If we were to list all the sins of the world, we would be here a while. Perhaps we could start with the the actions forbidden by the Ten Commandments: stealing, murder, idolatry, coveting, lying, etc. Maybe we could even throw in some modern sins like driving under the influence, cyber bullying, personal identity theft, and telemarketing calls during dinner time.
But have you ever stopped to consider the meaning of the word “sin”?
The Definition of Sin
We might think that sin is any activity that harms another person or offends God. Or perhaps it’s the breaking of a specific biblical law. I imagine most Christians would probably agree with these definitions.
Fortunately, we don’t have to guess. We can actually look up the word “sin” in the original Hebrew and Greek.* In both languages, the word means “to miss” or “to miss the mark.” This gives us the image of an archery target in which the center mark is the bull’s eye.
And that begs another question: what does the bull’s eye represent?
The Bull’s Eye
Throughout the Bible, we’re told to focus on God and serve Him only. (See Deuteronomy 10:12-13.) Just as the archer must focus on the bull’s eye in order to hit the mark, so we should focus on God and His will for us.
Archery is a sport, and the key to most sports (so I hear) is to “keep your eyes on the ball.” That’s because our hands follow our eyes. For this reason, an archer must focus on the bull’s eye in order to hit the mark.
As spiritual archers, if we’re distracted by something to the right or left, our arrows will naturally follow in that direction. But when we’re focused correctly, our arrows can hit the center mark. In other words, if we can focus on God, His Word, and His will for us, we can avoid sin and live in righteousness. (See Psalms 23:3 and 119:11.)
The Enemy’s Tactic
Many of us think that if we’re not purposefully following the Enemy, then we’re following God by default. But it doesn’t work that way, and the Enemy knows it. In fact, the Enemy’s goal isn’t for us to worship him but for us to stop worshiping God. And to do that, he just needs to get us off focus.
Maybe he can get us to succumb to the allure of money, power, and social status. If not, then perhaps we’ll zealously follow social issues while ignoring the needs of people all around us. Or maybe we’ll bend the knee to the idols of religion and family.
The Enemy doesn’t care what we focus on as long as it’s not God. And he’ll do whatever he can to make that happen.
Techniques to Focus
Are you aiming for anything less than God and His perfect will for you? Are you distracted by the things of this world? Here are some techniques to help you focus on the bull’s eye:
1. Pray—Ask God to help you identify the distractions in your life and to give you the courage and strength to put them in proper perspective. Make this your prayer throughout the day to help center you.
2. Read—Pick up your Bible at least once a day. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in selecting a book of the Bible and then read it all the way through. Meditate on the meaning of the Word and ask God to show you how to apply it to your life.
3. Simplify—For most of us, distraction comes by way of media, whether it’s bitter news, raucous sitcoms, or lustful movies. If you set these aside for a few days, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to focus on the voice of God. (You may not even want to turn them back on!)
What do you do to stay focused on God and His will?
* Concordances are like dictionaries for Bible words. We can search for the word in the English translation to uncover the original Hebrew or Greek word and what it means. Here’s a link to The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance I use, which works well with my New American Standard Bible.
This content comes from my manuscript for Girls with Gusto. Visit the new Girls with Gusto page for more information on the book.