by Chip Hinds

Stay Focused – Don’t Lose Sight of the Goal (Borrowed with permission from the Southwest District Superintendent’s Blog)

Greetings and peace in the name of Jesus Christ. If the current circumstances are consuming more time and attention than you know you should be giving them, this post is for you. If you want to become super-charged to be a blessing to God and humanity, this post is for you. If you want to be bored and be a consumer of others’ service to you, this post is not for you.

Looking for good and faithful soldiers

Much more than the Marines, we are looking for good and faithful soldiers, willing to march into death and receive life forevermore. Do not worry. I am not talking about the fallacies of other religions. This is Christlike life motivated by a changed nature that is godly, being designed by the Almighty.

Today’s post is to those of you who are already the disciples of Jesus Christ. If you have not become a disciple of Jesus Christ, of course, you may read the post. I hope you do. You may get a sense of the real nature of our life in Christ, how it is oftentimes challenging, but it is full of hope with a purpose to live and a promise for eternity.

Accepting Jesus as your Lord

But most importantly, if you are seeking and have not yet accepted Jesus as your Lord, this post cannot help you eternally until you are born again. Jesus Christ lived without sin, died and rose again to redeem you from destruction. Don’t waste that precious gift. God bought it and is presenting it to you. It was offered only once for all time.

I’m not saying you may not get another chance to accept this free gift to you, you may or may not. I am saying, it isn’t coming back around for God to do another take to do it better. This is it. Therefore, please do contact me or someone whom you know is already a believer walking in the Way, which is Jesus Christ, and let us share Jesus with you, the peace we have, the love that reigns in our hearts, and the hope we have beyond the circumstances of this existence.

Jesus as both your Savior and your Lord

Or, if you are experiencing the call of God upon your heart and accept him here and now, contact me and tell me of your decision to repent of your sins and to get to know Jesus as both your Savior and your Lord in your life.  When that happens, I have more good news for you. Jesus will not leave you alone but will put the Holy Spirit in you with a new birth, making you a new creation. The Holy Spirit, Christ in you, will begin changing your heart through his Divine power to make you more like him and less like you used to be.

Even if you were a good person compared to others in the world, you will be transformed into a child of God and become an adopted brother to Jesus Christ and joint-heirs with him in glory. You will become more than you have ever been or dreamed of being. Others may not see it. But you and God will know you are now a heavenly Kingdom citizen with all its responsibilities and benefits.

Making disciples for Jesus Christ

Okay, so I got a little carried away. I always do. That is my calling. I am to be making disciples for Jesus Christ, first and foremost, in everything I do. If you want to join me on this Great Mission (Great Commission), I am always recruiting soldiers for the Kingdom of heaven. No, we don’t fight against others. Most of our battles are within our own hearts as we battle between the flesh and the spirit to grow into the person God is calling us to be.

Yes, we do regularly find ourselves on mission, day in and day out. This is not a spectator sport for entertainment. This is a team activity because the Lord is coming back for his Church, one body, made up of all true believers, whether in this denomination or another. The Lord knows. That is not my job.

My job is to help you become all God intends you to be in his Kingdom, to teach, coach, and facilitate you in your heavenly assignment to be successful. That I can do, to whatever degree you are willing to go and to do. You will set your limits, not me. I only want whatever Jesus Christ wants for you. This much I know, it isn’t anything trivial. It will be able to glorify God, edify the Church, and produce much fruit through the power of the gospel.

The Great Commission

The goal for me, of which I must not lose sight, is the gospel in the Great Commission, to evangelize and make disciples, and submit myself to my King, that means surrendering my will to his desires and designs. I am his prisoner and slave. Oh, yes, if I haven’t mentioned it in a way you noticed, being a prisoner and slave of Jesus Christ is a sure way to have a high ranking government position in the Kingdom of heaven as an ambassador for the King into the governments of this world and to become an heir of the riches in eternity. Not bad for being a prisoner and a slave is it? I like it.

Here is a way for you to remember all I have said above, “Focus On Jesus and Follow His Plan,” “Be United Together as one entity in Jesus Christ.”  In following God’s plan for your life, you will do like I do, only on a greater scale. It is true because you will be joining me in your walk with God, right here where we are. However, when I am done, you will go even farther and do even greater things. The future is bright for all those who walk with me as I walk with Christ.

Joining in the Kingdom cause of Jesus Christ

Please let me know what you choose to do. I am a recruiter for the Kingdom of heaven and a trainer of soldiers.  I am not a nursemaid to leave you where you are or make you as comfortable in your misery as possible. That is not what I do. Joining in the Kingdom cause of Jesus Christ means engaging and entering realms and activities you may have thought were never in your future. God knows. You will experience peace in your heart. That I can promise.

You may encounter pain and suffering; of that I am reasonably sure. But whether easy or difficult, it will be worth the experience and a priceless adventure. I can honestly say, even if I could, I do not want to change the pains of my past. I have learned too much from them and have been able to be more productive because of them. God knows.

Disciples of Jesus Christ

As I mentioned when I started, this post is especially for those who are already disciples of Jesus Christ. So, I will greet you as I often do the assembled Church of believers.

Greetings, servants of the most high God, soldiers of the cross, saints by the will of God, and my dear family in Christ Jesus. I greet you in the name of Jesus with peace, joy, hope and love from my heart to yours. Wow! It is good to be ministry partners with you. God sure knows what he is doing.

The message I’m wanting to share with you in this post is very similar to the gospel shared above to anyone who might be reading and has not yet submitted their life to God for his use and their transformation.

