Participants: Ivor and Atonte Myers
Series Code: BOF
Program Code: BOF000029
00:14 Welcome to Battles of Faith. We're your hosts, Ivor
00:17 and Atonte Myers. Today's program is entitled
00:21 "The Art of Focus". We're going to learn
00:23 how to focus and stay in tune with God. On the last 2 programs
00:29 we learned that stillness and silence are weapons, and today
00:33 we're going to learn how focusing is a weapon as well.
00:37 And I'm excited about this program because the more
00:40 weapons we learn about, the better our fighting is going
00:42 - to be against Satan. - That's right.
00:45 We're learning these arts of warfare. We have previously
00:48 discussed the art of stillness, and we've talked about the art
00:53 of silence, we've seen those 2, how they work together,
00:57 and in this program we're going to be dealing with the art
00:59 of focus. I want to read a verse
01:01 from Proverbs 16:32, and it says here: "He that is slow to anger"
01:07 "is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit"
01:11 "than he that taketh a city. " Very powerful verse there
01:16 that illustrates the fact that God sees as a more powerful
01:20 warrior those who are able to rule themselves than those
01:24 who are able to rule others. We might say "greater is he"
01:29 "that masters himself, than he that masters another".
01:35 So often in our conflicts we are seeking to try to master
01:41 other people, in other words, "Do what I say! "
01:44 Getting the victory over other people when the real battle,
01:47 the real warfare is getting the mastery over ourselves.
01:51 This is a vital part of the Christian art of war.
01:55 So learning how to focus helps us in finding that way,
02:00 - to be able to master self. - That's right.
02:03 Isaiah 26:3 tells us "Thou will keep him in perfect peace"
02:08 "who's mind is stayed on Thee", and this is where we're going
02:12 to pull our principle of focusing.
02:15 I like to call this "the art of locking on".
02:20 We will use those words interchangeably, if I say
02:22 to focus on a target, or focus on something, what you're
02:25 saying is to lock on to that thing. Isaiah 26:3 tells us
02:31 that Christ promises peace to those who focus and stay
02:36 locked onto Him. Why should we be mentally
02:39 locked on to Christ? Because Christ is our target,
02:42 He is our goal, it is He who the Christian wants to be ultimately
02:47 like, and He tells us if we learn how to focus on Him,
02:53 if we learn how to keep our mind stayed on Him, that will
02:58 give us victory, that will give us the peace that we're looking
03:01 - for in the Christian warfare. - And Jesus understood
03:05 and applied this weapon in His life, He was able to stay
03:09 completely focused upon the Father, and when Satan tried
03:14 to bring thoughts of temptations or whatever, He was able
03:17 to overcome them because He was so focused on the Father,
03:21 and this is something that's not easily done, this is why
03:25 training daily for this is so important, because we must
03:29 train our minds to do this, and we've talked about this
03:33 at home, and in other places, but there's something that
03:35 Satan sends - thought bombs, and he sends a thought,
03:40 he's always trying to get our thoughts to be anywhere
03:42 but on God. So that's why we have
03:44 to actually slow our mind down and actually say
03:47 "Hey, I'm thinking about things that I should not be thinking"
03:50 "about, Lord take my mind back where it should be",
03:53 and this will be a ritual every day all throughout
03:55 the day until our mind is more used to focusing on those things
03:58 that God wants us to focus on.
04:00 That's right. In Ephesians 6 the Bible
04:03 talks about taking the shield of faith whereby we may be able
04:06 to quench the fiery darts of the wicked.
