Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Focused on What?

It has been a challenging year. But that is not the issue. With every challenge there has been a blessing.

The past year has been full of changes. But that is not the issue. Each change has brought new knowledge, new understanding, and new personal growth.

The most difficult aspect of the past year is that I discovered my focus is wrong and must be changed if I am to live a productive Christian life.

In my eyes I have always had a servant’s attitude as we are commanded to do in the Bible.

“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:26b-28 ESV

I have many times given unselfishly of my time and resources to serve the needs of others. I wanted what is right, what is good, what is best for society. I was driven to accomplish this task. But I was wrong.

I was not wrong to want to serve. I worked hard thinking I could make the difference and others would reward my effort. That is where I was wrong. Normally others only reward what they perceive as pleasurable or promotes their own agenda, not what is right. Sometimes doing the right thing meets the pleasure now criteria, but often it does not. The right thing is often hard work and requires the difficult process of making choices which delay gratification.

Yes I have made a difference, but no it has not been a significant difference. Much of my life and resources have been wasted. Instead of doing things in God’s power at God’s time, I did them in my power on my timeline. My life was too complex and too focused on bringing recognition to myself.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 ESV

I have spent the past couple of days in prayer and meditation. I have been away from the demands of home and focusing on God. He has confirmed what I have begun to see during the past few months. He must be the focus of everything, even the most mundane activities which occupy my efforts and time. Now the test is if I will turn loose of past habits and make the changes which God has made so clear. I know I cannot. Only the power of the Holy Spirit will change me from my overly busy, accomplishment oriented, “to-do” list personality to God’s servant doing only what is important for eternity. Only through the Holy Spirit can I distinguish what is Sandy and society oriented from what is important for God’s kingdom. Satan is deceptive and if given the slightest opening he will sabotage my efforts as he has done so many times before.

“Then Jesus said to him, ‘Be gone, Satan! For it is written,’You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'" Matthew 4:10 ESV

So this life is not about impressing the neighbors and our friends with all I am doing and accomplishing. It is about living in submission to my Lord and Savior.

Lord, keep me focused on you. Show me when Satan is employing his deceptive tricks. Make it clear when my motivations for a given activity are focused on me instead of on glorifying you.