Summary: God wants to us focus. But on what? And what distracts us?
Psalm 119:148 "My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises."
Well, it's official. The number one cause of car accidents among all drivers, especially drivers under the age of 20, is… do you know? What is the number one cause of car accidents, and actually death, for teenagers? The number one cause of death by driving for teenagers is "Lack of focus." I thought that was interesting, since Lakeside's school year theme last year and this year is "FOCUS." That school year theme of focus is talking about having a spiritual focus, and isn't talking about driving, but there are a lot of comparisons you can make between the two.
Now wait a second, you might think. That's not the number one cause of car accidents and death, you might say. I read stuff. I know what people are saying. The number one cause of car accidents and death isn't lack of focus, it's texting while driving, you might say. Same thing, really. And you are right about texting - if you are typing on your phone while you are driving, or if you are reading your phone while you are driving - your chance of getting into a car accident goes through the roof. 50% of teenage drivers admit to doing this - are you one of them? I have to admit, when I'm driving and I hear my phone make that signal that I have a new message, I am tempted to look at it while I’m driving - I have to fight off that desire, to see what that message is.
Texting and driving is the same thing as lack of focus. If you are not focusing on what's in front of you, you have a high likelihood of getting into a car accident.
Now why am I talking about this today? I'm not interested in giving you a driver's ed lesson. I am interested in comparing this to your life as a Christian high school student. Our school year theme tells us that God wants us to live our lives as 14 year olds or 17 year olds or whatever age we are, with our minds focused on the right thing. "Seek first God's kingdom, and God's righteousness" - in other words, keep your eyes on God's Word, God's love, the work of Jesus Christ - all those things from the Bible - keep your eyes on those things as you drive through the school year this year.
This week, we are especially going to look at a passage that sums up our first quarter emphasis. What am I supposed to focus on? Focus on the promises of God. Look at this passage once again: "My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises" (Psalm 119:148). The writer of the Psalms says that he is staying up late into the night - maybe pulling an "all-nighter" - why? Because he is thinking about all the promises of God. Have you ever done that before - stayed up all night because you were thinking about the promises of God?
People stay up all night for all kinds of reasons. Just thinking about what I've heard students talk about, maybe it would go like this: "My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on facebook… My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on video games. My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on my girlfriend or boyfriend… My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on studying for a test the next day…." Have you ever stayed up all night?
Jesus did this, during the time that he was walking around the earth. The Bible says that "Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed" (Luke 5:16). Another passage said that Jesus spent the night praying to God" (Luke 6:12). Very likely part of his time alone was to ponder his Heavenly Father's promises and pray to his Father about those promises. When do you do that - to just sit and think about the promises God has made to you, and to talk to God about those promises? For example, you say, "God, you have promised to answer all of my prayers. You have promised to bless my life. But I've been praying for the same thing over and over again and I haven't gotten what I asked for. Why God? What is your plan for me?" Have you ever focused that way, on the promises of God? "My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises."