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 a proper focus to promote the success of our “Vision” is critical. Maintaining it is compulsory.
Maintaining our Biblical Focus requires…
Colossians 3:1-2 (KJV) “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Emphasis Added).
As we discussed earlier, it is easy to get distracted from our “Focus!” We must reaffirm our commitment to stay focused every day because the distractions do not stop attempting to steal our zeal.
“Trivialization in the church, as in society, results in a loss of the ability to think. Christians are lured to view the world as the world views itself–uncritically and without a basis for understanding. Many of us find ourselves ‘getting along by going along.’ And the Christian community slowly, imperceptibly ‘moves two inches a year toward total decline.’ — Don McCory, in Eternity, (Oct. 1986)
Where we focus our thoughts will direct our heart!
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (KJV) “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (Emphasis Added).
On a balmy October afternoon in 1982, Badger Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin, was packed. More than 60,000 die-hard University of Wisconsin supporters were watching their football team take on the Michigan State Spartans. It soon became obvious that MSU had the better team.
What seemed odd, however, as the score became more lopsided, were the bursts of applause and shouts of joy from the Wisconsin fans. How could they cheer when their team was losing? It turns out that seventy miles away the Milwaukee Brewers were beating the St. Louis Cardinals in game three of the 1982 World Series.
Many of the fans in the stands were listening to portable radios–and responding to something other than their immediate circumstances. Paul encourages us to fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen. When we do, we can rejoice even in hardships because we see Christ’s larger victory. — Greg Asimakoupoulos, Naperville, Illinois.
IF our “Vision” is in harmony with the Father’s, we must be in unity with His Son. In this, we must live the same life spiritually that He did. Paul taught the same thing…
Colossians 3:1 (KJV) “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Emphasis Added).
Perhaps the following rephrasing will assist in understanding…
“Since you have experienced being resurrected in Christ from the death of sin, then practice participating in His ascension by focusing on what is heavenly – what is spiritual.”
As disciples of Christ, we must live the same spiritual life He did. We must be born spiritually, humble ourselves to the will of the Father, crucify our old self, be resurrected in newness of life, ascend in Christ and be seated in heavenly places, AND participate in His glorious return. As we set our “Focus” on the spiritual, the God of peace will empower us to conquer the physical.
Philippians 4:6-9 (KJV) “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you” (Emphasis Added).
The Man, Christ Jesus endured homelessness, hatred, and hardship because He knew Who He was, Whose He was, and Whom He served. He practiced “The Presence of His Father” by praying without ceasing. When Jesus said, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life,” John 6:63 (KJV), He was emphasizing the principle that the words we speak issue the “abundance of the heart.”
Jesus did not just perform do good works, He kept His thoughts good also! Consider the following Scripture…
Proverbs 4:23 (KJV) “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Emphasis Added).
God created us to be human “beings,” not human “doings!” While we praise the Lord for all He “did,” we worship Him for Who He IS! Jesus did not invite us to follow Him because He is able to perform amazing miracles! In fact, He was troubled because most people followed Him because of what they could get from Him (John 6:26). Jesus invited us to follow Him because of Who He IS – John 14:6 (KJV) “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Emphasis Added).
Yes, the Man, Christ Jesus IS the Only Begotten Son of God, the Word of God, and the Soon-coming King! BUT Jesus knew that as the Son of Man – fully human – He had to guard His heart in Holiness and Righteousness because what was in His heart would be made manifest in His actions.
Such is the imperative for us – It is not enough that our deeds are pure, our thoughts must be pure also, because what is in our heart is what we ARE, and what is in us will dictate the quality of our deeds. We must be determined to keep our thoughts pure because Our thoughts direct our “Focus.”
When Jewish psychiatrist Victor Frankl was arrested by the Nazis in World War II, he was stripped of everything–property, family, possessions. He had spent years researching and writing a book on the importance of finding meaning in life–concepts that later would be known as logotherapy, When he arrived in Auschwitz, the infamous death camp, even his manuscript, which he had hidden in the lining of his coat, was taken away.
“I had to undergo and overcome the loss of my spiritual child,” Frankl wrote. “Now it seemed as if nothing and no one would survive me; neither a physical nor a spiritual child of my own! I found myself confronted with the question of whether under such circumstances my life was ultimately void of any meaning.”
He was still wrestling with that question a few days later when the Nazis forced the prisoners to give up their clothes. “I had to surrender my clothes and in turn inherited the worn out rags of an inmate who had been sent to the gas chamber,” said Frankl. “Instead of the many pages of my manuscript, I found in the pocket of the newly acquired coat a single page torn out of a Hebrew prayer book, which contained the main Jewish prayer, “Shema Yisrael” (Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one God. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.) “How should I have interpreted such a ‘coincidence’ other than as a challenge to “live” my thoughts instead of merely putting them on paper?”
Later, as Frankl reflected on his ordeal, he wrote in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, “There is nothing in the world that would so effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions, as the knowledge that there is a meaning in one’s life. … ‘He who has a “why” to live for can bear almost any “how”.’” — Unknown, Leadership, Vol. 4, no. 3