Crossways Concepts

Because it is all about the cross...

Insights from the scripture as lead by the Holy Spirit

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Keeping Focused

We spend our lives trying to do the right thing.  We read in our Bible and listen to sermons about so many different things that we should be doing.  Then the world has its own expectations about what a Christian should or should not be doing.  It seems that, as Christians, we have a “to do” list as long as your arm.  The problem: we just can't do it all.

If we are going to accomplish anything, then we have to prioritize.  Wouldn't it be nice if we could just accomplish one big thing and have our obligations to God out of the way?  Perhaps this was what Solomon thought as he undertook to build God's temple in Jerusalem.  This single building place was to be incredible and spectacular, but more than its visual splendor, it was to be the home for God on earth.  This one action succeeded in making Solomon famous, even today.

What is truly amazing about this project is how God viewed it:

The word of the Lord came to Solomon: As for this temple you are building—if you walk in My statutes, execute My ordinances, and keep all My commandments by walking in them, I will fulfill My promise to you, which I made to your father David.  I will live among the Israelites and not abandon My people Israel. (1 Kings 6:11-13)

So here is Solomon starting construction on this incredible marvel and God's one big concern is that the people should remain faithful.  While all the onlooking world might have said, “Wow!  This Solomon guy must really have it going on with his religion”, it is as if God is saying, “That's nice, but what about our relationship?”

There is a big difference between what the world thinks of as pleasing to God and what God really wants.  Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)  It is so easy for us to focus on what makes us look like a good Christians while we ignore what really makes us a good Christian.

Rather than all the external signs of Christianity, God is primarily concerned with with what is in our heart, specifically whether we have a real love-relationship with Him.  Yet, it is so hard to ignore all the “things” of the world.

Jesus addressed on fellow that was having problems with this.  Because Jesus is Jesus, He was able to see right through the man's act, to exactly what was in his heart.

    Just then someone came up and asked Him, "Teacher, what good must I do to have eternal life?"  
    "Why do you ask Me about what is good?" He said to him. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."
    "Which ones?" he asked Him.
Jesus answered,  “Do not murder; do not commit adultery;  do not steal; do not bear false witness;  honor your father and your mother; and love your neighbor as yourself.”
    "I have kept all these," the young man told Him. "What do I still lack?"
    "If you want to be perfect," Jesus said to him, "go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me."
    When the young man heard that command, he went away grieving, because he had many possessions. (Matthew 19:16-22)

It is so very interesting that when Jesus listed out commandments the man should be following, He named only those commandments that are externally visible.  This was because Jesus recognized the man's condition: while he wanted God, he wasn't willing to ignore the visible things and focus only on the unseen things.  With this focus in his life, he will never be able to please God.

When Jesus suggested to the man that he should give away his wealth, it wasn't because the money is inherently bad, but He wanted the man to recognize that there was a decision he had to make.  There are the things the world identifies as important, but there are a different set of things that God wants for us.

The challenge for us, is the same challenge that Solomon had, while we live in this world, doing the things we need to do, not to lose track of the really important.  Even when we are doing God's work, that still isn't as important as maintaining our relationship with Him.  Always remember that our primary commandment is not about works or actions, it is about loving the Lord (Matthew 22:37).  While this love-relationship isn't visible and doesn't seem to even be important, as the world views importance, it is critical for our spiritual health.

If the message of the whole Bible could be condensed into a sentence, it might be: Love God first, then everything else will fall into place.

©2010-2014, Crossways Concepts
Lexington, Ky

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