One of the greatest natural gifts God gave to man was the ability to concentrate. The ability to keep the gaze of the inner eye focused on that which the heart is desirous of. The power of concentration is used in order that we may stay focused on our goals and succeed in reaching them, whether that goal be in the field of science, or sports, or spiritual development. Our power of concentration and ability to stay focused is either strong or weak based on whether we exercise this power or not.
As far as the Christian is concerned, the power of concentration is that God-given ability to focus on Christ Who has the power by His Spirit to mold us into the image He reveals of Himself. And this image of Jesus Christ is revealed as we meditate on God’s Word.
In a portion of Scripture where Peter exhorts the Believer to be holy, he first exhorts them to “gird up the loins of their mind” (1 Peter 1:13 KJV). This simply means to get rid of loose, frivolous, vain, and wandering thoughts that distract us in order that we may focus on the Christian race.
Our power of concentration can be compared to pearl divers and the length of time they can hold their breath under water. The length of time they can hold their breath determines the amount of time they are able to gather pearls and be enriched thereby. Likewise, the time that a Christian can meditate on Scripture and concentrate by holding their thoughts will determine whether they will get beyond the elementary or milk of the Word and beyond the obvious and get to its deeper meaning (Joshua 1:8; Psalms 1:2).
A school teacher, regardless of how good a teacher they are, cannot teach that student that will not give them their attention, that will not concentrate on the subject they’re teaching.
The Holy Spirit is the Christian’s teacher, and the greatest Teacher there is, but He cannot teach any Christian that cannot concentrate; cannot pay attention to Him as He’s teaching. We cannot learn if we cannot concentrate.
Satan knows this, so if he can keep us from concentrating on Christ he can keep us from learning and growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ and being transformed into His likeness. If he can keep our power of concentration weak, to where we have an attention deficit and a short attention span, we will remain weak spiritually and shallow in our faith. And he has so many interesting distractions (TV for one) that he keeps before us to keep us from strengthening our power of concentration.
Concentration is our responsibility, not God’s. We must remove those distractions that keep us from gathering our thoughts and centering them on those things that will matter for all eternity. And we will remove them if we really want to know God.
Our power of concentration determines our power of consecration. Our consecration to Christ will only lasts as long as our concentration on Him.
James H. Cagle lives in Ray City, Ga., and is a former Hamilton County resident.