“This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13–14).
“It is a fact that those whose lives are daily being conformed to the Word and purposes of God will be given the ability to see issues more plainly.” — Malcolm Watts
“Life can only be understood by looking backward, but it must be lived by looking forward.” — Source Unknown
“What I see affects what I think. What I think affects how I feel. How I feel affects what I do.” — Harold Vaughan
Paul purposely uncluttered his life. He narrowed his focus: “This one thing I do.” He refused to give any thought to the past by deliberately neglecting those things and “forgetting those things which are behind.” Someone once said, “A well-trained memory is one that permits you to forget everything that isn’t worth remembering.” Learn the art of intentional forgetfulness! When asked about an unpleasant matter, one man said, “Yes, I distinctly remember forgetting that.”
The Apostle Paul left yesterday behind, and you can too! Instead of looking back, he chose to “reach” and “stretch toward” the mark. Paul lived in the moment and gave himself fully to his calling. He was obsessed with his assignment. He had only one goal, and he refused to be side-tracked. He stuck to his mission with laser-like precision. The reason he accomplished so much was because of this single-minded focus. If you keep looking back, you will go back — so adopt a forward focus!
Whatever captures your focus has mastered you. One of my friends has an aggressive cancer and is receiving treatment from the National Institutes of Health. His physicians have told him to concentrate on living his life, instead of envisioning his demise. Here’s good advice: “Instead of preparing to die, start preparing to live.” Don’t give mental air time to the “what ifs” in life. Live each moment to the fullest. Instead of mourning over what you have lost, be grateful for what you have left.
Concentration on your purpose gives birth to passion, and passion imparts energy. Find a man excited about his mission, and you will find a motivated man. Focusing on your God-given assignment will energize you.
But attempting to do too many things is exhausting. Let’s face it — we only have so much energy, so much time, and so much capacity. Focus is the elimination of the unimportant and the subtraction of the nonessential. Focus is reducing your thoughts and labor to the designated task at hand. You must discover the purpose for which God created you and refuse to get sidetracked from it. Your assignment is not what you decide to do, but the discovery of who you were designed to be. You don’t decide your mission; you discern it. Knowing your assignment generates energy and passion. But don’t jump into things which divert you from your mission. Steering clear of distractions is always the challenge. Never allow people to pull you away from your assignment. Passion is maintained by narrowing your focus to the purpose for which God created you and giving full attention to your calling. Then go for broke and enjoy the ride!
J. Charles Stern said, “The outlook may be dark, but if we know the secret of the up-look . . . we shall find our God is able to deliver.” What are you focusing on? Your focus is important because it creates your feelings. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee” (Isa. 26:3). Focusing on the Master is the key to mastering your focus. Whatever breaks your focus has mastered you. Turmoil, problems, people, temptation, and a host of other joy-robbers will assault you to divert your thinking, but you alone are responsible for what you pay attention to.
So stop right now and purposely narrow your focus to the Lord and your God-ordained assignment. Paul said, “This one thing I do.” Get in the secret place, turn your eyes upon Jesus, worship Him, and be judicious of the things you obsess over. Get your focus right, and your strength will increase.
- Do you distinctly remember forgetting what is behind you?
- What is distracting you today, and how can you get rid of it?
- Are you looking out or up?