I greatly rejoice in the LORD, I exult in my God;
for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation
and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom wears a turban and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its growth,
and as a garden enables what is sown to spring up,
so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Isaiah 61:10-11 (HCSB)
Isaiah 61 is an often quoted Scripture, especially the first three verses. Jesus quoted part of them in Luke 4 as He proclaimed who He was and what He had come to do.
I join Isaiah here in verses 10-11 in worship for who God is and what He continues to do. This is where God has had me all week â€“ focusing on Him. I acknowledge that there is evil and he resides in this world. As the days pass it may seem that evil is becoming more powerful and winning more battles. And he wants me to see and think that. The more the enemy can keep me focused on him, the bigger he seems.
As I read through the gospels and note where Jesus’ focus is, I can learn from His example. Jesus regularly spent time alone in prayer. He shows me the importance that no matter how long I have known the Father there is always more to learn. It is a relationship I should never take for granted but instead rejoice in it and nurture it.
Jesus spoke to other people about the Father and His Kingdom. He didn’t talk about the Roman government and what they were doing. He didn’t sit around discussing the politics of the day or try to influence the officials. Jesus was about people changing how they lived their lives. He set an example for me whether I live in the United States, Iran, or China. My relationship with Him cannot be destroyed by a government. No government can stop me from talking to God or loving Him.
When Jesus was confronted by the enemy, He didn’t waste His breath or give the enemy any power. He told the demons to be silent. He told them to leave. He didn’t hold conversations with them. He didn’t â€œstudyâ€ them. Jesus gave them no â€œcredâ€. He wanted people to keep their focus on the One who was truth and would speak only the truth.
Each day, even many times each day, I have a choice on who and what I will put my attention. Joshua told his audience to â€œchoose you this day who you will serveâ€. He made it clear that they had only two choices: God or false gods, meaning Satan. And then Joshua proclaimed that â€œas for me and my house we are going to serve the LORDâ€ (Joshua 24:15). That’s it. Joshua made a choice.
This week has been no different than any other. Work, bills, people that I love with sickness or difficult situations, the chaos and conflicts of the world continue. And yet this week has been different because my focus has been on the LORD. I have spent more time recognizing and choosing the LORD this week. I suspect my blood pressure has been lower, certainly my spirit is in better shape at the end of the week than it usually is.
Satan exists. He roams this world looking to â€œpick offâ€, harass, and generally do whatever he can to make us pay attention to him and his work. Will I give him any attention? Or will I live my life following Jesus; bringing His Light into the darkness so that others may reach for the Truth and live free? That is how righteousness and praise will spring up throughout all the nations.