Annually I try to get tickets for my family to attend some type of Christmas concert. It’s a tradition that has developed gradually, but one that I really enjoy sharing with my husband and son. In years past, we’ve gone to church sponsored “Singing Christmas Tree” concerts, local hospital sponsored Chris Tomlin concerts, and have even counted the Eclectic Christmas Ministry’s singing angels as our annual concert.
This year’s concert occurred last night when the Shade and Petersen Clans carried ourselves to Opelika, Alabama. It was one that I anticipated for weeks; simply because it was one of my all-time-favorite Contemporary Christian Musician: Matthew West.
Many of you recall that I have a fond spot in my heart for Matthew West because he prayed with Erin over my brother’s stage 4 lymphoma in 2013. Yet, even before he was willing to stop a “meet & greet” to pray, he was one of my favorites. You see, every single time I’ve seen him in concert, he’s prayed from the stage for his team and for everyone in the audience. The first time I witnessed him do this was at an all-day Christian concert festival in Virginia…and on that day he was literally the only performer who prayed from the stage.
I love his music. But more than that, I admire his desire to point the focus to God’s Glory; not his own. There’s a lesson here that I need to continuously remind myself of…Focus on God; not myself.
In Romans 1:17 (NASB), we see that we are to live by faith. “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written: But the righteous one will live by faith.”
Walking by faith has to have a destination in mind, which is God. We, in and of ourselves, are not going to be able to have unwavering faith…we have to trust that God is able to accomplish all things. If we are focused on ourselves, our own talents, or our circumstances, then we aren’t truly walking that faith in Christ. Thus, our own ability is not the true object of our focus when we walking in faith. On this side of heaven, we will be repeatedly disappointed in our own ability…even if we are a famous musician.
How do we focus that walk of our faith? We lean into Jesus. We acknowledge God’s hand in our lives, we trust His role, and we confess it with our mouths. Publicly. Possibly at church, or in a small group…or from a stage during a concert.
Ephesians 2:8 reminds us that “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
The gift of faith is one to be celebrated and one to constantly be grateful for. One way we retain the spirit of being thankful is by keeping that focus on the giver of the gift. God. Not us.
The Christmas concerts are a special annual tradition. The example from Matthew West is a daily reminder to stay focused on our Heavenly Father.