04:10 The word there for "darts" is the Greek word "belos",
04:13 which means "missiles", and it's amazing when you consider,
04:16 the Bible here is saying that Satan has missiles,
04:19 and we like to call them "thought bombs",
04:21 "thought missiles", thoughts that he will send to our minds,
04:25 thoughts that he wants to put within our minds to take
04:28 our minds away from Jesus Christ, it's been said that sin
04:34 is defined as "missing the mark". Well, if Christ is our
04:38 mark, if Christ is our target, then any thought that leaves
04:43 our mind and misses its mark, misses its target, which is
04:48 to be Christ because Christ is our goal, becomes a sinful
04:52 thought. Every thought that we have
04:55 is to be brought into captivity according to the Bible,
04:58 to the obedience of Christ, so in this art of focus
05:03 what Christ wants to teach us is how to keep our thoughts
05:08 focused and stayed upon Him because in that way every
05:13 thought that we think will be geared towards the glory
05:17 - of Christ. - And again, this is not
05:21 an easy thing, and he is always constantly going to be
05:24 bombarding our minds, we've mentioned this in other
05:26 programs, I just think saying it over and over again,
05:29 I want someone out there to really get it, this is why
05:34 he has the entertainment world so prevalent in our homes,
05:38 and it looks so enticing because once we're always
05:41 watching these things, and seeing these sinful things,
05:44 and our mind is constantly used to be entertained on this thing
05:48 and the other, the art of focus doesn't even come into play,
05:52 so Satan just has a field day sending these thought bombs,
05:56 or missiles, into keep our minds not focusing on God.
06:01 That's right. 2 Corinthians 10:4,5 read
06:04 like this: "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, "
06:09 "but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, "
06:12 "casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exulteth"
06:17 "itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity"
06:20 "every thought to the obedience of Christ. "
06:25 Every thought is to be focused in on Christ. You see those heat
06:29 seeking missiles, wherever the target moves that missile
06:32 is moving, our thoughts are to be like that in reference
06:37 to Christ. Every thought should be locked on to Jesus,
06:42 and ultimately that is our target, that is our mark
06:45 because we want to be like Him. Any thought that misses that
06:50 target becomes a wandering thought. So often we say
06:53 "Man, my mind is just wandering", "when I go down"
06:56 "and pray, my mind wanders, the thoughts just wander, "
06:58 "I can't seem to focus". We've talked about being still,
07:05 that is important in order for us to sense the presence of God,
07:09 we talked about being silent, that is important so that we can
07:11 hear the voice of God, but now we have to look at the art
07:15 of focus, which helps us to be able to hear God's voice,
07:21 to focus on what it is He is saying, to understand it
07:24 and to have it actually become a part of us.
07:26 That's right, and sin starts in the mind, we must think about
07:31 it before we actually do it, and I think about something like
07:35 pornography, this is a huge problem in our country
07:38 and around the world. And many men or women
07:42 would like to have victory over it, well, it would start in
07:45 applying these weapons that we've talked about:
07:49 silence, stillness, and then focusing. If you can get
07:52 those thoughts under control, that's going to help you not go
07:55 to the computer, not watch that thing on TV,
07:58 - or buy those magazines. - That's right, it's like
08:00 they're rebel thoughts, they don't want to be drawn
08:03 to Christ, and that's why the Bible gives this picture
08:05 of capturing these thoughts and bringing them into
08:09 captivity, that's going to be a warfare, how do you capture
08:12 something that is intangible and bring it to Christ?
08:15 He says "in the art of focus"
08:18 "you learned as you are sitting still, as you are learning to"
08:21 "be silent, you will also learn", He says, "I will teach"
08:25 "you how to focus", and you know, ultimately we're giving
08:28 these principles but these principles are ultimately
08:32 learned in the actions themselves. You have to take
08:35 the time to be still, you've got to take the time to set it aside
08:39 and say "Okay, I'm going to learn what it means"
08:42 "to be still".
08:44 You've got to take the time to understand and to learn
08:47 for yourself, practically speaking, the art of silence:
08:49 sitting down, especially in your prayer time, and just
08:52 being silent, listening for God's voice speaking to you
08:55 through His Spirit, through the Word of God, through Scripture,
08:59 and listening to that voice, and then the art of focus,
09:02 it is something that must be experienced, we can explain it,
09:05 but until you actually get down and have the experience
09:08 yourself, you will see, so many people get down and pray
09:11 and they cannot stay focused on Christ.
