WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
OCTOBER 09, 2023
TOPIC: DON’T LOSE YOUR FOCUS
BY T. O. BANSO
“Keep your eyes focused on what is right, and look straight ahead to what is good” (Proverbs 4:25 New Century Version).
There are many lessons we can learn from the life of Jesus when He was on earth. One of them is His focus. Jesus had the right focus and didn’t lose His focus throughout His earthly ministry. He didn’t allow what His critics and detractors, especially the religious leaders – the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the scribes of His day – said or did to make Him lose His focus. He knew His mission on the earth and pursued it without allowing any distraction.
For example, when the Pharisees accused Him of casting out devils by Beelzebub, the false accusation did not bother Him. He knew their thoughts and replied, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matthew 12:25-30 New King James Version).
Mark 3:23-27 and Luke 11:17-23 records a similar reply by Jesus. Some people would have been discouraged and distracted by such false criticism. But Jesus was not. His reply showed that He was focused on His mission. He would continue to cast out demons despite their criticism, for that was part of His mission on earth.
Some people have stopped what they were supposed to be doing just because of people’s criticisms or veered into something else that is not God’s will for them. Don’t lose focus on whatever God has called you to do despite anyone’s criticism. Proverbs 4:25 says, “Keep your eyes focused on what is right, and look straight ahead to what is good” (New Century Version).
In John 8, the scribes and Pharisees tried to trap Jesus with a question on the woman they caught in adultery. “And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?’” (John 8:3b-5 New King James Version). But Jesus was focused on His mission to save sinners, not to condemn them.
He stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear what the woman’s accusers said. Responding finally to the question they continued asking Him, He told them whoever was without sin among them should throw a stone at the woman first. None of them did because their conscience convicted them. They all left, leaving only the woman and Jesus. Then Jesus told her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” (John 8:10 New King James Version).
The woman replied that no one condemned her, and Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (verse 11b New King James Version). Jesus didn’t lose His focus just to be politically or religiously correct! Remaining focused, He said, immediately after telling the woman to go and sin no more: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (verse 12 New King James Version). Jesus knew His mission and remained focused on it. Do the same. Have the right focus and don’t lose your focus. Don’t be distracted by the criticisms of foes or the praise of friends.
In Mark 12:13-17, some people whom the Pharisees and Herodians sent to catch Jesus in His words asked Him a question on taxes. He knew their hypocrisy and that they only wanted to test Him; it was a trap set for him to make him say something they would use against him. But they failed as Jesus continued to be focused on His mission. He refused to be drawn into any controversy on taxes. He gave them an appropriate answer. This story is also recorded in Matthew 22:15-22 and Luke 20:20-26.
It is a lack or loss of focus that makes some Christians, including the ministers of the gospel, get involved in certain debates or causes which may even be good but not right for them. Get your focus right and don’t lose your focus. Avoid the temptation of being drawn away from your God-ordained mission or losing your focus. Paul warns, “But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless” (Titus 3:9 New King James Version). Similarly, he warns in 1 Timothy 1:4 not to give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. Focus on preaching the gospel, not on arguments. Focus on the main issue, not trivialities.
In John 6:15, the Bible shows us how so much focused Jesus was on His mission. Some people wanted to come and take Jesus by force to make Him king after they had seen Him miraculously feed five thousand men with just five barley loaves and two small fish and twelve baskets of fragments of the five barley loaves were gathered after. Perceiving the plan to force Him to be their king, Jesus departed again to the mountain alone. He knew His mission was not the earthly kingship. As He later told Pilate, His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36). Some people would have lost their focus and gladly allowed to be made a king.
As Jesus says in Matthew 6:33, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all other things shall be added to us. Remain focused as you run the Christian race just as athletes always do. Don’t lose your focus. Paul says, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14 New King James Version).
No one can serve two masters; he will either hate one and love the other, or be loyal to one and despise the other (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13). Hebrews 12:2-3 says, “We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Then he received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God” (GOD’S WORD Translation).
Don’t lose your focus on your mission or God’s purpose for your life. Jesus didn’t. That’s why He refused to get involved in the sharing of a family inheritance, Jesus refused when asked to do so. That was not part of part of Jesus’ mission on the earth. He was not anointed for it! “Then one from the crowd said to Him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ But He said to him, ‘Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?’ And He said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:13-15).
Remain focused on your destiny or God’s assignment for you, and let nothing derail you from its pursuit. Don’t go here and there; don’t wander away from your life’s mission; don’t get involved in everything. Have the right focus and don’t lose your focus. “In conclusion, brothers, focus your thoughts on what is true, noble, righteous, pure, lovable or admirable, on some virtue or on something praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8-9 Complete Jewish Bible).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to have the right focus and not lose my focus. I shall keep my eyes focused on what is right, and look straight ahead to what is good in Jesus’ name.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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