Thursday, 21 July 2011

Single Minded Focus

I really get hung up these days on being single minded. It never really occurred to me that I wasn't until the latest battle I've had to fight. My wife is going through the biggest fight of her life, and as a result I am as well. She's fighting illness in a way I've never had to before now. If she loses, she really loses. Faith requires focus. I firmly believe that it is not God's will for her to be going through this. I have absolutely no doubt that He will ultimately be Glorified through it, but H e didn't cause it. So I need to pray.

Previously when I've had to pray for something there has been an "acceptable" alternative that I could go to when it didn't happen how I expected the answer to come. I shifted my expectations according to what was happening in the natural world around me. As a result my experience was hit and miss to say the least. Every so often I'd hold on despite what was going on and I'd see God work in big ways. It finally dawned on my lightning fast mind that I needed to hold on to my focus and to stick to it no matter what.

I used to be a marksman when I was at school. I was a pretty good shot with a rifle, and reasonable with an air rifle. The key was to focus on a single target. I realised recently that I need to apply that same focus to my Sprirtual battle that I use when I have a gun in my hands.

I used to love the old westerns growing up where there was some old-timer with a "scatter" gun. The sawn down barrel of a shotgun that would spray buckshot over a wide area was something that made me laugh and wish I'd been around then. As I learned more I discovered those guns are only really effective up close. The scattering of the pellets diffuses how powerful the shot is and actually in a fight a pistol was far more use for bringing down your enemy.

Prayer is like being a sniper. A scatter-gun prayer sounds great but is virtually useless. We need to pick out our target and fire directly at it - kill shots only. The enemy does nothing less to us. When our health or finances are attacked we often shout at God about it. We lose our jobs and we shout at Him some more. The sickness deepens and we still just scream impotently at God.

Impotent. Weak. Defeated.

This is not what God made us.

When we pray we should do what Jesus told us. Praise first. It's like a sniper drawing his breath out to steady his hands. It clarifies the mind and puts us into a position where we can really see the target. Line up the kill shot second. Pick the point on the enemy where it will cause most damage to him and the best result for us. Fire and keep firing until he falls. There is no point in shooting once and walking away without making sure the enemy is fully defeated.

King David was a sniper of his day. He was skilled with a sling - deadly from a distance. He loosed the stone at Goliath's head, hit the mark and the giant fell. Then for good measure, despite having buried a fist sized rock between his eyes, David takes the giant's own sword and beheads him with it. The action simply states "This guy's not getting up!"

Peter sees the man at the Gate of the Temple and fixes his gaze on him before he prays, then as if that's not enough he drags the man to his feet. Healed.

Jesus set his face like flint as he moved towards the city of Jerusalem and kept his focus on the Joy set before Him... Us.

Single focus. Single target. Kill shot. Victory. Hallelujah!

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