focus, daniel-san…always look eye

I grew up in the 80’s. Who remembers it? The time of big hair, Swatch watches, Valley Girl, neon colors…..and the original Karate Kid. Daniel Larusso, Mr. Miyagi, waxing the cars and painting the fence. And focus. “Look eye. Always look eye!” Mr. Miyagi would say that over and over to Daniel. “Focus Daniel-san.” “Always look eye.”

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

I grew up in the 80’s. Who remembers it? The time of big hair, Swatch watches, Valley Girl, neon colors…..and the original Karate Kid. Daniel Larusso, Mr. Miyagi, waxing the cars and painting the fence. And focus. “Look eye. Always look eye!” Mr. Miyagi would say that over and over to Daniel. “Focus Daniel-san.” “Always look eye.”

karate kid

One of the biggest contentment stealers I know is losing focus. There was a reason Mr. Miyagi didn’t want Daniel-san to lose eye contact. If he looked away, he would get distracted. He might not see an attack coming. He might focus on how much bigger or better his opponent was than him and give up. He might get distracted by revenge or winning instead of that inner balance he was looking for. Mr. Miyagi knew there was more to life than winning. He tried to teach Daniel the key to balance….the key to contentment.

I like how the amplified says this….”Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus.” Look away and look to. I don’t know about you, but there are a LOT of distractions all around me all the time trying to tell me what will satisfy:

  • The commercials are telling us what they think is important – “You NEED this new TV like your neighbor has. It will satisfy you and bring you great joy.”
  • The boss is telling us what they think is important – “You don’t need to be home for dinner….you need to work harder and longer to get that promotion! That is where true satisfaction lies….in getting ahead!”
  • Our flesh is telling us what it thinks is important – “God’s Word? Meh…..follow me and you’ll have fun. You aren’t having any fun! Fun will totally satisfy!”

…….and somewhere in ALL THAT CACOPHONY ALL AROUND OUR MINDS, God is trying to whisper to us what He thinks is important. There is a fight over our minds and hearts and affections. But there is only one thing that will satisfy. Focus Daniel-san.

That phrase “looking unto Jesus” is the same as can be found in Numbers 21 when the children of Israel were being bitten by poisonous snakes and God told Moses to make the brass serpent and whoever would “look” at the serpent would live.

That word look means not just a casual fleeting glance, but a steady and absorbing gaze; to look attentively and expectantly. It is a God-honored, God-answered, fixed and absorbing gaze. And we are to LOOK UNTO JESUS.

Those snakes were all around them, but they had to look at the brass serpent. Mamas couldn’t glance down to make sure their kids were looking….they couldn’t look down to see if the snakes were crawling away. They were likely slithering right at their feet and up their legs and all around them, and they had to look steadily ONLY AT THE BRASS SERPENT. Talk about distractions.

If you are finding yourself to always be discontent, it might be a good thing to look at what you are looking at. What are you focusing on? If it is things or people or position that you are looking at to fulfill you….it is just a small adjustment to get back on track – to Look Unto Jesus and let Him satisfy you again. When He is the focus and everything else is just fluff…….you will be amazed at how content you are. Once you have tasted of His goodness and His presence and satisfaction, you’ll be hooked…..and there really is no better way to live.

O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts and takes refuge in Him. (Psalm 34:8)

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