Focus as a Recipe for Joy.
Prayer: Lord, I know that my focus wanders so much and gets stuck in present struggles, especially the worries, emotional turmoil and concerns of today. Help me fix my hope and thoughts on You, and learn more and more of the deep lasting joy found only in You. Let this joy invade every part of my life, in my relationships, in rough and good times, in my thoughts, when I am tempted. In Jesus’ Name.
Recap week 1: God delights in me: He celebrates when I turn to him, and seek Him
Recap week 2: There is possible purpose and hope in suffering as I turn to God and recognize that He is in control and bringing glory to Christ is the goal and prize.
Recap week 3: God longs to delight in me especially as I turn to Him and recognize that He has paid all the price for my rebellion in Christ Jesus. A new path linked with a deep joy is now possible!
Recap week 4: God is constant and knows me intimately.
Recap week 5: God has a purpose in suffering and gives a way for you have joy in spite of your struggles.
Recap week 6: Godly joy is linked with aligning with God’s Word, understanding the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Recap week 7: In Christ there can be great joy in relationships. Learning to take eyes off self.
Bible: Colossians 3: 1-17
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.Bear with each other and
forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Ponder: This passage is full of joy; firstly a deep hope of knowing where Christ is, and you are hidden in Him. He gives great hope for the future and also hope for now. This is the best focus as you go about your day. There is also great joy here in community as we learn to worship God together, read His Word, practically applying it in each other’s lives and giving thanks. There is encouragement here to lay aside sinful practices (addictive behaviours included). If you are in Christ, having believed in Him, He gives you the strength and encouragement to live a godly life. This leads to much freedom and joy.
Action: Read the Bible passage each day, create a personal prayer and then sit quietly for 5 minutes, thanking and worshipping the creator using Scripture as your guide, focussing entirely on Him. Set a timer.
Remember: It has taken years to build up the addictive habits and thoughts you have engaged in. It takes time to create the new habits needed for change. This study seeks to make a positive impact on your addictive struggles as you focus your thoughts on Christ. He is the source of godly joy, of lasting change.
End of Day: Thank God each day for changes you see in your attitude, in your struggle with temptation, asking for His continued help to focus on Him in every area of your life. Read the daily passage again, going to sleep with Scripture on your mind.
Journaling: Take time this week to share your thoughts and prayers as you come to the end of this 8-week study. Write down the impact, if any, on your addictive/sinful habits. Share this with a trusted friend/leader/counselor.