Friday, July 11, 2014

Regaining Our Focus

In our high-speed, ever changing, constantly plugged in, instant gratification, endless options, information overload culture; it is so easy to get bogged down in the trivial things and lose focus on what really matters most.

I experience this culture a lot at our family’s plumbing company.  Let me explain. In the past, when you decided to build a building, you would first sit down with an architect and have a complete set of plans and specifications drawn up. Most, if not all of the decisions were made prior to breaking ground. The cost was counted, the materials ordered, and everything from the paint to the door knobs were picked out. The plans and specifications communicated what the customer wanted so the contractor knew what he was supposed to build. This process made building a house pretty simple. The contractor would just follow the plan and do what it said. Having a plan allowed the contractor to focus, stay on track, plan ahead, and do the job well!

This process is changing. Now we have cell phones, Internet, text, and email. Plans and specifications are still drawn up but now changes can be made to them instantly. More often than not, only the major decisions are finalized and approved. This leaves everything else on the project undecided so the customer can surf the Internet and wade through the countless options available to them. Now, we break ground first and figure out the details later. Because of this, it’s not unusual for our project manager to get over fifty phone calls a day. Each call is a mini meeting that usually leads to more options, more questions, or more decisions that will need to be decided on when we get back to them with more information.

There are some advantages to having the flexibility to make spur of the moment changes or in prolonging decisions so you can consider your options, but the draw back is that it makes what used to be a pretty simple job a lot more complicated. And in my experience when things get complicated the potential for confusion, mistakes, and chaos increases drastically.

The same can be true in our spiritual lives as well. Think about it. God planned out all the details before He ever broke ground on creation. He knows the end from the beginning. He even gave us His Word so we can know Him, understand what He is building, and know what He wants from our lives. If we trust Him and follow His plan, life is really pretty simple. Just open the Word and do what it says. What would happen if we could just stay focused on living a simple life of obedient faith to our awesome God and Savior?

But the world gives us so much “freedom” to choose and so many options to choose from. Our culture encourages us to draw up our own plans and do life our own way. The world tells us to not commit to anything but instead to keep our options open just in case something better comes along.  All this seems like a good thing but in the end, it actually only makes things more complicated, confusing, and chaotic.  And when we live this way it always ends badly.

Something God is stirring up in my heart lately is a increasingly strong desire to live a simple, obedient, focused life of faith, much like those saints we see in Hebrews chapter eleven. With eyes of faith they saw Him who is unseen and they had such a confident expectation of receiving what God had promised that it caused them to leave the chaos of the world behind and go out boldly in faith.  They didn’t get so caught up in the trivial things of this world because they had their eyes fixed on God and their hearts set on the better world that He had promised them.  Their focus on eternity allowed them to navigate this temporary world with great wisdom.  They simply listened to God the great architect and builder of creation and did what He said. And look what happened. Sure, they probably seemed strange to the people of their day, but now we count them as the heroes of our faith.

The writer of Hebrews then goes on to say that now it’s our turn to join with them and live those same kinds of simple, focused, obedient lives of faith.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

So today:

Lay aside the sin and even the “good” things that are causing you to stumble.

Follow Christ and run towards His Heavenly Kingdom with all you have and don’t quit.

Fix your eyes on Him, follow His example, and trust Him.

And remember, He will be with you every step of the way.

Shannon Compton
Life Groups Pastor