“My eyes are continually toward the Lord.”- Psalm 25:15
I want to introduce you to four women who have lost their focus and taken their eyes off the Lord. I was first “introduced” to these ladies by Mary Graham when I was on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ.
Polly has a lot of strengths and is incredibly gifted, but Polly has taken her focus off the Lord and placed her eyes on herself, her gifts, and her strengths. She has come to believe that life is all about her and she wants to build a little kingdom around herself. Polly thrives on recognition from others. She wants to use her gifts, but for the wrong reasons – she wants to draw attention to herself, not the Lord. Polly no longer has a teachable spirit.
A lesson we can learn from Polly’s life: If I look at the gift apart from the Giver, I’ll get proud. Polly struggles with pride.
Focus on the Giver, not the gift.
Dora is focused on her sin, past and present. She doesn’t believe that God could ever use her or that anyone could ever love her in light of her sinfulness. She can’t seem to accept that she’s forgiven and so she lives with a heavy burden of guilt. She is afraid to let anyone know the real Dora because, if they did, they would never accept her. She doesn’t accept herself.
A lesson we can learn from Dora’s life: If I look at the sin apart from the Savior, I’ll get depressed and discouraged. Dora struggles with discouragement. God doesn’t show us sin to discourage us. He shows us sin so we will deal with it, confess it, and move on.
Focus on the Savior, not the sin.
Cathy is the model Christian – outwardly. She is busy serving the Lord in every way possible. But Cathy believes her spiritual growth and significance are directly related to how busy she is for the Lord and how much she is doing for Him. The more she can check off her to-do list, the more spiritual she feels. Cathy has lost sight of the fact that the Christian life is a relationship, not a list of to-do’s that she needs to check off to please the Lord. She is so busy doing for Him that she has lost the sweetness of just being with Him and getting to know Him better.
A lesson we can learn from Cathy’s life: If I look at the race apart from the relationship, I’ll become legalistic. Cathy struggles with being busy for the wrong reasons. The Christian life is a relationship, not a ritual of checking things off our to-do list.
Focus on the relationship, not the race.
Nellie has a critical spirit about everything. She has taken her focus off the Lord and always looks for the negatives. One of her favorite sayings is, “That’ll never work,” and she loves to point out all the reasons why it’s not a good idea. She doesn’t like change; she doesn’t like anything new. However, she doesn’t consider herself as being negative or critical –she’s just helping the church avoid mistakes by pointing out these flaws.
A lesson we can learn from Nellie’s life: If I look at the problem apart from the Provider, I’ll become negative and critical. Instead of criticizing something we don’t like and seeing it as a problem, we need to trust God’s sovereign hand and omnipotence. We need to stop being afraid of taking risks and stepping out in faith.
Focus on the Provider, not the problems.
All four of these women have taken their eyes off the Lord. I don’t want to be a Polly Pious, focused on my gifts and blinded by pride. Or a Despairing Dora, so focused on my sin that I am paralyzed by it. I don’t want to be a Cathy Christian, so busy for the Lord and checking off my to-do list for Him that I lose the sweetness of the relationship. Or a Negative Nellie who is always negative and focuses on problems instead of positives.
How do we avoid becoming these women? Psalm 25:15 – “My eyes are continually toward the Lord.”