Tag Archives: focus

Attentive and All-In

Building character is a lifetime endeavor with an endless variety of beautiful attributes to consider.  To start this new year, we will focus on two traits clearly evidenced in Jesus’ life:  attentiveness and an all-in commitment!  The verses we will use as a foundation of these traits are Hebrews 2:1 and Colossians 3:23.

Hebrews 2:1.  We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.

Colossians 3:23.  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

Hebrews was penned for the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem facing persecution. The book lays out the superiority of Christ that inspires faithfulness even in the midst of suffering.

Colossians was a letter to the Christians in the city of Colosse, where false teachers were planting seeds of doubt about the deity of Christ.  Colossians expounds on the sovereignty of Christ and aids in clear focus.  Both passages, like all Scripture, benefit Christians of every age!  Let’s see how they relate to our lives today.

Being attentive–paying careful attention–to the Truths of Jesus Christ gives us strength to press on.  The Scripture speaks to being attentive to the Gospel Truths that fulfilled and built upon the Jewish teachings the believers knew so well.   The writer was calling readers to recognize that Jesus Christ offered all that they pursued in other ways before.  He is the fulfillment of all we seek as well…religion, education, careers…all pale in light of what Jesus delivers.  Being attentive to all Christ offers is key to finding and staying on course.

Attentiveness is protective as well since other Scriptures remind us that we have an enemy prowling about seeking the chance to devour us!  Learning to be attentive as a

man in blue and white long sleeve sweat shirt riding black hard tail bicycle
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habit bears dividends in secular as well as spiritual matters.  Often-time we know what is right and take for granted that ‘knowing is enough.’  We know we need to study, to eat well, to exercise…but we don’t attentively tend to those things.

We forget that coasting only happens when one is going down-hill.  Failure to be attentive often takes us far from where we intended.  Being attentive keeps us from drifting away into areas we never planned to go.

What might God be nudging you to be more attentive to?

Being all-in is a rare thing in this age of multi-tasking!  The Book of Revelation quotes the prophet Daniel with words that speak volumes in this day:  “knowledge will increase and many will run to and fro.”  There is more to take in and more to do than any one person

Jesus hands
Freestone Willson Stephen B Whatley

can manage.  Jesus spoke to Martha with words we call need to hear:  “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” 

There are a number of ways to look at being “all-in” and as always, Jesus is the One to turn to.  Contrary to popular theology, Jesus wasn’t all in to loving on folks and healing all.  He loved and He healed because He was all-in to His father’s plan.  Jesus did everything He did because it was the will of the Father.  We need to be ‘all-in’ in the same way.  “Thy will be done” must be where our buy-in rests!  Another necessary aspect of ‘all-in’ is living fully present.  God defines Himself as the “Great I AM.”  God is present…in the moment, and we need to be as well.  

At this moment in time, are you all-in to the will of God for your life?

 

 

Determination & Endurance

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:2.

Determination and endurance are ingredients of any significant accomplishment.  Every worthwhile endeavor will include the temptation to quit!  Making an effort to do well, to

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improve is an uphill climb.  Coasting only works when you are on a decline.  Scripture is full of fellow believers who inspire us to be determined to endure.  If your passion for goals you set is dwindling away, consider some encouragement from the Word.

Remember Joseph: sold off by his brothers, lied about by a sinful woman and forgotten by those he helped.  He lived so consistently for God even a pagan ruler declared, “Who can find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?”  Joseph’s confidence in God’s power and goodness never faltered.  It guided him and he shared it with his brothers (his betrayers) to calm their fears about his taking retribution.  Joseph’s endurance flowed from his determination to honor His good and all-powerful God.

That same determination was expressed by Paul in 2 Corinthians.  Paul said, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  Paul was determined that his focus would remain on the love that led Jesus to the Cross.  That is a determination that will hold us on course!

Remember Esther:  a Jewish orphan girl chosen as a candidate for the role of Queen of the massive Persian empire.  She was one candidate of many–and not being chosen would doom her to an empty life.  She determined to honor those in authority over her and that surrender garnered her favor in the eyes of King Xerxes.  Even then, determination was necessary.  Circumstances forced her to risk it all–including her life–to help God’s chosen people, her people, the Jewish nation.  Her determination earned her (and her family) lasting honor.  Even today, Esther’s determination is celebrated every year with the Feast of Purim.

God does great things with determination that focuses on Him.  Jesus, Himself, had focused determination all his days on this earth.  Luke 9:51 tells us, “As the time approached for him (Jesus) to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.  Determination doesn’t take us on the easiest road.  It takes us toward the purposes and plans of God.

We all have many places to practice determination but our primary determination must be to seek God.  In every activity, in every conversation, we must be determined to seek God.  He will bring good to us and those around us when we do that.  God promises us the strength we need to seek Him.  When we set our will to do that, His goodness and power works on our behalf.

Indeed, we can do all things through Christ…we can mount up on wings of eagles.  Determine to do so!