So you say to yourself, “Here I am again enduring the daily grind.” If you’re like most of us, you have stressful concerns that don’t seem all that important when you are healthy with the Lord, but when you’re wrapped up in them, they seem to be the most important things in the world. Your perspective alters and you feel yourself getting sucked into worrying about those Matthew 6:33 things. Rather quickly, you’re no longer thinking about those current or future plans that God has designed for you to complete. Distraction is shifting your focus.
So now what do you do to stay on track and to not get distracted? How can you keep or develop a missional focus?
First of all, read through these revolutionary texts from Jesus in Matthew 10:34-39.
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (ESV)
It’s easy to get bogged down in the anxieties and stresses of daily life, but it’s also amazing how easily all of that noise clears up when you set your focus on Jesus’ words. “Whoever finds his life will lose it.”
I’m on home assignment right now preparing for an upcoming mission to Ethiopia and Kenya. There have been many distractions the last two weeks that have affected my normal schedule. My lack of consistent schedule is not only causing me less time for writing, but also less time in the Word. It is so evident that the cares of this world have a stronger effect on me when my time with the Lord and his concerns are cut down.
I’m very seldom affected by the lust for material wealth, but, lately, caught up in the rush of this world, not having a consistent schedule, having less time in the Word, etc, I became much more vulnerable to the things around me. Recently being plopped in the life of a friend whose retirement life seemed to be much more desirable than my busy life, I have to admit I felt tempted. For a moment I thought that it would be so easy to shrug off this rigorous mission life and to move into a pleasurable retirement life. As that thought passed through my mind, I knew immediately, that I would soon long to be on the missions tract once again. Surprisingly, in spite of that realization, my emotions were still screaming, ” A leisurely life would be so appealing.” The temptations of life clamor in our ears. They are ever present and oh so NOISY!
In a comfortable retirement life I would surely be able to find and enjoy all that life has to offer: Travel, peace, perpetual vacation, and great living conditions in sunny California. Following that deceptive thought, a familiar scripture floated through my mind. I seemed to hear Jesus’ voice saying, “those who find their life will lose it, but those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”
It is in vulnerable moments like these that we need to take out our Bibles and read and meditate on those powerful and demanding words of Jesus in Matthew 10:39. Allow those words to cut through all the noise in our lives and cancel out anything that’s not from our Lord. He is our shepherd, and we need to yield and listen to his voice alone. Temptations will come but they need not overcome us.
“Whoever finds his life will lose it.”
I believe Jesus spoke to my spirit as I read that passage and it was as if he started to question me, “Do you love your family more than me?” Do you refuse to take the trials that come when you follow me? Will you try to find your life on your own or will you give it up to me?”
“Whoever finds his life will lose it.”
Oh, how my heart ponders and rests on those words ….for it’s then and only then that my heart breaks, I lose my life, I find my life, and I am made truly alive through Him!