“. . . one thing I do . . .”
— Philippians 3:13
Have you ever watched interviews of athletes who have won come-from-behind victories? What do these people almost invariably credit for their ability to win games? Focus. Concentration. Fixing their eyes on the goal, then playing their best to achieve it.
As Christians, we, too, need to focus our attention on our goal—to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. The apostle Paul knew his goal. He pressed toward the mark, keeping “one thing” in mind, just as Jesus set His face toward Jerusalem. Paul was not distracted by past failures. Instead, he persistently reached forward, toward things ahead. He wanted to share the Gospel with as many Gentiles as he could. Though beaten, imprisoned, and shipwrecked, he never gave up; he pressed on with the “one thing” he had to do.
Think of the impact we could make if we imitated Paul just as he imitated Christ.
Unfortunately, we often lack this kind of concentration. We begin something but get sidetracked and go on to something else. Then something new further distracts us, and off we go in that direction. In this way we hop from one distraction to another.
Does this sound familiar?
For those of us who feel this scenario hits a little too close to home, I believe we need to pursue the same thing pursued by athletes, the apostle Paul, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: self-discipline. How? By engaging in three actions that will contribute to our success. First, we need to carefully select definite and clear-cut goals, both long-range and shortrange, that lead to our ultimate goal—to glorify God and enjoy him forever. We must choose these goals with the intention of glorifying God and advancing His kingdom. Second, we need to stay focused. We must maintain a burning desire to reach our goals. If something distracts us, we need to return our focus to our ultimate goal. And third, we need to create workable plans. We cannot reach a goal without charting a course to meet it. I agree with the maxim “People do not plan to fail; they just fail to plan.”
Today take some time to evaluate your ability to maintain your focus. If you think you’ve fallen short, read through the three actions that lead to self-discipline, and prayerfully commit to one way you can cultivate focus in your life. Then put it into action, and wait for God to show you the results of focusing on that “one thing” in your life.
“Plan your work, and work your plan.”