Friday, August 30, 2013

Keeping Your Eye On The Prize

Often times the fine line between success and failure is focus.  Whether in sports, business or church work, those who can overcome the distractions that come their way and keep their focus on the mission are the ones who succeed.   It's what Michael Jordan had in the last seconds of a game and Tiger Woods had in his prime.  It is what separates the great athletes from the good ones.  It is what Paul admonishes us to do in Philippians 3:14.

Jesus' laser focus is documented by John in his gospel as you see how the crowds, Religious leaders and even his own disciples try to persuade him to follow their own agenda.  Jesus overcomes all manner of temptation and persecution, keeping his eye on his purpose and the mission of the cross. Jesus had a direct line to the Father to keep him focused and on the right path.  We also have a direct line to Jesus (prayer) and we have the Holy Spirit (power to do what is right) and scripture to direct us and help us make the right decision.  We have plenty to keep us on the right track, its just a matter of using it.  So here are some practical tips to keep you focused.
  • Remind yourself each morning of your purpose and to whom you belong.  In John 5:19, Jesus explains that He comes from the father and only does what the Father tells him to do.  He knows his purpose and from where it comes.  As followers of Jesus, we should remind ourselves every day of Ephesians 2:10, that we are created in the image of God, that we are His workmanship, masterpiece, created to do great works, uniquely designed and prepared for in advance by God for you.  
  • Develop a plumb-line for making decisions.  I use Colossions 1:10 as my plumb line. Will my action please God? Will it bear fruit for God?  Will it help me grow in my relationship with God? If I answer no to any of these then I know it's not the will of God.  If yes to all of these, then God gives me the green light. And if my action is in sync with my purpose then I know I should proceed full steam ahead.  
  • Put your blinders on and ear plugs in regularly. Jesus talked about his sheep knowing his voice.  They can distinguish his voice from the many others that could distract them and lead them astray. One way we can hear His voice is to get away from the noise of the world as Jesus often did to communicate with his Father.  Turn off the world, read scripture and meditate on His word and talk to Jesus on a regular basis.  
  • Prioritize your actions or "to do" list according to your purpose.  Tackle tasks that best help you reach your goals to achieving your purpose.  Often these are the most difficult which is why we often put them aside and procrastinate. Chip away at the big rocks and you'll soon discover that you have accomplished more than you realize.
  • Do regular check ups and course corrections.  Humans are much like sheep in that they easily wander off from the herd just following the green grass, their food source.  We generally don't jump way off course in one giant leap.  Most often we drift with small steps, sometimes almost imperceptible. If you don't take a reading every so often, you can find yourself miles from your destination.  Accountability partners can help you stay on course and let you know when you stray but you they can only hold you accountable to that which you allow them to.  Be open and honest about your goals and where you are.  
  • Remove, stop doing anything that keeps you from accomplishing your purpose. Hebrews 12:1-2.  It could be as simple as stop spending so much time on the computer.  Often times the biggest detriment to our purpose are the small subtle habits we begin to establish. 

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