Discouragement crept into my heart and soul. The thought of her betrayal and the fact that she would evade consequences of her sin infuriated me. I was consumed with anger and frustration. It wasn’t fair! I did all of the right things…and still…it was no use. Nothing had changed. Her sin still ruled and I still endured the results of it. I needed to make some changes. I had to learn How To Stay Focused On Jesus even when it felt like evil triumphed.
In Psalm 37, David starts off with the instruction of not fretting about evildoers because their days are limited. I learned that this word ‘fret’ means to burn with anger. Oh, I was familiar with that feeling!
How many times have you fretted over evil?
He then goes into how we can remain focused on the Lord instead of watching the wicked seemingly prevail.
Our first tip from David is to trust in the Lord. This trust doesn’t happen overnight. It is something that is built through our spiritual journey. Trust is a continuous practice. We don’t trust once and that’s it. I have found, especially during difficult circumstances, that I have to choose to trust Him several times a day.
For example, my husband is making a long drive home tonight – an 8-hour drive. He’ll be traveling through mountain roads that are notorious for accidents. And I worry about him. I was anxious and apprehensive the entire week before he went on his business trip. Since then, I’ve had to pray and choose to trust God with my husband many, many times during the day.
Trusting God isn’t always easy…but when we decide to trust Him, we are focusing on our Savior.
It is good to do good! When we do good for others, it forces us to stop thinking about the evil in the world. Fruitless thoughts are obstructed while we do good. The kingdom of God moves forward when His soldiers are full of His goodness. What good things can you do?
Write a note of encouragement to someone.
Pray with a friend.
Donate food to the food bank – bring the kids.
Pay for someone’s coffee.
Leave a good tip at the restaurant.
Offer plenty of grace.
Let someone go ahead of you in the check-out line.
The list goes on…
Find ways for you to do good.
Feed on His faithfulness. this is one reason journaling is wonderful. Writing down answered prayers makes it so easy for us to focus on His faithfulness. I love thinking about all of the times He has brought me through difficulties. Recalling His healing work in my life always brings me to tears and complete awe of Him. Reflecting on His faithfulness to us ‘feeds’ our soul and keeps us focused on Him and not our circumstances.
To delight in the Lord means to “be happy about, take exquisite delight”. It also means to be soft and pliable. Hmmm…to permit God to mold and shape me is to delight in Him. When we allow Him to do His work in our hearts, we are delighting in Him. I find this so interesting! If this is the case, then the next portion of this verse makes much more sense. He will give us the desires of our hearts. When we are being modeled and formed by Him, then, naturally, the desires of His heart will become our desires. We will want what He wants.
Keeping our hearts soft towards our God will help us to remain focused on Him. When our hearts grow hard, we distance ourselves from Him.
Commit your way to Him. Make the choice to follow Him wholeheartedly. No more part-time Christian. Allow Jesus to be the Lord of your life and take that covenant with Him seriously. Give your life over to Him and live for Him. It is difficult to fret over evildoers when we are focused on living for Him.
Rest in the Lord. When was the last time you rested in the arms of your Savior? When we rest in Him, we know He is in full control of every single situation all over the world. And we can be at peace. His peace. We rest through reading His promises in scripture. Rest comes when we pray. Listening and singing worship music brings rest to the soul. What brings you into His rest?
Wait patiently for the Lord. Oh, this one is HARD! We lived in a fast-paced world. We want food – go to the drive through or use the microwave. Need information – Google. Need to get in touch with someone – text, message, call or email – who doesn’t have their phone with them 24/7 today? No wonder waiting is so hard for us! But we are instructed to wait for Him. Our flesh fights to try and resolve the problem now, in our own strength and power. But God says to wait for Him to act on our behalf.
Waiting for Him has proven to be the best option every single time I have chosen to wait patiently for Him…and those times I went ahead on my own? Well, those times ended up being even more difficult than they would have been if I had been patient and waited for my God to do His amazing work in my life.
Our focus will remain on the evildoers easier if we choose to participate in sin ourselves. If we are going to take pleasure in our sin and make excuses and justify it, then, of course, our focus is going to off of God. I remember when I struggled with forgiving a family member a few years back. I would delight in thoughts of confronting him and giving him a piece of my mind…as well as a piece of my fist. Nice, hey? Aren’t those wonderful thoughts for a royal princess? Seriously. Thankfully, we serve a gracious and patient King.
Thankfully, we serve a gracious and patient King. And He spoke gently, but firmly to my heart and told me that forgiving this person wasn’t for him – it wasn’t so we could be reconciled (nope…that’s not gonna happen!). My forgiveness of him had everything to do with my relationship with Him, my King. Unforgiveness is sin and sin hinders my relationship with my Heavenly Father. He hates sin and here I was holding on to it…with pleasure. I had to choose to depart from my evil so that I could refocus on Him.
Watch what the righteous are doing and do that. If I want advice from someone, I’m going to make sure it is someone who is living the kind of life I am pursuing. If you want financial advice, would you go to your broke uncle? Or would you read some books by authors like Dave Ramsay? Parenting advice is everywhere. But who do you know who to listen to? The mom with the bratty children who are disrespectful and defiant? Or the mom whose kids are following the Lord and love Him? How about marriage advice? Will the woman who has been divorced 5 times and presently living with some guy give you Biblical wisdom? Or the Godly wife who has been joyfully married for 50 years?
There is plenty of advice out there in the world today. Whether or not it is good, Godly advice is another thing entirely. If you want to remain focused on the Lord, observe the righteous, the blameless man. Watch what he (or she) does and learn from them.
I bet that these are the people who have already learned to not fret over evil but to remain steadfastly focused on the Lord.
What area do you need to be more purposeful in? Where are you doing well? Are you growing in trust? Are you feeding in His faithfulness?
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