Ain’t that the truth, Bubba. You don’t have to turn your head very far to either see or hear “trouble,” and it is hard not to zero in on it, think about it, stew about it, argue about it, and want to fix it.
But that is not our primary task. God’s will will always be done, even when it looks like the world is spinning out of control. His will can not be thwarted (Job 42:2). John 16:33, which guarantees us trouble, also promises hope when Jesus says, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” [emphasis mine] And He tells us this so that we “may have peace.”
In photography, in order to frame a picture, you must first select a focal point around which the rest of the picture has context. It doesn’t mean that the rest of the picture disappears or isn’t important, it just means that this particular point is the most important part of the picture. Likewise, as Christians we live in this world, but we are not of the world (John 17:16), and so while we may be asked to do our civic duty and participate in our community, our focal point is not on anything in this world. Paul reminds Timothy of this singular focus: “No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer” (II Timothy 2:4). We are soldiers for Christ.
At a recent women’s conference one of the panelists reminded us on where our focus should be by quoting Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
The Jews were different from the neighboring nations by their dietary laws and devotion to God’s laws. What makes a Christian different? Do we look and sound like everyone else, pointing and talking about the concerns or the world? Or is our speech, our concerns, our focus on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy? Is our focus on Jesus?