09:15 The focusing of the thoughts is so important because in
09:18 the middle of crises our minds, our thoughts are going
09:23 - everywhere but to Christ. - You know, I think God's
09:27 Word plays a huge part in this because if we're in His Word
09:33 there are so many things in there things that will keep us,
09:36 if we meditate on that throughout the day,
09:38 that will help us to focus on Christ because the Word
09:41 is all about God, and if we're taking some of those thoughts,
09:44 those themes, and take it throughout the day then that
09:46 - will help us to focus. - Okay, now we want to actually
09:50 talk about, and share with the audience, 2 important principles
09:54 about the art of focus. The first principle is that
09:58 focus equals strength of thought.
10:05 Now what does that mean? Another word for focus,
10:09 you would say "concentrate", "I want you to concentrate".
10:13 I want to take this "concentrate" for a minute,
10:15 and we're going to jump to something that's totally
10:18 different, but you will get the picture.
10:20 Many of you if you open your freezers you will see in there
10:23 that you have bought something called "apple juice"
10:25 "concentrate", what is apple juice concentrate?
10:29 Apple juice concentrate is apple juice concentrated,
10:34 pure, undiluted, it's the pure thing, very strong.
10:39 Christ, when He asks us to focus, or to concentrate on Him,
10:43 what He's asking us to do is to weed out of our thought
10:48 patterns those things that are not fully Him; those things
10:54 that will guide us, or lead us towards sin, He wants
10:58 us to learn how to concentrate our thoughts on to Him,
11:02 that every thought that leaves our mind is a focused thought
11:06 on Christ, this way we begin to understand that in focusing
11:11 on Him, and in having the Devil have no power to take our
11:17 thoughts off of the mark, to give us a wandering thought,
11:22 we begin to experience this power over self that very few
11:27 - people experience. - That's right, and Satan is
11:30 so clever, he tries to do it in so many different ways,
11:33 through young people, of course, we've said it's
11:36 the entertainment industry, for us older young people
11:38 it could be stress and worry, that takes our mind off of
11:42 Jesus and it puts it on to something else, and that's one
11:46 way for him to break our focus.
11:48 That's right, we need to have that power to remain
11:53 focused on Christ, and the way that we receive that power
11:56 is by being still, and it's by being silent.
12:00 And as we learn these 3 principles: be still,
12:03 be silent, and focus, what begins to happen is as we
12:07 are out there in the middle of a crisis, we begin to understand
12:11 and experience what it means to be still, what it means
12:15 to not react when something comes your way,
12:18 what it means to be silent, to hear God's voice:
12:21 "Lord, how should I react in this crisis? "
12:24 And then to focus enough to be able to keep, or rein
12:29 those thoughts in and bring them into captivity to Christ.
12:34 Now, focus comes from another very interesting word.
12:38 That's right, if you look at the origin of the word "focus",
12:44 it comes from the Latin "focali", which interestingly
12:48 enough, it means "hearth", or "fire place".
12:54 That's a very powerful thought because the word "focus"
12:59 actually comes from the word "to burn", or "fire".
13:04 And you wouldn't think that that word would come
13:06 from a word that means "fire place".
13:09 No, which brings us to our second principle, is that not
13:11 only is focus strength of thought, but focus actually
13:15 produces fire. Now, let's look at
13:18 an illustration here, take a magnifying glass.
13:21 When you hold a magnifying glass up, we used to do this when
13:24 we were younger, we'd hold a magnifying glass up
13:27 to the sun, we would have a piece of paper on the ground,
13:29 and what would happen? That magnifying glass would
13:32 take all the rays of the sun and concentrate them,
13:39 or focus them into 1 beam of light.
13:45 And then that beam of light would hit that piece of paper,
13:47 and what began to happen? The fire was started.
13:53 Interestingly enough, when we think about focus, when Christ
13:57 says "I will keep him in perfect peace who's mind"
13:59 "is stayed on Thee", what He's telling is as we focus on Him
14:05 something incredible will begin to happen within us.
14:09 We will catch that fire that so many people, you know,
14:14 "I'm kind of lukewarm, don't know what's happening"
14:17 "with me", Christ says "If you learn to focus on Me, I promise"
14:20 "you that you will begin to burn with holy fire, you will begin"
14:25 "to burn with the flame of God's love. "
14:28 Now that is exciting, I don't know about you,
14:30 but I'm over here getting excited, and I've heard it
14:33 before, but it's very exciting because it's true.