Focus on Jesus and Follow his Plan

Here is your message:  Focus on Jesus and Follow his Plan. Do not get distracted. Stay focused.

You are not the first one to ever face distractions, nor will you be the last. So, train those you are leading to be productive and not to become distracted or tempted to lose sight of the goal. Yes, we are in a horrific pandemic.  People are getting sick in large numbers. People are dying and it is beginning to look like the United States of America is making an executive administrative decision to get on with business and let those die who must so the dollar can reign supreme and …, I’ll not get political. Pray for our leaders. They need your prayers.

Back to the point, you and everyone else face distractions, or temptations to be distracted, or worse, on a regular basis. So, it is essential for your success that you not let temptations to sin or distractions have an influence on you and what you do.

An ambassador for King Jesus

You were not born-again to marvel at the circumstances of your life. You were born-again, made a new creation, to be an ambassador for King Jesus. So, get on with the task and do not let your head and heart be caught up in the passing circumstances wherein we find ourselves, or more particularly, yourself.

Let’s look to the Word of God for some encouragement in not becoming distracted.

You know this passage by heart, but how often do we apply the last petition before the final doxology?  What is that one?  Well, let’s read it and find out.

Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV)

  9. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

11. Give us this day our daily bread.

12. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13.And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:”

That is it!

Do not be distracted

Do not be distracted. Practice “planned neglect” to other things that sometimes even seem noble but are not what God is calling you to do. Incidentally, God is calling you to do the same thing he has called me to do and every other believer to do, go make disciples: baptizing them, teaching them everything he has taught us, and to train them to make disciples also. Do not be distracted; give priority to God.

Here is another key point that will help you avoid distraction. Do not be worried about your reputation, instead watch your character. Don’t fear men; fear God and do His will.

Don’t let your guard down

The devil is relentless when it comes to destroying God’s work.

  • Remember this, he never gives up. After one great event or a successful ministry, don’t let your guard down. It is not the end.
  • We need to be as watchful after the victory as before the battle. For after one hurdle, we can expect to see another. After solving one problem, we will find another coming up. The fight goes on.
  • First, like when Nehemiah was called to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem.  It may come to you as ridicule or threats of violence, or internal strife between your Ministry Partners and if you don’t become distracted with that, the temptation will be moved up a notch.
  • As with the work on the wall with Nehemiah, at first the enemies were coming against the work, and then against the people, then strife within the wall, between the rich and poor.
  • And, if that doesn’t distract you, then the enemy is going to come after you personally.  There is a principle at work here.  If the enemy can destroy or even distract the shepherd, the sheep will scatter.  Destroy the leader and the ministry will collapse.
  • The Christian life is a battle from beginning to end. We need to be on our guard all the time, to watch and pray so that we do not fall into temptation.

Please remember

Please remember, the devil tempted Jesus right at the beginning of His ministry.  Luke 4:13 says, “when the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.”

It is not the end; he is just waiting to strike again, another time. It is no different with you, dear friend and fellow laborer in Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Peter sure knew how to say it under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

1 Peter 5:8-12 (MSG)

  8. Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping.

  9. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith.

10. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ–eternal and glorious plans they are!–will have you put together and on your feet for good.

11. He gets the last word; yes, he does.

12. I’m sending this brief letter to you by Silas, a most dependable brother. I have the highest regard for him. I’ve written as urgently and accurately as I know how. This is God’s generous truth; embrace it with both arms!

We have talked about Nehemiah and the work he led. The work you are leading is exceptionally important.  Choose prime role models as the pattern for your leadership. Nehemiah is a good one, especially when it comes to avoiding distraction. He is top shelf. Let’s check it out:

Nehemiah 6:1-16 (NIV)

  1. When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it–though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates—
  2. Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.” But they were scheming to harm me;
  3. so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?”
  4. Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.
  5. Then, the fifth time, Sanballat sent his aide to me with the same message, and in his hand was an unsealed letter
  6. in which was written: “It is reported among the nations–and Geshem says it is true–that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king
  7. and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us meet together.”
  8. I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.”
  9. They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”
  10. One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home. He said, “Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple, and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you–by night they are coming to kill you.”
  11. But I said, “Should a man like me run away? Or should someone like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!”
  12. I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had prophesied against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
  13. He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me.
  14. Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, my God, because of what they have done; remember also the prophet Noadiah and how she and the rest of the prophets have been trying to intimidate me.
  15. So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.
  16. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.

That is it, dear friends. Stay focused. Do not be distracted. The Apostle Paul says it so eloquently:

Romans 8:14-39 (MSG)

14. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!

15. This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?”

16. God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children.

17. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us–an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!

18. That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times.

19. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next.

20. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in

21. until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

22. All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs.

23. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance.

24. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us.

25. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

26. Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless signs, our aching groans.

27. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God.

28. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

29. God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.

30. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.

31. So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose?

32. If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us?

33. And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen?

34. Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us–who was raised to life for us!–is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us.

35. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

36. They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

37. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us.

38. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing–nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow,

39. high or low, thinkable or unthinkable–absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

Focus on Jesus and Follow his Plan

May God be glorified, and the Lord be lifted high as this message is shared by you and me throughout our existence. Don’t fumble the ball or miss the message because of some distraction or temptation. There is one plan here:  Focus on Jesus and Follow his Plan.

Be strong and courageous in Jesus Christ, dear friend. You are on the right path. Follow the Way into eternity.  God knows what he is doing with you, his child, his servant, slave and prisoner. Become one with Jesus and you are one with the Father. No distractions. Stay Focused.

The LORD bless you and keep you,

The LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you,

The LORD lifts his countenance upon you and give you peace.