“Jesus said unto him, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.”
I love taking pictures. Photography is an art to me.I am thrilled when I feel I have not only captured the moment, but have truly captured the subject’s personality in a picture. Likewise, how exciting when I feel I have been able to transfer to photo paper the beauty of a created treasure of nature from God’s hand.
Universally, there are some definite agreements on what makes a good picture. There is composition.Basically, this is the ability to get within the frame all that you want in and keep out all that you don’t want in. Tied to this principal is focus. This is the ability to make your focal point (the reason for the picture) stand out to anyone who views it. With Single Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras, you have the option of changing your depth of field, which is what is responsible for making your subject clear and everything else in front or behind it unclear.
I suggest to you that while focus is very important in photography, it is ever so much more important in life. God has been most gracious in giving us very clear and simple (to understand) commands. For example, I love the clarity of Micah 6:8, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Also, Colossians 3:22-23, “Servants, obey in all things your master according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: and whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”
Composition is important in photography, but, like focus, is ever so much more important in life. Keeping in your “frame of life” all that should be there and keeping out all that would serve to hinder or distract. In the Bible, “singleness of heart” is a very interesting phrase. Singleness means, “simplicity; sincerity; mental honesty”. It is the “virtue of one who is free from pretence and hypocrisy; not self-seeking; an openness of heart manifesting itself by generosity.” In singleness of heart we are to fear God. In fearing Him we will seek His will not our own. We will seek to obey His commandments in every area of our lives. We will live for Him not for ourselves. Our focus is on Him and our priorities in life (composition) are determined by His Word and His particular will for our life. (Does this sound too lofty? Dear Friend, you were made in a particular way for a particular reason. You can’t be good at everything, but there is something that God desires you to be fantastic at. And, it won’t be what someone else is good at. As players in a symphony, we have all been given a specific part to play that, when performed well, no matter how “small” the part, serves to make the beautiful music heard only when all are playing their part with singleness of heart.)“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
We are such inconstant creatures! I struggle to keep my focus off of me. When I ponder the reality of the magnificence of my God, I wonder at my infidelity towards Him “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who health all thy disease; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies.” (Psalm 103:3-4) Why throw any of ourselves on the altar of self-serving gods when we have such a One as this? What a waste of my time, of my energy…of my one brief life!
The first commandment puts things into clear focus: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” The first chapter of the Bible plainly tells us all we need to know about how everything got here and even starts with a simple statement that keeps our focus very clearly on God: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Jesus’ parting words and His Great Commission to us clearly outlines the one main job He has left us to do, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” He has even given us the tools needed to obey this command which we learn about by reading the one Book (not an extended collection) provided for us in our very own language.
Just as a small beam of light can be directed to burn through an object, so our focused life can be used by God to make a difference in the lives of those around us. To be effective, this beam of light must be focused.In the end, we can offer God a life lived without focus, tossed about by winds of distractions, or a life carved by grace, mercy and humility into a beautiful work of a life devoted to praising His blessed name in all we do and say. His love will be the tool, His patience will be the polish, His smile will be the motivation. With your priority in life as pleasing Him, your world will be transformed into a well-spring of opportunities to do good unto others, to touch those souls nearest you with the healing touch of Christ, and to carve out of every moment a sweet song of praise for the privilege of sacrificing this one life for Him.
“While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.” Psalm 146:2
I would like to make a reading recommendation to you that goes along with this topic: The Little Baptist, by J.M. Martin, written in 1848. In this little book you will see an example of a girl who was quite determined in her efforts to read the Bible for herself and to determine why it was that if all the local religious groups were reading the same Bible, why did they not all practice the same way.
This is a very easy and enjoyable read. I read it for the first time just two years after I had been saved. I underlined many portions because of the wonderful logic used and the plainness of speech that comes very naturally when one is discussing truth.
We sell this book in our bookstore, Book Heaven.It is very inexpensive…$3.00, I think. WELL worth it to have included in your personal library.
As seasons of life change, Elizabeth happily remains desperately dependent upon her God. Three of her four children have now branched off to begin their own families. She is a homeschooling veteran and a faithful wife for over 30 years.