14:37 As Christians we don't want to be lukewarm Christians,
14:39 we want to be on fire, and these things the Lord is showing
14:42 us so what we can apply them, and that will be the result,
14:47 you'll be on fire, focus on Jesus.
14:49 Now let me jump in here and we're going to look at something
14:53 that, again, understand that we have an adversary who wants
14:56 to take our minds away from Christ, there's a story
14:59 in the Old Testament where focus played a vital part
15:04 in the saying of lives, and that's the story where
15:08 the children of Israel were going through the wilderness
15:11 and they began to murmur against God, and as they murmured they
15:15 pushed away the presence of God, and in pushing away the presence
15:19 of God the Bible says that these serpents began to rise up
15:22 out of the ground, and began to bite the people.
15:25 God instructs Moses to make a brazen serpent, to put this
15:29 serpent on a pole, and lift it up. The people were commanded
15:34 to look and live, we might say "to focus upon the serpent",
15:40 and in focusing upon that serpent, they were able
15:43 to survive the deadly bites of these serpents.
15:47 Now, the question is, we know that many, many people
15:51 died because they refused to look at the serpent.
15:54 The question is: why in the world would they refuse to look
15:58 at the serpent? As I thought about that
16:01 I thought: "that doesn't make any sense, who wouldn't want"
16:03 "to live? " But the problem comes in
16:06 when you consider that Moses was commanded to lift this serpent
16:10 up, where were the other snakes?
16:13 They were on the ground. Now, if I'm to walk through
16:16 a room full of snakes, where do you think I'm going to be
16:18 - looking? - Down at the ground.
16:21 I'm going to be looking down, I don't think that there will
16:24 be anything that will make me want to look up,
16:26 I'd be looking down at the serpents, down at the problems,
16:29 down at the crisis, down at the situation, but God actually
16:31 told these people: "I want you to look up at the serpent"
16:34 "on the pole", that would have to be an act of utter trust
16:38 and faith. But again, what the Devil wants
16:42 to do in our day is to keep us focused on the serpents
16:47 on the ground. Focus on our problems
16:49 focused on what the world is doing, anything to keep us
16:53 from focusing on Jesus Christ. Why? Because Christ had an "I":
16:57 "If I be lifted up from the earth", just like that serpent
17:00 on the pole, "I will draw", that heat seeking missile,
17:05 "I will draw all men to Me", "I will draw their thoughts"
17:09 "to Me, I will become that target, that goal of theirs, "
17:13 "and I will lock them on, and they will follow Me"
17:17 "whithersoever I go", and this again, is why the Devil
17:21 will use everything: the entertainment industry,
17:23 the music, anything he can, busyness, anything he can,
17:26 our problems, to cause us to look down instead of to look
17:30 - up and to focus on Christ. - I also look at it as
17:34 chasing rabbits. I look at it like Satan sends us
17:37 out, you know, rabbits are these quick little, hoping,
17:40 little cute things, but they're hard to catch, so he has
17:43 us constantly chasing rabbits, different things in our life,
17:46 anything just so we do not spend the time, or have
17:50 the time to focus. So again, these weapons are
17:54 lifestyle changes, if you don't make the time and spend the time
18:00 it'll be very, I would say, impossible to fight Satan,
18:04 because you need the power from God, you have to receive it
18:06 from Him, you must spend time with Him, and in His Word,
18:09 - and in prayer to do this. - Yeah, you know, going back
18:11 to this magnifying glass concept that we just shared about
18:16 focusing all the thoughts into 1 beam of light, there's
18:21 a powerful verse that actually illustrates this, and it's
18:24 found in Matthew 6:22, and listen to what it says here,
18:33 Jesus speaking, He says: "The light of the body is the eye: "
18:44 "if therefore thine eye be single, the whole body shall"
18:48 "be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, the whole body"
18:53 "shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is"
18:56 "in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! "
18:59 "The light of the body is the eye", what do we use
19:02 the eye for? We use the eye to focus, to see,
19:05 and what Jesus is saying here, He's not talking about our
19:09 physical eye, He's talking about the eye of our mind,
19:12 when we say "I see what you're talking about",
19:14 the eye is symbolic of the mind, so He says
19:17 "the light of a body is the mind, if the mind then, "
19:20 or the light in that mind, "is focused, if the thoughts"
19:23 "of the mind are focused on Christ, into a single ray, "
19:29 "then the whole body will be full of light. "
19:32 So what does it mean when we have wandering thoughts,
19:36 what it means is that the body is full of darkness because
19:39 we've got maybe 1 thought on Christ, but the other thought
19:42 is pulling us somewhere else. We've got all these thoughts
19:44 pulling us in all these different directions,
19:47 and the Christian warrior who is in this holy war must learn
19:51 how to focus his thoughts and to keep them ultimately
19:55 - on Jesus Christ. - When you think about
19:58 the martial arts and the way they train to go up to each
20:03 level, it compares to this spiritual warfare that we're
20:07 talking about, it takes, on a daily basis, you must train
20:12 for this. Because we were born in a sinful
20:14 state, we all know that, we were all born with sin,
20:19 we don't have a bend towards God, we don't have a bend
20:22 towards being focused on Him, so we must train our minds.
