FOCUS: Letting Go of Nice Things That Don’t Matter
“circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.”
Paul’s absolute focus gave him an absolute willingness to let go of nice things that didn’t matter. Notice some items that he discarded:
1. His heritage: a Hebrew of the Hebrews (v. 5)
2. His pure lineage: from the tribe of Benjamin (v. 5)
3. His former legalism: a strict Pharisee (v. 5)
4. His past zeal: a persecutor of the church (v. 6)
5. His self-righteousness: a blameless life (v. 6)
Paul so narrowed his focus that he discarded not only the things he once counted as gain, but he counted everything as garbage for the sake of obtaining Christ! He would lose it all if that allowed him to gain intimacy with Christ (Phil. 3:8, 9).
Leaders who change the world have this kind of sharp focus. Think about the leaders of the Bile and the focus they had to bring about revolutionary change:
1. Abraham left his homeland, wealth, and friends for a new land because he focused on an unseen kingdom.
2. Joseph had strength to endure hardship and prisons because his dream focused on the greatness of God.
3. Moses could turn his back on Egypt because he focused on God’s plan.
“21” Crucial Qualities of Christians: #8 - FOCUS
I. The Quality Defined
a. Matt. 6:33
II. Nehemiah Ignores the Opposition
a. Neh. 6:1-15
III. Jesus Helps Peter Regain His Focus
a. John 21:1-22
IV. Paul Puts His Life in Perspective
a. Phil. 3:7-14
a. Matt. 6:33
Knowing and Doing
I. We MUST Know, We Can Succeed
a. 1 Pet. 5:7; Matt. 11:28; 2 Cor. 11:22-28; Phil. 4:11-13; Phil. 3:13-14
b. 1 Cor. 10:13; James 1:12-15
c. 1 Pet. 1:6-9; Rom. 8:16-18
d. Rom. 8:31-39; Rom. 12:9-13; Acts 17:30-31
II. We MUST Choose
a. Matt. 6:24; Matt. 7:13-14; Matt. 11:28; Eph. 1:3; 1 John 3:1-3
b. Prov. 12:26; 1 Cor. 15:33; Rom. 12:1-2; Gal. 5:19-21; Psalm 1:1-6; John 8:31-32
III. We MUST Get involved
a. Rom. 12:9-15; Heb. 10:24-25
b. 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Thess. 5:17; Rom. 12:9-15
FOCUS: The Danger of Too Many Pursuits
We can learn from Solomon’s costly mistakes. This King of Israel desperately pursued several unrelated goals in a vain attempt to satisfy himself. Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 provides a good example of a leader who didn’t know how to get what he wanted.
By the time Solomon wrote these words, he had reached a high level of success – but still felt empty. He couldn’t put his finger on why fulfillment continued to escape him. Because he lacked focus, he searched high and low, experimenting with all kinds of goals, yet never achieved satisfaction. Sadly, he attempted to solve an inward problem with an outward solution.
The old axiom remains true: if you chase two rabbits, both will escape. This was certainly true of Solomon’s futile attempts to reach his varied goals. (He pursued eight goals in Ecclesiastes 2 alone!). So, what can we learn from this leader about focus?
1. He pursued too many things in too short a time.
2. He pursued the wrong goals to reach his desired outcome.
3. His self-serving goals were all wrong.
4. He despaired because he never identified what he really wanted.