“If we are not careful we will spend our days chasing mice, while the devil is devouring the land.” Leonard Ravenhill
I have found it so easy at times to lose focus on my priorities because of the urgent demands for my time that come my way in the course of a day. We do face so many battles in this lifetime and with those battles it is easy for us to become sidetracked and discouraged. In 2 Corinthians 7:5-6, the Apostle Paul talks of the battles we face daily when he declares:
“When we arrived in Macedonia, there was no rest for us. We faced conflict from every direction, with battles on the outside and fear on the inside. But God, who encourages those who are discouraged...”
I love the phrase in verse 6 that says even though we face difficulties that sidetrack and discourage us we must remember that “God encourages those who are discouraged.” These verses remind me to keep my focus on God during difficult times so that I will not lose my focus on what He has for me to do daily. It is also great to be reminded that God stands ready to encourage me at the most discouraging times of my life when the battles are fierce and I am searching to regain my focus.
In Philippians 3:13-14, Paul goes on to provide great direction regarding our focus. Those verses state:
“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
The more I read this verse the more I am reminded that this needs to be my daily prayer that I would focus on moving beyond the past and things that sidetrack and focus on fulfilling the calling that God has placed on my life. I recognize that I am human and many times I forget and allow myself to be drawn into things that rob me of focus and ultimately discourage me.
However, God has used these verses in recent days to encourage me and make me more aware of my need to stay focused on Him and His agenda for my life. I pray that these verses will be a blessing to you as well.
I do not want to spend my days as Ravenhill said chasing mice or insignificant matters but instead I want to spend my life focused on making a difference for the Kingdom of God, my family, and others.
“My soul follows hard after you.” Psalm 63:8
Living in this digital age the meaning of follower has taken on a new meaning. The Twitter world is all about having followers and following others we deem significant. This has become such a big deal that you see many people trying to do all they can to gain followers so that they can better convey their message. There are certain people I like to follow as I love to read the ideas that they are sharing in the virtual world.
On the surface, there is nothing wrong with following others in the virtual world that we respect and admire. The area we need to be careful in is becoming so enamored with social media and who we are following that we forget who we really need to follow and spend time with on a daily basis. I am concerned with this because I have seen research that gives strong indications that most people spend far more time on social media than they do in God’s Word.
In the first verse of Psalm 63 the Bibles declares: “O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.” I love this verse because it shows us the passion we need to follow hard after God as verse 8 of that chapter says.
Social media or no other external source will provide us with the things we need to live in this “parched and weary land.” If we are going to thrive spiritually, we must declare as the Psalmist that God is our God. That His Word will be our source for strength, for hope, for joy, for direction, and for whatever this life may hold. We must begin to desire a relationship with God above all else.
When I met my wife and fell in love with her, I ran hard after her to win her love and affection. I let nothing get in the way of spending time with her. She was my focus as I was trying to win her heart.
What about our relationship with God? What do we allow to get in the way of us pursuing a relationship with Him daily? The idea of Psalm 63:1 is that He is our God and early will I seek Him. This means that I will seek Him first. Are we really doing that?
Luke 9:23 says: “Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” This is the essence of following hard after God. To come to a place that we realize that life is not about us or what we want but instead it is about following Jesus and pursuing what He wants for our lives.
May we all be able to proclaim as the old hymn says: “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.”