20:26 And that is what God is calling us to do.
20:28 That's right. You think about the parable
20:30 of the 10 virgins, very powerful parable, these 10 virgins
20:35 all had 10 lamps, and a lamp in those times was not
20:41 the kind of lamp we have today with a light bulb, it was fire,
20:46 you needed oil. As you read that parable
20:49 in Matthew 25 I believe it is, where it describes the 10
20:54 virgins, it ultimately says that 5 foolish virgins, their lamps
20:58 went out. In other words, they had
21:01 no more oil, and what was oil used for?
21:03 Oil was the fuel to keep that fire burning. These 10 virgins
21:09 had no fuel. I took the liberty to look up this word "fuel" and
21:13 to see the origin of this word, and guess what, the word "fuel"
21:18 also comes from the Latin, "focali," which means
21:24 "fire place", or "hearth", "a burning".
21:27 So then these 5 foolish virgins had lost their focus,
21:36 they had lost their focus on Christ, they had begun to focus
21:39 on other things, they had no oil, no focus.
21:42 And because they lost this focus they're described
21:46 as foolish virgins, their thoughts were not all placed
21:49 upon Christ, but had strayed, or taken off the mark,
21:55 and thus they were considered as foolish virgins.
21:58 And it wasn't that they went back to the world and left
22:01 Christ all together, that isn't it, it's their mind.
22:03 They're still going through all the outwardly forms of what
22:07 we know today as Christianity, but in their mind, their mind
22:11 wasn't stayed on God, on Jesus.
22:14 That's right. Now, as we take this principle
22:17 that Christ says "if the eye is single, then the whole body"
22:19 "shall be full of light", or full of fire, if the eye is
22:23 single, if the mind, if the thoughts are placed upon Christ,
22:26 then the whole body shall be full of fire.
22:29 When we understand this and we begin to take that
22:31 principle and apply it, as we focus upon Christ
22:36 something is going to happen within us.
22:40 John the Baptist said of his own self, he said
22:43 "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He that"
22:47 "cometh after me is mightier than I, who's shoes I'm not"
22:50 "worthy to bear, He will baptize you with fire and the Holy"
22:54 "Ghost. " As we focus upon Christ
22:57 lifted up on the cross, something begins to happen
23:00 within us, we begin to smoke, and then that smoke will turn
23:06 into fire, because the hotter we get the more that we will
23:11 have that love to serve God and to fight this good
23:14 fight of faith. But we can also take that
23:17 to the Word of God. So often people will read
23:21 this Bible and they don't spend time to focus on the Word.
23:27 To focus on what it is that God is trying to say to us.
23:32 Use your imagination with me, you take your Bible,
23:34 you take a verse, and you begin to focus on that verse.
23:37 You know what will happen if you focus on that verse long
23:40 enough? The page will begin to smoke.
23:42 Why? Because you begin to go deeper than the average
23:47 "what a nice verse", and you move on.
23:49 No, you are now learning the art of being still with the Word
23:52 of God, being silent with the Word of God, listening,
23:55 focusing on that verse, on that Word, and as you focus
23:58 on that verse and the Spirit of God begins to speak to you.
