It was just an average day for Cathy Cruz Morrero. She was simply walking through the Berkshire mall, just minding her own business. It all started with one little text message. She did what she has probably done many other times before. She pulled out her phone and kept on walking as she tapped out a reply. Cathy was intensely focused on this text message as she strolled through the mall. Then it happened. She took one step too many. Cathy’s last step sent her plunging face first into the mall’s fountain. Check it out:
To be honest, this probably could have been any one of us. According to the Nielsen Company, 95 percent of American adults have cell phones. Surely the vast majority of adults text as well. You might even have a “texting and walking” mishap yourself. It is easy to get focused on something, like a text message, and lose all sense of our surroundings. Obviously there were some aspects for Cathy that day which deserved a wee bit more attention, like the huge mall fountain for example. Joking aside, this entire incident can be boiled down to one point, the wrong focus. Cathy was so focused on her text message that she had no idea what was around her.
In Philippians 4, Paul was addressing two women with the wrong focus. He is urging these two women to get along with each other, and for several others to help out in this. One specific way he tells them to accomplish this is by “dwelling,” or focusing, on the following aspects: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9). These women had the wrong focus. They were dwelling on the wrong things. The solution was to shift their focus.
Where is our focus today? What do we dwell on? Many times our focus is exposed through our speech. Do we talk all about ourselves? Do we “dwell” on work? Is our focus on sports? Is our focus on something else like money, TV, video games, or music? It is too easy to get focused on the worldly and trivial parts of this life. The problem is, an improper spiritual focus leads to a most serious plunge into sin.
Luckily for Cathy, the only thing injured during her plunge was her pride. It was so hurt, in fact, that she decided to take legal action against the people who put the video on the web. She even appeared on “Good Morning America” to discuss her feelings. It’s interesting what people will do to deflect the mistakes they make.
Using the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:12, we need to “take heed so that we do not fall.” Or in other words, “Look out!” Cathy took a dip in the fountain because of an improper focus. It would be nice if a spiritual fall led us to a cool, wet, and relatively soft fountain. The problem is, spiritual falls are the single most dangerous aspects of the life. They can lead to the place of darkness, fire, and “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12; 13:42). Unlike Cathy, we can’t take legal action against God for our own mistakes of improper focus. So, where is our focus? Let’s make sure we are “dwelling” on the parts of life that are pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8-9).
…Oh, and make sure you watch where you’re going when you are texting as well.