“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 (NLT)
When you read this verse, does it encourage you or make you a little nervous? You may read this and be like, “Oh wow. That’s encouraging. Thanks, Jesus, for telling me that I’m going to have many trials on earth. Just what I wanted to hear!” OR you may read this verse and think, “Hallelujah! Jesus has overcome the world! I don’t need to worry no matter what is going on in life. Preach it, Jesus!” Which one are you leaning towards currently?
What we magnify, we empower.
I want to encourage each of us today that it’s all about where we choose to place our focus. Whatever we focus on (magnify) we empower. Let me give you a personal example:
I struggled with fear for the majority of my life. I would sometimes hear a sound or wonder if I remembered to lock the door. I would focus on those things and let my mind wander until my thoughts were consumed with fear. I “dealt” with it by checking the door or by praying, “God, remove this fear,” or by quoting scriptures while still thinking about the fear (great idea, huh?). Here’s the problem: I wasn’t conquering fear, I was feeding it. My focus was still on fear, hoping it would leave, rather than changing my focus. I magnified fear in those moments, therefore giving fear a stronger grip in my life.
Then there were other times that a fearful thought would come up, but rather than giving in, I would focus on something else or I would begin worshipping Jesus. I would think about some of His great attributes and thank Him for who He is. Before I knew it, fear was gone as I had magnified Jesus and therefore given Jesus a stronger grip in my life. I changed my focus.
“Well that’s all fine and dandy, Hannah, but how do I change my focus?” I am so glad you asked! I like to ask that as I’ll read/hear something encouraging, but it leaves you hanging and doesn’t tell you how to apply it! Here are some ideas:
- Fix your eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) – When ungodly thoughts pop in your head, begin magnifying Jesus. Close your eyes, picture Him, look into His eyes filled with love, tell Him you love Him, thank Him for loving you, thank Him for always being with you, etc. Give it a try!
- Let His peace guard your heart and mind (Philippians 4:7) – Whenever something happens that would normally cause worry, fear, frustration, or whatever it may be, PAUSE before you freak out and thank the Holy Spirit for His peace. As a child of God, all of His fruit (love, joy, peace, etc.) now lives in you and you can walk in that, which is way more enjoyable than freaking out.
- Remember His faithfulness (Deuteronomy 8:11-18) – The Israelites were told to remember how God had taken care of them in the past. As we reflect on God’s faithfulness in our lives it give us hope knowing that whatever the situation is, He will continue to be faithful. He has never failed and never will.
Now, let’s read that scripture again: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
We have the choice to either focus on (magnify) the trials/sorrows that may come as a result of living in a fallen world, or we can choose to focus on (magnify) Jesus, the one Who has overcome sin and reigns forever!
Where’s your focus?