Staying Focused

Chuck Swindoll wrote this story in the Dallas Seminary Alumni paper.

I have a friend whose daughter is into the whole ecological scene. Thankfully, she married a man of like passion, so it’s a good match.

Not long ago the two of them, along with their preschool son were driving, up the East Coast, not far from the Atlantic. They came upon a sign that intrigued them: “Naturist Camp: 3 Miles,” with an arrow pointing toward the ocean. Thinking they might meet up with some new friends who love the natural world, they turned. A couple of miles along the two-lane road, they looked into the distance and were shocked to see three people on bicycles, riding toward them…totally nude.

Realize their mistake, they were suddenly embarrassed that their son would see the oncoming bikers before they could get turned around. The dad slammed on the brakes, tried his best to do a quick U-turn as he and his wife worked hard to divert their son’s attention. Neither worked. The boy was staring intently while his dad was steering intensely.

Both parents were amazed when they heard their boy burst forth, “Look, Mom and Dad—none of them are wearing safety helmets!”

Now, that’s what I call staying focused.[1]

That little story highlights an important principle. “You tend to see what you have trained yourself to look for.” There’s another word for that. Its called “attitude.” Attitude is what you set your mind on.

Check out Romans 8.

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:5)

In life, “attitude” is how you choose to set your mind.

Have you ever wondered how two people can experience the same problem, but one grows bitter and angry and the other remains faithful and trusting?

For example: Thomas Hart Benton was a famous American painter. He died in 1975 three months shy of 86. A close friend went to comfort his widow. He said, “I can’t believe he’s gone.” She fired back bitterly, “He wasn’t supposed to die!”

Contrast that to Melody Green. Her husband Keith was one of the brightest stars in contemporary Christian music until a plane crash took his life. He was 28. Weeks later she wrote, “A great servant has gone to be with the Lord, let us press on.”

Attitude is what makes all the difference.

[1] Charles Swindoll, Dallas Connection, DTS, Autumn, 1998, p. 3

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