Changing the focus of our attention and mind can be the key to an improved relationship with God, the building of our resilience and our whole outlook on our lives. Read this unpacking of Psalm 4 to see how.
Psalm 4.1 Answer me when i call to you my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer
This prayer has been muttered by myself as well as David and, I expect, many of you as well. It’s a prayer of desperation. When we are going through those difficult situations, troublesome circumstances or life feels as though you’ve been walking through that valley for a LONG time and your wondering if it will just ever end! It shows that whoever we are we will most likely experience these times at some-point in our lives, no one is exempt. It’s even says that “One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.” (WHO) Such a high number! But it shows that we are not alone. Though most of us feel as though we are. It’s at those times we need to remind ourselves that God IS there for us, despite how we feel.
David must have felt the distance between him and God as well, otherwise he wouldn’t have said “Answer me.” He seems desperate for God to hear him. I don’t blame Him! There’s been times where I thought He couldn’t hear me or even not listening to me or responding to my pleads of prayer and it just felt as though they were just simply hitting a brick wall!
Psalm 4.3 Know that the Lord has set apart His faithful servant for himself; the Lord hears when i call to him.
We need to remind ourselves that it wasn’t just David, we are also His faithful servants. No matter what I say, I wont be able to convince anyone one this, is it up to each of us to keep on going with our relationship with God and to read His word, in order to really know that He does hear you. I’ve heard somewhere that to whatever we ask of Him the answer will either be “yes”, “no” or “wait”. Its this waiting that can be a struggle. But we need to persevere and press on toward the goal (in our case, eternity with Him in heaven!)
But how though??
Psalm 4.4 Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.
We literally need to run from the enemy, temptations and desires of the flesh. Oh, and this may well not be easy! It’s like with addictions, in order to get rid of one thing it is easiest when something else is put in that place. For example, when people fast, meals and food is generally replaced with prayer, worship and mediation. So if we want to not sin, we can turn our attention onto God, putting Him first, and replace what we want to get rid of with prayer, worship and meditation. In doing this it “will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones” (Proverbs 3.8). Searching our hearts and being silent can mean accepting your thoughts, feelings and emotions as they come and by not clutching onto them or dismissing them as both of these can be poisonous for our souls. But by recognising them and where they came from, if possible, then offer them to God and listening to the Holy Spirit.
Psalm 4.5 Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the Lord.
So many times in the bible do we hear that phrase, “trust in the Lord.” I counted 37! By trusting Him we will need to surrender ourselves to Him and trust the plans He has for us, because He does have them, even if we don’t see it! For example, David. He experienced 13 years of misery and according to today’s psychology he would have been extremely likely to have suffered depression. But he had learnt to harness His emotions (Wommack, A) and with the help of the Holy Spirit inside him he chose to rejoice, the opposite to what his circumstances and emotions were telling him! Instead of walking in his flesh he chose to walk in the Spirit, he chose to control his emotions by changing his focus from all of the negative surrounding him. I’m not saying it’s easy, because it really isn’t! Emotions will be there, but we can choose how we respond to them, by changing our focus from the toxic ones to focusing on the goodness of God. And by doing this wherever we are in our lives; within that valley or darkness we can experience His peace and keep us safe.
Psalm 4.8 In peace i will lie down and sleep, for you alone Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Changing YOUR Focus
What does the road in that valley look like for you? How do you get to that point of healing from toxic emotions, situations and physical garbage? I talk about this in The Road to Healing.
If you would like to hear more on how you can change and keep your focus on God, build long lasting habits and improve your resilience then have a look at how Christian Based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help you.