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About-Him.Com Devotional 05-13-2017
Keeping Our Focus
Hebrews 12:1 ¶ Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We all have a race to run. Our courses will vary as to obstacles along the way, but rest assured there will be difficulties. Jesus finished the course before us and sat down on the throne of heaven. From there, He is pulling for each and every one of us, that we not lose our focus and take our eyes off of the goal. There is a prize awaiting at the end of course, which is spending eternity with Him. What could be better?
As we are running the race, there are many things that try to distract us. Mainly, we have an adversary (1 Pe. 5:8), who will use every trick in the book to impede our progress. One of his chief weapons is diverting our focus. If he can deceive us into becoming self-centered, he has gained the upper hand against us. One way to combat this is to determine like the apostle Paul that we won’t know anything except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. This doesn’t mean that we stick our heads in the sand and become unaware of what is happening all around us. But it does mean that we filter all current events through the cross of Jesus.
1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
When we look through the lens of the cross, we see everything in a different perspective. We don’t distress over national and world events, because we know Who is in control. Jesus died on the cross to establish His kingdom and it is His kingdom that will ultimately triumph (Ps. 2:1-6).
Running our race becomes so much easier when we are focused on the goal, rather than ourselves. When we feel some self pity coming on, we only have to consider Jesus. He endured it all that we might live.
Hebrews 12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.We like Jesus are weak in our flesh, yet we live by the power of God. What a treasure we have, the living God dwelling in our very beings.
2 Corinthians 13:4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.
Every waking hour and minute we must be mindful of the price that Jesus paid to obtain our salvation. As we share in His suffering, His life is manifested through us.
2 Corinthians 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
We glory in nothing but the cross. In ourselves, we are nothing, period. In Him we are more than conquerors (Ro. 8:37).
Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
Some of the obstacles that hinder us are:
Past sin and failure - We know that Satan is the accuser of the brethren. He is quick to remind us of our sin, but he will never tell you of God's forgiveness. God said he would put our sins into a sea of forgetfulness to be remembered no more. ( Heb. 8:2, 10:27; Is. 43:25, Micah 7:19) If God forgets, why don't we?
Past blessing and accomplishments - Some of us like to think of how it used to be and we tend to live in the past. We can't be of any use to God's program unless we are looking forward. Whatever accomplishments we have obtained will be rewarded at the throne (Mt. 25). If we place too much emphasis on past performance, we run the risk of being destroyed by pride (Pro. 16:18) , and that is exactly what your adversary wants.
Past disappointments - Some of us put too much emphasis on our disappointments and failures in relation to working for God's kingdom. We simply will not know the result of our labor, until we get to the other side. We can rest assured that even a cup of water given in the name of Jesus will be rewarded. We have sown the seed of the Word of God and he has said that it will not return to Him void. We look for instant results and forget that the seed of the Word must germinate and be watered before it can grow. It is God who gives the increase, not us! (He. 6:10: Luke 8:4-15; I Co. 3:6-7).
There are several things to look forward to:
The return of the Lord Jesus - Jesus said that the world would be going about business as usual when He returned, unaware that anything had happened until after the fact. He used the days of Noah and Lot as an example in Luke 17. We don't hear much being said about His return, even from our present day Spirit filled churches and ministries, but that doesn't change the facts of God's word. His Word says that He will return when we don't expect Him. He will exercise judgement and vengeance at that time. I've been washed in His blood and filled with His Spirit and I'm looking forward to His return ( Mt. 24:2; Thes. 1:6-10; Titus 2:13; Rev. 4:11, 5:9).
His Kingdom being established on earth - We know that Jesus will reign over all of the earth from the throne of David. Negotiations over the status of Jerusalem are ever failing. One or more U.S. presidents have suggested the option of Israel giving up control of the temple mount. I don't know how or when it will come about but this I know. All nations will gather against Jerusalem. The Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven to fight against those who would destroy her. Israel will accept Jesus and say, "This is our God, we have waited for Him." ( Isa. 43:25; Joel 3:2; Haggai 2:7; Zech. 14:2: Ps. 132:11).
Eternal life with Jesus our Savior - John said it doesn't yet appear what we shall be, but that we shall be like Him for we shall see him as he is. I look forward to being one of the innumerable number at the throne of God giving glory and honor to Jesus my Savior (Jn. 11:26; 1 Co. 15:51-58; I Jn. 3:2).
Pressing towards the mark denotes struggle, such as:
Resisting evil in all forms - We are fighting a spiritual battle against hell. We have the ability to spot that which is contrary to God's principals. Whether it be a godless media or self serving politicians who have sold their soul to the devil, we know evil when we see it, and we should do our best to oppose it (Eph. 6:12).
Keeping myself unspotted from the world - Quite simply, there are things I won't watch or read and places I won't go. Evil is a sly cancer that seeks to destroy me. I am not ignorant of Satan's devices ( 2 Co. 6:17; Ja. 1:27).
Keeping ourselves fit vessels for the Master's use - There are billions of souls who have never heard the gospel even once. Somebody must tell them. Jesus said the harvest was plentiful, but the laborers were few. I desire to be one of the few (Mt. 9:37-38; Jn. 4:35; 2 Ti. 2:20).
Prayer and Intercession - The key to it all - We are told to pray for laborers to be sent to the harvest. We are told to pray for our leaders. We are told to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. We are told to make intercession for all saints, and the list goes on. I must also pray for myself, that I will surrender my will to His will. If I find myself unwilling, my prayer is "Lord make me willing" (Ps. 122:6; Eph. 6:18; I Ti. 2:1-4).
Song: My God, My King and My Redeemer
The Christian in the world: "The idea that this world is a playground instead of a battleground has now been accepted in practice by the vast majority of Christians. They are facing Christ and the world.... "The ‘worship’ growing out of such a view of life is as far off center as the view itself - a sort of sanctified nightclub without the champagne and the dressed-up drunks." from This World: Playground or Battleground? by A.W. Tozer, pp. 5-6.
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