Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Concentration (07/24/08)
TITLE: Needing Help
By Amy Gutmann
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I have a son who loves to play basketball. I will watch him before a game. He sits quietly with his ipod on, eyes closed, hands moving in rhythmic shooting patterns. He is lost in thought, quietly going through the plays in his mind. He visualizes his shot. On the court, he is focused on the game, his coach, concentrating on the movement of the players and the arc of the ball as he shoots. This intensity of focus comes easily to him; it is a part of who he is.
For my other son this kind of focus is not so easy. He has ADD, and every act of concentration presents challenges for him. Sitting in class, he can try to concentrate but the sound of rustling papers or noise from another classroom or even his own thoughts can easily take him off course. Like his brother he knows the importance of concentration Focus in life can bring you success in school or on the court. But knowing the importance of concentration or desiring to have it doesn’t mean that an ADD child can master it. He can try, but his efforts will not get him there.
In our family we have chosen to give our son medication to help him concentrate. The medication does for him what he cannot do on his own. He is often surprised at how relying on his medication can help him to do better on his homework or on a test.
In my walk of faith I sometimes feel like the child who tries to concentrate. As my son wants to be able to focus, so I want to be able to choose to do what is right. With my whole heart I want to follow God. I want to do the things he wants me to do, to make the choices that honor him. But like my son I cannot do this on my own effort. In the heat of the moment I say the wrong thing, I make the wrong choice, I don’t do what I know is right. I need God to help me. Like a child with ADD needs help to concentrate I need the Lord to do for me what I cannot do on my own.
Paul spoke of this in the 7th chapter of Romans. He knew God’s law and loved it, but his sinful nature kept leading him off the path. Like children who struggle to concentrate we all struggle to be obedient to God. Holiness is not something we can do on our own; it is not a natural character trait. But thank God that in Jesus Christ we all have help to do so.
Romans 8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
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