HOW TO STAY FOCUSED
by Frank King 2/21/2010 / Christian Living
In my last book, "Steps to the Victorious Walk," written about two and a half years ago, I made a serious charge against the church. I accused her of having gone down the road of apostasy. By that I meant the church was straying from the heart and plan of God for His church.
In the book, I gave three reasons why I made such a charge. The first one was a lack of will in the body of Christ to obey the Great Commission to win souls. The second was a waning appetite for wholesome doctrine. And the third one was the increasing number of believers who loved pleasure more than they loved God. These points I address in my book, but doing so is beyond scope of this newsletter.
The church continues to travel this road of apostasy. So the question is, how can we stay properly focused if the church has gotten off the mark? For the remainder of this newsletter, I am quoting verbatim the practical points I made at the end of the chapter in my book wherein I discussed the subject of staying focused. Hopefully, you will find them helpful in your personal life:
1. Focus on Christ. People will always disappoint you. When a prominent minister falls, for instance, the news shakes the faith of some believers. They want to know if the man of God falls what hope do they have. I heard a man say once, "If Billy Graham falls, I know it's over." Of course, that would have been a great tragedy had it occurred. But the fact is, even in that very unlikely occurrence, we would not be finished. The gospel would still be just as true as it always has been.
The Bible advises us to "run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith" (Heb. 12:1b-2a). Why? "...lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds" (v.3).
Here is the point. Walking with God, trying to live right in a wrong world, trying to be holy in an unholy world, trying to stay clean in a dirty world is a press. We must condition ourselves to stay focused on Christ. Nothing we go through can ever compare with what He did on Calvary.
In the past, I have had that feeling that made me want to feel sorry for myself due to what I was going through at the moment. Oh, how I wished the cloud would pass over. But it just seemed to linger. Then I looked at others who seemed to have no trial worth mentioning. Made me wanna cry, "no fair." When I finally thought about Jesus, though, and what He did for me, I would spring back. I knew that what I was going through for Him paled in comparison to what He endured for me on the cross.
And let us remember that the church is not perfect--literally--as yet. God is still working on her-- He is still working on each of us. Only Christ is perfect. If we stay focused on Him, we will never be disappointed, though the church climate grieves us.
2. Stay Occupied for Christ. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop," I used to hear people say. There is certainly much truth to the maxim. Modern technology has handed us a curse and a blessing. On the one hand, we have all types of inventions adding to our quality of life. Remote controllers open our garage doors and operate our TV's. We talk on the phone while driving down the highway. We shop around the world without leaving home. Restaurants will prepare our dinner and then deliver it to our door. More and more people work from their home. And so on.
But these advances have not resulted in any windfall for God. In fact, as technology enables us to live more in a day, we seem to spend less time for the kingdom and with God. To be a victor, we must rival the trends of this world. "Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord," Paul advised the church at Corinth (1 Cor. 15:58). This church was losing it. Some of its members had even begun to believe "there is no resurrection of the dead" (v.12). And so Paul was inspired to advise the people to remain occupied for Christ.
In Christ, we must provoke each other to "good works" (Heb. 10:24), and that the more "as ye see the day approaching" (v. 25). We must strive to treasure the things of God that there our heart will be also (Matt. 6:21). As a minister I try to stay informed of the world of our day, but it is mainly that I might address relevant issues while preaching, teaching, or writing. At all times I must treasure the things of God that my heart might be fixed on Him and not the state of this world--or of the church.
3. Abide in the Word. "There will be terrible times in the last days," Paul writes to Timothy (2 Tim. 3:1, NIV). "People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God--having a form of godliness but denying its power..." (vv. 2-5).
To be sure, we are living in the times Paul refers to. This tells us the last days are upon us; of course, we know that already. More importantly, the spirit of this world has infected the church--the environment the Bible attributes to the last days is in the church today! What can we do? What must we do to remain focused?
Paul counsels Timothy thusly: "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (vv. 14-15). This is great. Paul is telling Timothy he needs to do nothing but what he has been doing; that is, continue in the Word.
A smart warrior prepares for battle in the time of peace. When we study the Word of God we are learning how to survive this hell on earth in which we live. And we are being equipped to defeat the wiles of the devil. But preparation is only as good as the strategy. What Paul reveals is that what Timothy had learned in infancy is the remedy for the last days.
Isn't that great? Nothing we have learned in the Word of God will ever become obsolete. We can study the Scriptures as diligently as we want to. No revision thereto is forthcoming. The Bible made men winners in the days of Moses. It will make us winners until the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us continue in the Word of God.
Noah Did It
It's much easier to walk in victory when doing so is vogue in the church, but that is not the case. You may find very little encouragement from the people of God. Jesus said that at His return, the day would be as it was in the days of Noah (Luke 17:26). Then, it was business as usual. "They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all," Jesus reveals (v. 27, KJV). Man's every thought was corrupt (Gen. 6:5).
But...let us learn a lesson from Noah. In the midst of a totally corrupt world, "Noah walked with God" (v. 9). If Noah, then, stayed focused on God in a totally corrupt world with no church and no Bible, surely we who have been born again can stay focused on God in a totally corrupt world, with the help of the churchalbeit steeped in apostasy, a good Bible, and the infallible leadership of the Holy Spirit.
Frank King is a former church pastor. He is currently an evangelist and an author. Frank holds a Master of Theology degree. Through the grace of God, Frank has been blessed to cross cultural lines in his preaching. Website: http://www.efrankking.com