When a person is truly disgusted with something, they have no desire to even be around it. They will do everything in their power to get rid of it. They don’t want to have anything to do with it.
When we live for Christ, we aren’t remotely interested in temptation. Jesus was in the wilderness, hungry because he had just fasted food for forty days (Matthew 4:1-11). And yet when presented with the opportunities by the devil to eat, prove his power, and have the kingdoms of this world right now, Jesus resisted at every turn.
How was he able to deny these temptations? He had holy disgust for the devil. We must also be disgusted with the ways of this world and its temptations. It’s not until we have this visceral response that we will have the power to turn to him in times of trial and temptation and see victory.
What’s My Focus?
Within the spiritual realm, we can have one of two focuses. Many Christians spend all of their time and energy focusing on keeping away from temptation and sin. Every bit of their strength is devoted to withstanding the devil and all of his demons.
I used to devote most of my energy to such battles. But I’m learning a different way. We can spend all of our time fighting these battles, or we can turn our attention to Jesus and focus on to glorify him.
Someone once asked me if I loved Jesus as much as I hated sin. I thought the two were mutually exclusive, but they are not. When we spend all of our energies on one side of holiness, we miss out on some of the greatest gifts of blessing God has for us.
There was a great storm as the disciples were traveling in the boat (Matthew 14:22-33). They saw a ghost coming for them. I don’t know about you, but if I’m in a boat, stuck in the middle of the water and I see a ghost coming, that’s more than enough for a horror flick.
But then the ghost said he was Jesus. We don’t know how eleven of the twelve reacted. But Peter said, “Jesus, if it’s you, tell me to come to you.” I don’t know I could make that statement. Peter had to know that people can’t walk on water.
In the moment he had faith to believe that if Jesus did it, and said he could do it, that he could walk on water. Peter was known for speaking before he thought. But Peter put his face into action.
Where are you on that spectrum? Jesus tells us to do many things in Scripture, but do we do them? Peter got out of the boat and amazingly walked on water toward Jesus. As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus he continued to walk on water.
But he started focusing on the winds and the waves, the storm around Jesus, that he lost his footing and faith. The next thing he knew he was drowning. Calling out to Jesus saved him.
Many of us start with our eyes on Jesus when we first become Christians. It’s when we think we have become mature in Christ and our focus starts to dwell on the storms of this life, when we begin to notice temptations of what we used to do that we have our problems.
We must focus on Jesus and never take our eyes off him. An old song says, “The world behind me, the cross before me.” What we focus on in this life, place our faith in, makes all the difference not just to our survival in the faith but thriving.
One of the biggest problems in the Christian faith is all the distractions around us. We run 100 miles a minute when we first get involved with Jesus. All we can think of this is his grace lavished upon us.
When we met him we were in a bad way. All of our sins were crushing us and there was no solution until Jesus came to us. Jesus died to set us free from our sins. We didn’t think about battling the flesh at that moment. Jesus had won the victory for us.
But then we got all this theology in our heads. We started learning from “more seasoned Christians” about how to maintain our passion for Jesus. There are many great things to learn from mature Christians, but I fear we are teaching the “youngsters” the wrong things.
We allow these scholastic discussions to hinder us from chasing after Christ. We start focusing on old temptations. We forget things like being dead to sing and alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:1-3), walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), and crucifying the flesh with its passions (Galatians 5:24).
The world distracts us. We start making excuses for our stunted growth in Christ, why we have gotten distracted. We come up with all kinds of reasons, most are red herrings, so we don’t have to deal with our spiritual deformations and deficiencies.
We spend all our time studying things that don’t matter in the Christian faith. Some people are so involved in esoteric discussions of theological things and philosophical approaches to the Christian life that they don’t know how to live it anymore.
Can’t we get bogged down in the mire of eschatology (study of the last things), angelology, and demonology. The Bible mentions angels, but doesn’t dwell on them. They are guards celestial servants to serve the saints (Hebrews 1:14).
We spend our time studying the devil, heightening his power in our minds. But the devil will end up in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10). He is a defeated foe. Why do we give him credit by talking about him more than Jesus?
Speaking of the end times, we know Jesus has our back. He is victorious. And he makes us victorious with him. The Bible gives us detailed ideas of how events will happen in the end times. But why do we spend our time trying to get everything right?
Paul told us knowledge puffs up but love builds up (1 Corinthians 8:1). Knowledge is only good if it fuels our relationship with Jesus, growth in him, and practice of our faith. But other spiritual knowledge is wasted on us if we tread water or sink like Peter. We must cry out to Jesus.
The Right Priorities
Our priorities drive our relationship with Jesus. If we prioritize our relationship with him instead of sin, temptation, demonology, making Satan greater than God, and the things we make more important than him, we will grow in Christ.
But we spend far too much time on these things that don’t matter. We give the devil too much credit. We talk about angels too much. We argue over end times possibilities. And we bicker over how much closer we are to Jesus than others.
God didn’t call us to compare ourselves to one another. He called us to put his kingdom first (Matthew 6:33). Jesus is our First Love (Revelation 2:4). We must concentrate on righteousness and goodness instead of looking for evil spirits and witchcraft around every corner.
We must focus on glorifying Jesus. We must desire him more than anything else in our lives. Where we place our priorities is where we will see the most fruit. So let us look to Jesus and not look at anything else.
How do you know where your priorities lie? Take note of and record how you spend most of your time, money, energy, and effort. This tells you your priorities. Don’t let the world distract you. Are you fighting temptation and the flesh more than you are growing in Christ?
We must focus our eyes on Jesus and get them off of the world, it’s temptations, and the sinful desires we threw away when we met Jesus. Our focus, priorities, and the lack of distractions drive our relationship with Jesus.
We must be disgusted with anything that keeps us from running hard after him. Let’s get disgusted with temptation and its attempts to get us away from Jesus, the storms of life that take our eyes off of Jesus, and the desires of our flesh we already put to death. Leave a comment and talk about how you keep your eyes on Jesus.