Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”
I truly desire to please God! My “Vision” is to be more like Jesus. The success of my “Vision” depends on two areas – My Priorities & Focus – and these must be developed!
Developing the proper Biblical Focus requires…
While fear is a powerful distraction to get our focus away from God, there are many other distractions that come disguised as directions. “Distraction” is something that Satan has used since he created rebellion in heaven. He used it to get Eve to turn her focus away from God.
Genesis 3:4-6 (KJV) “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (Emphasis Added).
Apostle Paul expressed concern that the Corinthian church would fall prey to Satan’s distractions…
2 Corinthians 11:1-3 (KJV) “Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (Emphasis Added).
Many have misunderstood what Paul meant when he used the word, “simplicity.” The key to understanding what Paul was saying is found in the second verse, 2 Corinthians 11:2 (KJV) “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
Paul alluded to the church’s relationship to Christ as being “espoused.” Faithfulness during the “espousal” stage is highly prized in the Jewish custom. You will recall that Mary was “espoused” to Joseph when she became miraculously pregnant by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:26-35). This caused a major “social” problem for Joseph and Mary! Mary’s pregnancy was just cause for Joseph to break the engagement and place his “bride” under judgment.
“Simplicity” means “single-minded affection.” We could justly adapt the meaning to our discussion as follows, “love without distraction.”
Paul was calling the Corinthians to return their focus back to the Truth of Jesus Christ. The Corinthian Church had been invaded by false teaching. Their pure and simple devotion to the “Bridegroom,” Jesus Christ, had been threatened. Because of this seeming innocuous teaching, keeping their focus on Jesus, and prizing Him First in their lives, had become difficult to maintain. Their faith was moving toward being shipwrecked.
Jesus expressed the same concern to the Church in Ephesus…
Revelation 2:4 (KJV) “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”
Once again, we see the word, “Nevertheless” stated. We first referred to it where the spirit of fear influenced the 10 Israelite spies to draw a comparison between the Promises of God and His Power to produce positive results. This time it is Christ Jesus Who is saying “Nevertheless!” He said this to draw attention to their spiritual condition of being unfaithful. He listed the reasons they had gotten to their present state.
Revelation 2:2-3 (KJV) “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted” (Emphasis Added).
The Ephesians began their life in Christ with “simplicity” – they were focused on Him! They had even become proficient at “trying” those who attempted to infiltrate their ranks with false doctrine. However, somewhere along their time together, they got distracted with the busyness of the Christ-life, that they placed more importance of working FOR Jesus rather than working WITH Him! This happens quite frequently in the Body of Christ!
As we return to Paul’s warning to the Corinthians, we find the same principle. Most marriages begin in “simplicity,” however the distractions of life move the married couple’s focus from each other to “providing” for the future rather than providing for the marriage. It is easy to get caught-up in “spirit of the age,” especially if it seems like new revelation.
“Every unholy habit and attitude must come before the Creator’s scrutiny. That wasn’t especially easy for me – not when the aroma of my spiritual arrogance had numbed the desire for selflessness. I could relate to Dorothy and her companions in the immortal Wizard of Oz. They nearly succumbed to the spell of the poppies, even with Oz in sight! We must repel any devotional drowsiness and press on toward the New Jerusalem.” –Unknown
Eve lost her focus because of listening to the serpent. It would be easy for us to lose our focus, and minimize the importance of our “Vision,” if we allow our life to become crowded and confused!
“A man or a woman without a goal is like a ship without a rudder. Each will drift and not drive. Each will end up on the beaches of despair, defeat, and despondency. John Henry Fabre, the great French naturalist, conducted a most unusual experiment with some Processionary Caterpillars. These caterpillars blindly follow the one in from of them. Hence, the name. Fabre carefully arranged them in a circle around the rim of a flower pot, so that the lead caterpillar touched the last one, make a complete circle. In the center of the flower pot he put pine needles, which is food for the Processionary Caterpillar. The caterpillars started around this circular flower pot. Finally, they dropped dead of starvation and exhaustion. With an abundance of food less than six inches away, they literally starved to death, because they confused activity with accomplishment. Many Christians make the same mistake.” –Unknown
The Corinthian Church fell prey to the teachings and talk that sounded good that seemed to make sense. We too can fall prey, because there are many false teachings today that make sense. We must not limit our “Vision” by losing our focus on Jesus! We must be committed enough to practice the basic principles of pleasing God. We must not believe someone just because he or she speaks with apparent authority. We must continue to search the Scriptures to verify the teaching is undergirded with what is written. When we have done all we have been taught, we must rely upon the Holy Spirit to guide us.
Developing a proper focus to promote the success of our “Vision” is critical. Maintaining it is compulsory.