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I read the story of Jesus’ temptation (Luke 4:1-14) and then sat in silence for 20 or 30 minutes.  My gaze drifted to the cover of the book on my lap.  The cover’s simple design featured the image of the cross in gold, which contrasted the deep maroon background.  Apparently I had been staring at the cover for a while because when I shifted my gaze to the concrete patio beneath my feet, I could see a blurry image of a maroon cross.  The suggestion-of-a-cross seemed to float in front of my gaze—much like the black spots that appear after one has been subjected to a photograph with flash.

In my somewhat meditative state, I likened the focal point of the golden cross on my book cover to an intentional focus on God and His word.  First, reading, praying, singing, and-or memorizing the words and ways of God help awaken us to the instances of His grace and truth.  They seem to clearly emerge from the scenes of our daily life.  We can’t blink them away.

Second, when we focus on God’s words and strive to live His ways, we become that maroon suggestion-of-a-cross that danced in front of my gaze.  We become a representation of Christ for others.  We point to God just as Jesus directed Satan toward God’s words in the temptation story.  Jesus reflected the truth revealed by the Father.  The word of God was His defense, and He enlivened it through word and deed.  We have the same defense when God’s word becomes a focal point and compass for our lives.