Focus; April 8, 2022

Proverbs 23:17-18 Do not let your heart envy sinners,
but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.
There is surely a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.

Once again there is a major difference between the English and the Japanese here. Where the NIV says, “There is surely a future hope for you,” the Japanese says, “Certainly there is an end.” That might seem almost nihilistic, but the last part does agree with the English, saying, “Your hope will not be cut off.” That reminds me of the famous bit of life advice, “This too will pass.” Nothing is forever on this earth. That’s why we need to have our hope anchored in eternity with Christ. Distractions abound, whether they are the envy mentioned in verse 17 or something else, so we have to make a conscious effort to stay focused. When we’re in the middle of something temporal, whether it seems good or bad, it can be hard to keep our heart centered on God. That’s why Jesus spoke directly to the matter of our physical needs. They can certainly demand our attention, and it’s often in relation to them that we envy those who seem to “have it better” than we do. However, Jesus very famously said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) As the Japanese says here, everything has an end, but when our hope is in our eternal Creator, that hope will not be cut off.

I have been extremely wrapped up in temporal things for the past week, specifically computer issues, but those things are very much improving, though some details remain. I have had multiple moments of panic, essentially, but I have been greatly helped by an affirmation from the song, Still, that is based on Psalm 46:10: “I will be still, and know that You are God.” I realize that the devil is constantly trying to blind us to our future hope, and he does that to steal, kill, and destroy all that he can. (John 10:10) I am to submit to God and resist the devil, (James 4:7) most especially in my own mind and heart. If I will do that, then I can indeed rest, relax, and rejoice as God has told me to do, staying available to Him for however He wants to use me for His pleasure and glory.

Father, thank You for this reminder. The computer-related stress has indeed been intense at times. Thank You for growing me in faith and trust. I do ask for wisdom and presence of mind to clear up the remaining computer issues, but I ask most especially that You enable me to stay focused on You, whatever is happening or not happening, so that I won’t open my heart and mind to the enemy. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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