is sometimes imagined as make-believe, no more than a phantom wearing a red jumpsuit and a pitchfork, a monster hiding in the closet. We’ve made him no more than a caricature instead of the treacherous, conniving, hell-bent personalized menace he truly is. As a result, we give him room to scheme and scare at will, while we run around firing off at anyone and everyone except him.
Focus clears away dead space and clutter. Focus minimizes distractions, lowering your risk of being blindsided. Focus protects your goals and dreams from being consumed in small bites, stolen right out from under your nose in twenty-minute segments of compromise. And focus is the antenna that prayer helps to keep raised and alert, making you keenly aware if somebody’s trying to play you for a fool.
When you bring your concerns and fears and irritations to the Lord in prayer, you’re aligning your weakling spirit with the full force of God’s Holy Spirit. In each chapter, we are challenged to create our own prayer, and I’m sharing mine for Focus.
Thank you Lord for reigning in power. (Psalm 93:1) “The Lord reigns! He is robed in majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength. The world is firmly established; it cannot be shaken.” and supplying me with the weapons of victory. (2 Corinthians 10:4) “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
Lord, I have been impatient, quick to anger and judgment. I have spent too much energy focusing on me and my needs instead of the needs of others. I have lied to make myself look better and hide my transgressions. Lord, I ask your forgiveness for these sins and ask you to “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
Lord, I ask that you make known to me any transgressions I haven’t asked forgiveness for. Lord, I request courage, discernment, patience, diligence and for laser-like focus.
Lord, I call upon your promise in (Romans 8:38-39) “No power in the sky above or in the earth below–indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” “I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me.” (Psalm 30:1)
“Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered, and let those who hate Him flee before Him.” (Ps 68:1). I call upon your promise in (2 Thessalonians 3:3) “The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” Thank you, Lord, for your promise that the battle is not mine, but yours.
I turn my life over to you. Lord, use my weaknesses and strengths for Your glory. Remind me when necessary “Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
Lord, I claim (Romans 8:27) “And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Amen.
Source: Fervent by Priscilla Shirer