HUGH’S NEWS & VIEWS
KEEPING OUR SPIRITUAL FOCUS
Cleon Lyles was one of the great pulpiteers in churches of Christ in the mid-twentieth century. Frequently, brother Lyles would begin a sermon by saying, “Now let’s think about some things before we think about some other things.” This was his way of saying that before we can understand some things there are some other things on which we need to gain some clarity.
As Christians, we know what we need to think about most in life: 1) God, His greatness, goodness, power, love, mercy, grace, care and protection; 2) Christ, His life, teaching, death for our sins, burial, resurrection, ascension, coronation, reign, intercession, and second coming; 3) the church, the privilege of membership in it and our involvement, service, spiritual growth, and worship experienced therein. These are the things that we want to think about and give priority to in our lives. I believe that the vast majority of Christians are sincere in their faith and really do want to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).
But then there is the reality of everyday life. We live in a busy world. Life is fast, frenetic, and demanding. We all have to earn a living, make mortgage or rent payments, car payments, utility payments. We have to buy groceries, clothes, insurance, and take care of the medical needs of ourselves and our families. Our children (or grandchildren) are involved in a multiplicity of activities, each demanding a piece of our time and involvement. There are deadlines and expectation of all kinds to be met. In such a world how do we keep our spiritual focus?
Consider these words from the apostle John writing near the end of the first century: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure” (I John 3:1-3).
Summarizing the above text, John tells us that before we get too caught up in thinking about the things of this life we need to: 1) reflect on God’s love that enabled us to become His children, 2) recognize that the world does not know us (in the sense that it does not accept our religious convictions and moral standards), 3) realize that something better is waiting for us after this life, and 4) remember that with Christ’s second coming we shall be like Him. These are the “other things” that we need to think about and give priority to before we get too caught up in thinking about the things that consume most of our time and attention. The exhilarating truths enunciated by the apostle John will enable us to keep our spiritual focus!
Having entered a new year, let us stay focused on the things that really matter.
January 7, 2014