WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 11, 2021
TOPIC: MAINTAIN THE RIGHT FOCUS IN LIFE
BY T. O. BANSO
“Now as the king passed by, he cried out to the king and said, ‘Your servant went out into the midst of the battle; and there, a man came over and brought a man to me, and said, ‘Guard this man; if by any means he is missing, your life shall be for his life, or else you shall pay a talent of silver.’ While your servant was busy here and there, he was gone.” (1 Kings 20:39-40a New King James Version).
As part of delivering a prophecy to condemn King Ahab, one of the sons of the prophets said to his neighbour, by the word of the LORD, to strike him, but he refused. Then, he told him that because he had disobeyed the voice of the LORD, as soon as he departed from him, a lion would kill him. It happened exactly as he had said (1 Kings 20:35-36).
This son of the prophet found another man and told him to strike him. He did, inflicting a wound. Then, the prophet departed and waited for King Ahab by the road, disguising himself with a bandage over his eyes.
The story continues: “Now as the king passed by, he cried out to the king and said, ‘Your servant went out into the midst of the battle; and there, a man came over and brought a man to me, and said, ‘Guard this man; if by any means he is missing, your life shall be for his life, or else you shall pay a talent of silver.’ While your servant was busy here and there, he was gone” (verses 39-40a New King James Version).
Not knowing that what was presented before him was a symbolic prophecy about him, the king quickly replied, “So shall your judgment be; you yourself have decided it” (verse 40). After the king’s verdict, the prophet removed his bandage from his eyes and Ahab recognized him. The prophet said to him, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Because you have let slip out of your hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore your life shall go for his life, and your people for his people'” (verse 42 New King James Version).
My main interest in this symbolic prophecy is what this son of the prophet said to Ahab in verse 40a. He said, “While your servant was busy here and there, he was gone” (New King James Version). The man left the important assignment committed to his hands and was busy here and there. Thus, the man kept in his custody escaped.
That’s what happens when someone fails to maintain the right focus in life. He loses his place, assignment, destiny, etc. notwithstanding the potential, grace, gifts, among other virtues that he has. The New Living Translation renders verse 40a thus: “But while I was busy doing something else, the prisoner disappeared!” The Bible in Basic English says, “But while your servant was turning this way and that, he was gone.”
There are many things that can distract you from the right focus in life. These include delayed results, persecution, flattery, life’s challenges, and the seduction of success. Having discovered God’s will for your life, you must determine not to allow anything to distract you. Decide on the right focus and maintain it.
Don’t let delayed results or lack of visible results in what God has called you to do or even success move you out of His will. Don’t listen to flatterers. Endure persecutions. Persist in the face of life’s challenges. Be careful of mouth-watering promises that contradict the Word of God; beware of offers that are contrary to what God has called you to do. Don’t be seduced by the devil’s alternatives.
If Jesus were like some people today, he would have endorsed the plan to make him a king. But He knew that was not the purpose He came to the earth to fulfill. Imagine Jesus who is the King of kings, accepting to be made a king and sitting down in one palace, receiving homage from the Jews when God’s plan is for Him to receive worship from the entire world.
But John 6:15 says, “Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone” (New King James Version). Jesus did that because He maintained the right focus in His ministry. He was not distracted by the honour of men like many people, including some ministers of God, are.
That a cause is good does not mean it is right for you. That may be an assignment for some people. Maintain the right focus in life. Don’t dabble into what is not God’s purpose for you. Those who lose focus on their divine purpose eventually lose out both ways and live a sorrowful life full of regrets. As the adage goes, “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” You can’t chase two rabbits at the same time and think you’ll catch one. You’ll lose both. This is even truer in the pursuit of God’s purpose for your life. What is at stake is more than rabbits!
Don’t let anyone or anything shift your focus or distract you, even if the person is a fellow Christian or a respected man of God. It was the old prophet in Bethel that led astray the man of God from Judah. He lied to Him and didn’t allow him to maintain the right focus. God had sent him to prophesy against king Jeroboam for his evil deeds. This man of God rejected the offer of the king. Unfortunately, he failed to see through the deception of a fellow prophet. Because he disobeyed God, a lion killed him, as prophesied by the same old prophet, who had deceived him (1 Kings 13).
The servants of God in the Church in Thyatira were not seduced into idolatry and sexual immorality outside the church, but by someone in their midst, Jezebel, the self-proclaimed prophet (Revelation 2:20-21). Everybody must be vigilant to maintain the right focus.
Focus on what is needful, and not what is convenient. In Luke 10, Martha was distracted with much serving, but Mary was focused, listening to Jesus. Unfortunately, Martha sought the assistance of Jesus so that Mary could be distracted like her! But Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42 New King James Version).
Dwight L. Moody is often quoted as saying, “Give me a man who says this one thing I do, and not those fifty things I dabble in.” Paul said he focused on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. He pressed toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14). Maintain the right focus. Don’t dabble into different things.
Proverbs 4:25 says, “Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you” (New Living Translation). The apostle Paul says in Colossians 3:2, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (English Standard Version).
Focus on the right thing; you can’t be here and there and become all God wants you to be in life. Jesus put it this way: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24 English Standard Version).
World-renowned evangelist, Billy Graham, went to be with the LORD in 2018 at the age of 99 after over 60 years of fruitful and impactful ministry. The story is told that in 1945 when Billy Graham first preached to a large audience in America, there were two other ministers of God, evangelists, Chuck Templeton and Bron Clifford, who were also preaching powerfully and drawing a crowd. The three became friends but Templeton and Clifford appeared to have been more highly rated than Billy Graham.
But long before Graham died, Templeton and Clifford, both highly gifted preachers, had gone into oblivion. It all happened within ten years. By 1950, Templeton had quit the ministry to pursue a career in radio and television. He denied faith in Jesus Christ. He abandoned his high calling because he couldn’t maintain the right focus. He became an atheist. Nobody remembers him in a positive sense today. He is only remembered as a warning to others.
Similarly, Clifford went astray. By 1954, He was said to have become financially irresponsible, left his wife and his two Down syndrome children, and was no more in the ministry. Unfortunately, at just 35 years of age, Clifford, an alcoholic, died from cirrhosis of the liver in a motel. It was said that his last job was selling used cars and at his death, some pastors had to contribute money to buy a casket for his corpse to be shipped for burial in a cemetery for the poor. Clifford didn’t maintain the right focus in life and ministry.
Prayerfully decide on the right focus in life and maintain it. Be guided by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Let nothing distract you – not failure, not success, not wrong associations, or attractive offers. But you must start by seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit 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 resurrected 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 the palm tree and grow like the 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: Father, help me to have and maintain the right focus in life and ministry. Holy Spirit, deliver me from all distractions. Father, have mercy and on everyone who has gone astray from your plan and purpose for their lives; let them realize their errors, repent and return to You today.
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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