“Why does the devil seem to be giving me so many problems lately?”
As we set our attention on the problems and difficulties we are facing, we may feel alarmed at what the enemy seems to be doing. When we look at ourselves, we may only see weaknesses and failures. Then as we view what is happening in the world and see all the evil that is out there, it often fills us with dismay.
Have you ever noticed that the more we focus on the negative things in life, the darker our world looks? The result is our thoughts may be clouded with fear, doubt, and discouragement. When everything around seems to look bleak and depressing, what can we do? The answer is simple: God wants us to change our focus!
You may recall the story where Peter found himself in a predicament. He had boldly started walking on the water toward Jesus and everything seemed to be going well. However, the moment he got his eyes off of the Lord, he began to focus on the wind and the waves around him. Fear gripped his heart and he began to doubt. Sinking down into the water, he cried out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!” (See Matthew 14:25-33)
Peter got his eyes back on the Lord, and the Lord rescued him.
“And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ ” (Matthew 14:31 NKJV)
The key to staying above our circumstances is to keep our eyes on the author and finisher of our faith. When we take our eyes off of Him and begin to pay attention to all the things that are going on around us, we begin to sink down into those negative feelings. When we find ourselves in a difficult situation, we need to look up from our circumstances and fix our attention on the One who gives us the victory.
“Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57 NKJV)
The victory begins the moment we fix our eyes on the Lord!
In the Old Testament, King Jehoshaphat was filled with fear and dismay when he saw Israel surrounded by a vast army set to attack them. He looked at the great strength of the enemy, then he looked at the weakness of his own army. The situation looked utterly hopeless, but he got his eyes off the circumstances and upon the Lord. He began to pray:
“O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” (2 Chronicles 20:12 NKJV, words in emphasis mine.)
As long as he kept his eyes on the enemy, he felt overwhelmed with the feeling of impending defeat. However, the moment he set his eyes upon the Lord, his victory began. The Lord turned his situation completely around and the nation of Israel triumphed over their enemies. Like Jehoshaphat, we need to stop setting our eyes on what the enemy is doing and fix our eyes on what the Lord is able to do.
The Psalmist, David, often found himself in similar situations. One day he gazed off into the distance toward the hills and said:
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help?” (Psalm 121:1 NKJV)
Then he looked a little higher, and exclaimed:
“My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1 NKJV)
As long as David’s eyes were focused on this earthly realm, the situation looked bleak. As soon as he changed his focus on the Lord, he remembered the greatness of God – He was the One who created everything in Heaven and on the earth.
We also need to see God as Someone who is bigger than our problems! There is a wonderful promise in the Old Testament that reminds us of where our focus should be:
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3 NKJV)
We can go from fear and defeat to faith and victory – the moment we set our focus completely on the Lord!
You are holy, dear saint!
Have you noticed that your world seems much darker, when you only focus on what the enemy is doing? Let me know in the comments below!
[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]