Skip to main content

Gaining Focus

Have you ever just chased your tail?  The harder you seem to work at something, the more difficult it seems to become.  You never seem to "catch up", never seem to fully "grasp" the goal.  In the end, you just stand there in total frustration, more in a muddle than you were when you first began.  Just as quickly as we started, we find ourselves out of energy to continue to journey!  We stop short of the goal - never really crossing the finish line.  What a waste.


Paul writes to the Philippian church, reminding them of the importance of staying focused.  His honesty in the first part of this chapter just thrills my heart.  He recounts the various degrees he has obtained, lists the various "things" the world looks upon as measures of success, and reminds us of the senselessness of relying on any of these to give us prominence or importance in the Kingdom of God.  


His honesty is recounted in these words:  "I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back."  (vs. 12-14)  He hasn't "arrived" - and neither have we!  


He is open about the struggle (the strain) it takes to reach the goal set out before us.  He isn't the "expert", but he knows the voice of his God beckoning him onward.  Here we find the point of most of our failure - in the hearing of God's voice beckoning us onward.  We all struggle with the "stretch" once in a while, but sometimes we struggle more than others - either because we hear and don't respond, or because we just refuse to hear.  


So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it.  (Philippians 3:15-16 The Message)

Anything less than total commitment really is not commitment!  Commitment suggests engagement - active participation.  Therefore, anything less is really "dis-engagement".  Paul's reminder to us is of the need for total engagement.  Throughout scripture, we see accounts of many who start well, then get off-course along the way.  Why?  It usually begins in the "listening".  We "hear" a lot of stuff - what we "listen to" is what affects us the deepest.  I have shared many times - listening is an action, not a passive process.  Listening is indeed engagement.


It makes no sense to hear clear direction and then ignore it, right?  Yet, we do!  We read God's Word, become acquainted with is will for us, then just go on without ever "conforming" to his will.  Paul reminds us it is all a matter of focus - the clearer our focus, the easier it is to stay on track.  It is God who gives us clarity - it is up to us what we do with the clarity we receive!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Your full attention, please

My mother frequently uses the term "Listen to me!" as a way of getting my attention so that I actually stop, pay close attention, and hear out whatever her idea or issue is at the moment. It isn't always at the most convenient moment, nor is it always easy for her to get out whatever it is she wants to share. Yet, it is important enough for her to ask to for me to hear it, so I respond with, "I'm listening, mom", and she begins.  It isn't said in anger or in a moment of disappointment. Rather, these words are usually spoken in a "sing-song" manner, but with very specific intent - they are intended to get me to REALLY listen to what she was saying. Why? Because she knows she has something to say even if it is getting harder for her to say it! She has walked through much already, learned many lessons, and has the advantage of experience on her side, but the disadvantage of advancing age makes it harder and harder for her to actually form those t…

Getting at the heart of it all

Have you ever seen someone so good with their skinning knife they can just peel away the hide of an animal without a rip or tear, no waste of any of the meat just below that skin? I have seen some fishermen able to fillet their catch with such skill not even one bone is found in the fillet. How do they learn this skill? I think it comes to them through practice and with the employment of the right 'tool' to do the job at hand. There is comfort in knowing that God means what he says and his Word will come to pass. His Word is like the scalpel in the skilled hands of a surgeon or the knife in the hands of the skilled hunter. As a nurse, I have seen the skillful use of the scalpel - dissecting away the finest of tissue to protect the healthy tissue and to expose the tissue that has become devitalized by disease or decay. I have also seen the damage done by a "blade" in the hands of one not trained or at all skilled in its use. The difference is beyond description.

God m…

Be a little salt

Ever wonder why Jesus left his disciples with the idea of being 'salt on this earth'? We don't fully appreciate salt these days because we aren't as accustomed to how it was used during the times Jesus spoke those words. We often have to put ourselves into the culture where the words are being recorded in order to fully comprehend the significance of their meaning. In the days of the disciples, salt was a basic "staple" of life. It was that which acted as "preservation" for everything. It also was the main seasoning of the dishes prepared - although there were other spices, salt was a 'staple'. Perhaps we would do well to look at some of the other functions of salt in order to see what Jesus may have meant when he referred to our lives a salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of the earth.

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltin…