Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Regaining Focus

Philippians 1:1-6

     This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Jesus Christ. It is written to all of God’s people in Philippi, who believe in Christ Jesus, and to the elders and deacons.
     May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
     Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. I always pray for you, and I make my requests with a heart full of joy because you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.

     Our devotion today takes us to another book that is authored by Paul, the book of Philippians. Paul wrote this book/letter to the church in Philippi from his prison cell in Rome. Paul planted the Philippian church on one of his missionary journeys and this letter was to thank those believers for the gift of money they had sent to him and also to bring encouragement to them as they continued to faithfully live for the Lord.

     Paul had a way of always starting each letter with a prayer and an uplifting, encouraging word for the recipients. Even when he had to bring correction into a situation, he always prefaced that correction with positive, encouraging words first. Boy, we could learn a lot from that example!

     The Philippians were faithful followers who believed in Paul and his mission, to the point where they helped to support him financially. He was their spiritual Father who had sacrificially poured into their lives in many different ways and because of that they were willing to pour back into his life.

     As Christians, we need to do the same thing. We all have leaders and mentors who have sacrificially poured into our lives in many different ways, and we need to thank God for those individuals and be willing to pour back into their lives in any way that the Lord leads us. We need to be willing to bless them so that they may continue to be a blessing to others.

     Paul also had the spiritual wisdom to understand that the growth that was taking place in individual’s lives had nothing to do with him, but everything to do with the Lord. He was a vessel that God was able to work and speak through, but true spiritual growth and wisdom came from God himself. He was very clear in letting the believers know that it was God that began a good work in them and it would be that same God that would continue working in them until they went on into eternity. Whether Paul lived or died, stayed in prison or was set free, really didn’t matter. They needed to keep their eyes and hearts firmly focused on God, not on Paul or any other leader of their time. Who they were and where they were going was all in God’s hands and He would lead them, guide them and care for them regardless of what was going on around them.

     We need to read that last paragraph and put ourselves in their place. Who we are and where we’re going has nothing to do with those around us but everything to do with the Lord. Friends, Pastors and leaders may come and go in our lives, but that doesn’t change what God is doing in us. We may try to blame our lack of spiritual growth and direction on others, but in reality, we are the only ones that can take the blame. It is God that started a work in us and it is only the same God that will finish the work in us. We tend to look at others to feed us, pamper us and push us along and we need to put our big boy/girl panties on and take responsibility for our own walk with Lord. It is then and only then that we will understand that it doesn’t matter what happens to those around us, the only thing that matters is what happens through us.

     Has God begun a good work in you? Do you struggle believing that He will continue that good work in you? Have you lost track of where you’re going because you’ve taken your eyes off of God and looked at the people around you and what’s going on in their lives? Take some time today to regain your focus. Repent for placing people in the position of authority that only God should hold. Ask God to help you to realign your focus on Him and Him alone.

Have a great day!

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