First things first, one thing at a time.
We all have errands to run. Appointments to attend. Chores to get done. Daily life gets us all. These daily tasks, though, can either be weeds of distraction or fruit-bearing plants.
Good farmers plant Jesus seeds (Spirit given truths) that produce healthy fruit-bearing plants of Christ-like character. But, we can let those appointments, chores, or errands choke out these seeds from getting the water and sun they need to grow. We do this by making our daily lives about getting them done rather than about doing them with Jesus.
As good soldiers, we are told to focus on pleasing Jesus, our Commander-In-Chief (2 Tim. 2:3-4). Each chore can be done out of a love response for Jesus. Each errand and appointment can bring us around people who need to hear about Jesus through us.
We can’t get around our daily time grinders. We CAN, however, learn the following principle: first things first, one thing at a time.
Focus on one errand, one appointment, or one chore at a time. Enjoying being with Jesus in the midst of that one errand, NOT stressing over getting the entire list done.
Next, repurpose that one appointment. See it as an opportunity to walk and talk with Jesus whereby being ready to share Jesus with others when He opens the door.
We all have chores to get done. We decide whether or not they will produce Christ-like character. Hence, decide to be a good soldier. Focus on pleasing Jesus with every item on that list, one item at a time.
Hiding hurts help.
Jesus and I are having some frank conversations in the midst of a current storm. I’m not whining or complaining. I’m simply focusing on Him to fix it. You know what He’s fixing? Me, not the storm.
Paul was on a ship that was literally falling apart at sea (Acts 27). The crew was doing everything they could to keep it, the ship, together. The word used to keep the ship together is the same word in Hebrews 4:16 for help.
When we feel like our lives are falling apart, we are to approach Jesus with confidence for help. The word confidence means to speak freely and hold nothing back. In other words, be frank with Him. Don’t put on an outer face of strength with Him. A stiff upper lip only gets bitten by your teeth!
We are to be totally honest with Him. But are we being honest with ourselves? If we want Jesus to fix it, we must be willing to tell Him about what we are truly thinking and feeling at any given moment.
Thus, focusing on Jesus doesn’t mean telling and retelling Him about the storm. It means acknowledging what’s going inside you in the midst of that storm.
You see, changing your life is the issue, not the storm. Storms simply expose what’s going on inside us – our thoughts, our fears, our defense mechanisms, our rationalizations and justifications, our weaknesses (2 Cor. 10:3-5) – all of which must be renewed with the truth that sets us free from all the negatives brought on by the storm.
Focus on Jesus by talking with Him about where you are really at, not about the storm. He will fix it, alright. You.
Turn your complaining into thanking.
The Lord has been teaching me to focus and fix it. Allow me to explain. I have a bad habit of wasting time beating myself up when I make a mistake or focusing on the challenges that I’m currently facing.
In either case, where is my focus? Myself. Yet, am I not the problem? Yes. Thus, both are a waste of time as I am not focusing to the One who can fix it – Jesus.
Israel had the same problem. They had seen (Egyptian army annihilated), heard (the cries of death at Passover), smelled (rotten cattle and bloody water), touched (the plunder of Egypt) and tasted (bread from heaven and water from a rock) their God save them time and time again on their way home.
Now, they were hungry. Their response? They complained! (Numbers 11). Instead of giving thanks for a new opportunity to see their God fix it, they quit on Him.
Instead of complaining about my hardships, I should spend time thanking God for how He will fix it…again!
And so should you. Stay focused on the One who can fix it – Jesus, when fresh challenges come. Spend time thanking Him for what He has done in the past as you focus on Him to fix or get you through in the present to again thank Him in the future.
Peace comes as you give thanks before the answer arrives as it keeps you focused on the One who can fix it.
Pain is part of living.
While chilling in the bathtub soaking my aching body in Epson salts, a song waffled over the airwaves. It was about Jesus going beyond me to show me how to rest.
This resonated big time. If I felt this way both physically and mentally, He had to go even further to show me how to rest – the mental state that victory was already mine – in the midst of my current battle.
Then the Spirit brought to mind a man hanging on a cross – a thief serving a death sentence. Jesus went to a cross where a man would hang next to Him, who would curse Him but would also put his faith in Jesus that very day.
Jesus, experiencing pain infinitely greater than mine (may I say yours too?), was at rest. He, not His pain, was in complete control. And because He was, He had a life-saving conversation with that man.
Jesus’ love for His Father sent Him through unimaginable pain in order to reach that man. We are going home to Jesus someday because of that kind of love.
Pain is part of living this side of heaven. We can either focus on it or use it to reach others for Jesus. How far will our love for Jesus go?
Making a joyful noise should result in greater obedience.
“Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
“In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.
“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work. For forty years I loathed that generation and said, ‘They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways.’ Therefore I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’” Psalm 95
Follow the pronouns of this Psalm. Did you notice how they changed from us to I?
The writer drew us into God’s presence through music. This singing went from focusing on Who God is, to listening to His voice, and then to believing what you sang through acting upon what God said to do.
Worship is not about singing. It’s a method that allows you to focus on the One who did it all for you. It’s about the Spirit drawing you into God’s presence so you can hear His voice in order to make choices to follow Jesus.
Turn on the music. Focus on Who Jesus is and what He’s done; and then, choose to follow Him wherever He may lead. Israel didn’t and look what happened to them.