24:02 I have experienced it where it seems as though the very verse
24:06 began to smoke, and then it was just like it was on fire.
24:09 Like Jeremiah, we can say "His word was like a fire"
24:14 "in my bones", and this is what focus brings, it brings the fire
24:18 of God into us. Focus, fuel, it brings His fire
24:22 into our minds, into our hearts, and then the worst thing
24:26 for the Devil to face is an on-fire warrior for God.
24:31 That's right, because now you're starting to fight back,
24:33 and he's going to begin to tremble. So no more surface
24:37 - reading. Correct? - That's right.
24:40 You know, there's so much in the Word, we could take
24:43 a text a day, and even a week, there's so much here,
24:47 and just meditate on it, and just exhaust it, and you can't
24:50 because you can't exhaust God, but just go as far as you can
24:53 go with the Lord with that verse, and He will show you
24:55 so many things. I mean, this is true entertainment,
24:59 this is what God wants our minds to be entertained with.
25:03 That's right. You know, when we understand
25:06 and we begin to experience this art of focus, our thoughts
25:09 become...and this is what the Christian needs,
25:12 he needs for his thoughts, her thoughts, to become so strong
25:16 that as the Devil comes and tries to move those thoughts
25:21 off of their target they're immovable.
25:24 "These are they that follow the Lamb whithersoever He goes",
25:27 they follow Him in thought, they follow Him in heart, and nothing
25:31 can draw them away, nothing can separate that thought,
25:35 and I know that that will be one of the most precious experiences
25:39 for Christians to have, is to have the power, through
25:41 the grace of God, not by our own might, we don't just say
25:44 "I'm going to focus in, I'm able to do this by myself",
25:47 it is only through the power, and grace, and might
25:50 of Jesus Christ that we can actually have a thought
25:54 locked onto its target and no matter what the Devil does,
25:58 - be unable to move it. - That's right.
26:00 And to you parents out there, to you husbands, and wives,
26:04 this is how we learn how to do the things that are difficult
26:07 to us; mothers, this is how we learn how to become good
26:10 mothers, and parent our children correctly, and be good wives,
26:14 and husbands. God, if we're focused on Him,
26:17 He will teach us how to do these things, things aren't difficult
26:20 anymore because we're so focused on our Trainer is
26:23 teaching us every step of the way, and He has an answer
26:26 to all of our problems, so then life is not such a big challenge
26:29 anymore, being able to overcome those things that we haven't
26:32 been able to overcome the past is now accessible to us,
26:35 and we start to win the war with Jesus on our side.
26:38 Yeah, the problem is that so many people say
26:41 "I'm loosing the battle, I don't know why"
26:43 and part of the reason is a lack of focus, not concentrating
26:49 on Christ. We might think about Him,
26:51 and we might think about Him often...
26:53 - ...And we claim Him - And we may claim Him
26:55 with our words, but when it gets down to really focusing,
26:59 and ultimately we're to be focusing on Christ throughout
27:01 the day, but how do we begin the process?
27:04 I believe the process starts even in the prayer time,
27:08 in the prayer time is where all these things start,
27:10 and they spill out into the daily activities.
27:14 We've got to learn how to be still in prayer time,
27:16 we've got to learn how to be silent in prayer time,
27:18 and then we've got to learn how to focus.
27:21 When the mind wanders, you go down to pray and you start
27:24 thinking about the bills, bring that thought back to Christ
27:27 and as you do this, now you're walking about in the day
27:29 and the Devil brings a temptation, you're able to bring
27:32 that thought back to Christ. Why? Because you've been
27:35 practicing it in your prayer time, practicing the art
27:37 - of warfare. - You know, you're not going
27:40 to want to miss the next program because as you can see
27:43 we're kind of building a sentence here:
27:45 Be still, be silent, focus. There's more to these arts,
27:48 and you're not going to want to miss the next one, so make
27:51 - sure that you tune in. - That's right, we will be
27:54 continuing our study on how to master yourself.
27:59 That's right. Well, we're all out of time
28:02 until next time, God bless.