A Better Way: Living a Focused Life
Whether you want to improve your health, strengthen your relationships, or grow in your faith, if you don’t set a goal then your goal is to stay the same. When we have a clear focus, we can achieve things we never thought possible. If you want God to use you in great ways, you need focus. The more focused you are, the more effective you’ll be—and the more God will use you.
Bottom line: If we follow a focused Jesus, we should be living a focused life.
Something To Talk About:
- Called to be loved by God: John 13:34-35 says, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” Jesus loved and embraced those the religious people of His day abused and discarded. He was compassionate. He wasn’t irritated by skeptics. He embraced their questions. He accepted the unacceptable. Jesus loved poor people, thieves, diseased people, and prostitutes. He loved people who followed Him and those who shunned Him. He has called us to love, which means we are capable of doing so. Even if we have been hurt. Even if we have been lied to or mistreated. Loving may look like forgiving someone, or accepting or honoring them even though it may seem difficult. Loving like Jesus does not happen by our own will. We can only love like He loves when we are full of His unconditional love.
- Called to belong: You’re not just called to love, you are called to belong.The Bible says, “God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory…” (Hebrews 2:10) God doesn’t want His children to be orphans. He puts them in a family, and God’s family is called the church. You are called to belong to His church. That means the church is not an event. It’s not a building. It’s not something you go to. The church is something you belong to. It’s a relationship. You’re called to be a part of a family with all the other people God has called. Church is not a burden or a rule or a requirement. It is a family, and you will only ever get to know God and His purpose for your life when you are in community with God’s family. Belonging to the church will be one of the greatest blessings and sources of encouragement in your life.
- Called to become: Most of us had big dreams of what we would be when we grew up. Maybe it was a baseball player or a ballerina or the president. For most of us, the reality is different than the dream. But here’s something you need to know: You have been called to become something significant. Or more precisely, you’ve been called to become like someone significant. The Bible says, “God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Romans 8:29) God does want you to become godly—to become like Him. He wants you to take on the characteristics of Jesus, who is loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, self-controlled, and gentle. (Galatians 5:22-23) Will that kind of growth happen overnight? Absolutely not. Will it happen easily? No. But you’ll get there. Next time you think about the fruit of the Spirit and get discouraged at how far you still have to go, remember this: God isn’t finished with you yet! He is still working to make you more like Jesus.
- Call to bless: The moment you begin following Jesus, God forgives you, He gives you eternal life, He gives you the Holy Spirit, and He gives you special abilities. Those special abilities are called spiritual gifts, which makes them different from material or physical gifts. They are the abilities you need to get the job done that God wants you to do. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.” God has a purpose for your life, and your spiritual gifts are the equipment He gives you to do what He asks you to do. God will never ask you to do something He doesn’t give you the ability to do. It’s given to you the moment you accept Christ. You don’t get to choose your gift. You don’t earn your gift and it’s not for your benefit. Spiritual gifts are given to you to help other people. And other people in the church family are given their gifts to help you. When you use your spiritual gift, the people in your church get blessed. When we develop and use our spiritual gifts, we all will be blessed.
- Called to be sent: God has called you to be a minister. Maybe you’ll never preach a sermon or officiate at a wedding or a funeral. But if you’re a follower of Jesus, you’re a minister. God has called you to be a bi-vocational minister. What does that mean? Think of the word “bifocal.” Those are the glasses that allow someone to see two things at the same time—both far away and up close—with clarity. When you follow Jesus, you do everything for two reasons, not one: to help others and to honor God. That makes you a bi-vocational minister, whether you’re a truck driver, an attorney, a janitor, or a stay-at-home parent. You have a job, but in that job, you work to help others and to honor God. The Bible says it like this in Colossians 3:17: “And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Whatever you do, do it in the name of Jesus. Taking out the garbage, changing a dirty diaper, and cleaning the living room can all be ministries. When you look at life from this perspective, everything you do becomes significant.
- What in our culture makes it difficult to focus on Christ above everything else?
- Ephesians 1:4-5 above indicates that God loved us before He even made the world having planned to adopt us into His own family. God’s love for us is constant on both our good and bad days. What does that mean to you?
- What role has the church played in your life? What emotions do you experience when you’re told that you’re called to belong to the church?
- How can you commit yourself more fully to your church family?
- What is one step you can take now that you know God blesses us so we can bless others?
- What gifts has God given to you? How are you using them to serve others? How do you think God wants you to use them for the benefit of others?
- How does the Bible’s teaching to do everything for the Lord change your perspective on tasks you might otherwise consider unimportant?
- How does your calling as a bi-vocational minister impact how you look at your work?
- What’s a task in your life that you struggle to think about in terms of helping others and honoring God? Why do you think that’s so?
- What part of this message will stay with you? Why? What are the personal implications for you?
Take one thing home with you:
What does Jesus see when He looks at you? Most likely He sees an average, imperfect person, who is impulsive at times, and who often speaks without thinking. Jesus sees a person that He loves and someone that He wants to be His follower. If you have committed your life to Jesus….be encouraged. He does not expect you to be perfect and never make mistakes. Just get up when you fall and try again. Keep your focus on Jesus.
If you have not committed your life to Jesus, you need to understand that there is no one else who accepts you and loves you the way Jesus does.