Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Keep the Focus on Him

Aiden kept his focus and caught
a fish!
     Multitasking is the art of doing several things well at the same time or at least that is the theory.  Mothers and front desk/receptionist/appointment makers come to mind as examples of this ability.  I have served in both capacities.  Unfortunately, the downside to trying to handle several things at once is that it is easy to lose your train of thought.  This can be risky especially if you become distracted and forget your dinner cooking in the oven or if while in the office, you forget you left someone on hold several minutes ago.  In either case, the outcome is not always pleasant.
     When it comes to our spiritual life, the Bible calls us to be single minded in our pursuit of holiness and living for Christ.  The writer of Hebrews characterizes it in this manner:  "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross; despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrew 12:1-2).  Here we see a word picture of focusing on our Lord to the exclusion of all else around us.  After all, if we are busy looking around at everything, we are going to go off on a bunny trail instead of sticking to the race we are running.  No good runner can afford to worry about everyone around him.  He has to remain intent on moving ahead towards the finish line.
     As I thought about this scripture, I was reminded of my grandfather's race horses he trained.  His standard bred harness horses often competed in local county fairs.  He had both trotters and pacers he  entered in different races.  When riding in a sulky behind the horse on a race course, the last thing he wanted to have happen was for the horse to become spooked or jumpy.  If this happened, the horse could break stride disqualifying him or even worse, causing a wreck with another horse.  Therefore, my grandfather would, at times, use blinders attached to the halter.  These blinders kept the horse from looking to the side.  This was a sure remedy for skittish horses and kept them focused straight ahead.  There is much we can learn from this illustration.  In our Christian walk, we need this kind of single-minded attention in order to stay the course which God has laid out for our lives.
     Our world is filled with distractions and this is true even in the church.  We are so good at multitasking that we forget the "one" thing which is most essential - our growth in sanctification. We get busy just like Martha doing things, reaching out to others, complaining that no one is helping us and Jesus reminds us as He did Martha: "....Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.  Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her" (to read the whole story read Luke 10:38-42).  When it comes to the many choices we can make, the most important one is to spend time with the Lord through His Word, in fellowship with other believers and in prayer.  This is what will give us the strength to run the race all the way to the end.
     In our study of the book "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, our Sunday school class discussed discipline in the Christian life.  This involves body, mind and spirit.  Our dress, our manner of speaking, our prayer life, our alms giving and relationships all should reflect the change of heart brought about by Christ's redeeming work.  Our tendency is to measure ourselves by others or to look at our circumstances rather than keeping our focus on God.  Looking at the life of Christ, we know that He came for a purpose, and nothing kept Him from fulfilling God's plan of redemption.  His single-mindedness kept His feet on the path to the cross and from there to resurrection for the sake of the joy set before Him.  He trusted the Father and His sovereignty and taught this to His disciples.  As modern day followers of Jesus Christ, we must also bring every thought captive to Christ and remember the joy set before us.   Dr. Lloyd-Jones states it this way:  "Our Lord's principle is always this:  'Forget other people altogether'.......Forget your face, forget yourself, forget other people altogether.  It is this interest in the opinions of other people that is so wrong.  Don't worry about the impression you are making; just forget yourself and give yourself entirely to God.  Be concerned only about God and about pleasing Him.  Be concerned only about His honour and glory" (pg. 319-320).
        What we all need to learn as we run the race is that if we are focused on God alone, we will not get caught up in worldliness or worry about what our brother is doing or not doing.  It is a struggle with the old flesh I admit.  However, we cannot change our community, our church or another person in our own power.  Only God can change them.  However, if we strive to know, honor, and glorify the Lord, others will see this change in us.  That is what often leads them to want that same growth in their own lives.  Always, we must trust in God's sovereignty over all things and trust ourselves to Him as Jesus did.  Where is our Lord and Savior now?  He is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, and we, through His blood, are co-heirs of His grace.  Therefore, we need to stop the multitasking which leads to distraction and become single minded in this race keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus the "author and perfecter of our faith".  May we be found faithful when the Lord returns!  Selah!

Do not forget to go to the blog www.theologyforgirls.com tomorrow for another story of a Woman in Scripture.  You will be blessed!

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