WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
OCTOBER 1, 2022
TOPIC: REMAIN FOCUSED AND PERSEVERE
BY T. O. BANSO
“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 3:13-14 New King James Version).
Focus and perseverance are some of the important components of the discipline you need to cultivate to fulfill God’s purpose for your life whether in the ministry, business, academics, or anything else God may want you to do.
Being focused will make you set your eye on the goal (on your purpose) amid attractive offers, competing demands, or distractions. Paul said, “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 3:13-14 New King James Version).
You must learn how to focus on your goals to the exemption of others. Look at an example of focus in the life of Jesus: “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. When they found Him, they said to Him, ‘Everyone is looking for You.’ But He said to them, ‘Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth’” (Mark 1:35-38 New King James Version).
The point is: why were they looking for Jesus? Their reason was not superior to the urgent need to take the gospel to other regions. Preaching the gospel was superior to sitting down to entertain the curiosity of some people or giving in to some misguided people who wanted to turn him into a celebrity like they tried to do in John 6:14-15 when they wanted to take Jesus by force, to make him a king.
Verse 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). Someone who was not well-focused would have willingly made himself available to be a king and derail from his God-assigned mission. However, Jesus couldn’t be distracted by a visit or honour that wasn’t beneficial to fulfilling his purpose. He escaped to a mountain alone.
Have the right focus in life and remain focused. That a venture or cause is good doesn’t make it right for you. “You say, ‘I am allowed to do anything’—but not everything is good for you. You say, ‘I am allowed to do anything’—but not everything is beneficial” (1 Corinthians 10:23 New Living Translation). Some things could be right for others but not for you. God’s plan is not the same for everybody.
The conversation between Peter and Jesus in John 21:20-22 underscores this point. Here is what the passage says: “Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is going to betray you?’) When Peter saw him, he asked, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me’” (New International Version).
The relevance of what Jesus told Peter is not to get involved in what is not your business. Verse 22 in the New Century Version says, “Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to live until I come back, that is not your business. You follow me.” At his conversion, Saul (Paul) asked the Lord, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” (Acts 9:6). Paul focused on what God wanted him to do. Proverbs 4:25 says, “Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you” (New King James Version). Focus on what you believe that God wants you to do and refuse to be distracted even by either the wrong things or the right things others may be doing. Right things could distract you from your goal as much as wrong things can.
In addition to maintaining focus, you must persevere. Perseverance means persistence, endurance, pressing on, etc. Jesus pressed on till he finished his assignment. Jesus told the church in Philadelphia, “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 3:10 New King James Version).
Persevere in the pursuit of goals that are in line with God’s will for your life. Luke 13:22 says, “He went from city to city and village to village, teaching as he went, always pressing onward toward Jerusalem” (The Living Bible).
Paul said he had not reached his goal but he pressed on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of him (Philippians 3:12). He continued to run and struggle to take hold of the prize. Even when the wind is contrary, persevere, and keep rowing your boat, Jesus will show up as He did when the wind was contrary to His disciples (Matthew 14:23-33).
Don’t focus on the problems; focus on God. Don’t surrender your goals to the wind; keep pressing on. Endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3). Press on even when you’re pressed on every side by troubles. Paul said he was hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed, and was perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). Don’t be discouraged by the challenges of life, and don’t become complacent or self-satisfied. Forget the past and look forward to what lies ahead.
As seen in Philippians 3:12, Paul at a time said he had not arrived and was still pressing on but a time came when, just as Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30), Paul also said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7 New King James Version). Heaven should be your number one goal as you pursue any other goal that God may want you to pursue. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2). Fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession (Hebrews 3:1). You will not miss heaven in Jesus’ name. You will finish your race and finish well.
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 focus on my goals amid distractions and persevere. Deliver me from every distraction and help me to persevere. Father, restore all those who have derailed from the assignments you gave them; let them regain their focus and persevere as they pursue their goals.
(For over 800 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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