Focus    on Purpose
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
© Focus On Purpose July 2017 - 2018

Choose Life

“Every thought and action in your life

speaks of allegiance to God or to satan.

Both are empowered by your agreement.

Renewing your mind means learning to

recognize what comes from hell, and what

comes from Heaven, and agreeing with

Heaven.”

Bill Johnson

Life and Death have Been Set Before You…

Imagine for a moment that you have been given tickets for you and your family to go on a holiday of a lifetime. The days feel like months as you anticipate your departure date, and finally the day arrives. The car is packed, the house is locked, and you are backing out of your driveway. Driving towards the airport, the atmosphere in the car is electric; the jumble of words, laughter, and giggles, is like the crashing of waves on the seashore. Suddenly the car starts slowing down, it jerks violently, and finally cuts out completely. Your phone's GPS tells you that the nearest garage is two kilometres away. Being so full of adrenaline, you volunteer to run to the garage to get help while the rest of the family stays and watches over the luggage. Half an hour later, you return with the motor mechanic. As he prods and pulls at the various pipes and plugs, he tells you that the car needs to be towed to the garage so that he can work there. He assures you that it is not a big job and that you will soon be on your way. Finally the car is repaired, the account is settled and you are back on the road. The once electric atmosphere has become quiet and tense as you are now severely behind schedule. The tension eases as you enter that final stretch of road that leads to the airport. As the chatter begins to pick up, you hear the sound of a siren behind you. Checking to see if you need to move out of the way, you see the traffic police car drawing alongside you, telling you to pull over. In the press to get to the airport on time, you did not notice the speed limit. You explain the situation to the officer, but instead of sympathy, he uses the opportunity to press you for a bribe, slowly ambling around your car looking for something, anything, for which he can fine you. On principle you refuse to pay a bribe and pray that he will just write out the appropriate fine and let you go. Your prayer is answered as the officer eventually hands you the ticket and dismisses you. Now you are critically late. You pull into your parking bay at the airport just as your plane lifts off from the runway. In a trance-like state of horror and unbelief, you watch your dreams fly off into the distance. The next morning, you listlessly turn on the television just in time to hear the news that an aeroplane went down over the sea yesterday. There were no survivors.  With a vague sense of sorrow for this awful tragedy, you take a sip of your morning coffee, still bathing in the slough of self-pity. But what was that? You look up at the screen as the blood drains from your face and runs as icicles down your spine. The whole family are in the lounge now, each frozen in position, staring at the screen. Was that not your flight number? There were no survivors... ****** As you returned home after missing your flight, what would your emotions have been towards the unsympathetic and opportunistic cop who purposefully made you late?  Would you have easily forgiven him? Or would you have stewed in your resentment for a while, sharing your story of horror at every social gathering, for years to come? And now, after hearing the news the next morning, and as you begin to talk about what might have been, what are your feelings towards that unrighteous traffic officer, now? What is your resentment-level towards him, now? How difficult is it to forgive him, now? When we think of forgiveness, we sometimes see this requirement of God as a tough call, or even as climbing Mount Everest in a blizzard. We see it this way because we look through the lenses of our pain, or even the pain caused to others - in particular, our family or friends. But recently, the Holy Spirit suddenly flipped an optometrist's lens for me.   Paul tells us in Romans that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to (His) purpose." (Romans 8:28) All things. You cannot focus on two diverging points at the same time, you can only focus on one thing. When we focus on the offense, pain, resentment, and bitterness, we cannot see the good thing God is working. It is only as we forgive and release the person from our debtors’ book, that we can take our eyes off the offense, pain, resentment, and bitterness, and turn our focus towards God, watching for the good thing He is working out of our pain and offense.   This good thing has a purpose; the purpose being an encounter with the living God. Everything He does for us has the purpose of building relationship with Him. It always reveals His character and invites us into deeper trust and intimacy. The reason we hold onto resentment and bitterness, is because we want the other person to know they have offended and hurt us, and we want them to suffer in some way as a form of punishment or revenge, not so? But God tells us that He will avenge us, we are to forgive. We in turn, struggle with this because we know that God's nature is to forgive. Jesus died for the perpetrator too, and He will forgive that person just as He forgave us - that means that if the perpetrator turns to Jesus, their sin will be forgiven and they will NOT suffer for the pain they have caused us, right? But what if we could grasp hold of the fact that every bad thing that happens to us, has a seed of a new encounter with the living God, bringing healing and drawing us into deeper levels of warm intimacy? And herein lies His revenge! Remember, the person who hurt you has been nothing more a pawn in the hands of the powers of darkness, regardless of the conscious purposefulness of their actions. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers and principalities of darkness. Fighting flesh and blood is like being in a combat situation and using your rifle, to shoot the enemy's rifle. You will never win the war with that strategy, and you will probably die trying. But everything Darkness brings against us, directly, or indirectly through another person, God uses in a way that ushers us into a new and fresh encounter with Him. This encounter invites us into a deeper intimacy with Him, resulting in the strengthening and building of our faith and our testimony. And our testimony is one of the three weapons by which we overcome satan. (See Revelation 12:11) Every attack against us, carries a seed implanted by the hand of God, that causes the intended evil against us to backfire against satan. So, how can we hold resentment against someone who has simply opened a door and ushered us into a fresh, new, encounter with the living God! A new encounter that builds our faith, deepens intimacy with God, and builds our testimony; the testimony that makes us a more formidable enemy against the one who tried to destroy us. This is God's revenge! The problem is, we become so fixated on our pain and the person causing the problem, that we miss our encounter with God, thus missing the opportunity to grow our faith, deepen our intimacy, and build our testimony. In this process, instead of being strengthened, we weaken our position in battle. I am not, by any means, trivializing the difficulty of some of our trials, but God brings everlasting good in the place of temporary pain, as the author of Hebrews tells us : “… let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2) We get to choose where we fix our eyes. The place where we fix our eyes is the place of our focus, and our focus determines our destination. So, instead of holding on to offense, resentment, and bitterness, and thereby weakening your position in battle and opening yourself to the working of death in your life, watch expectantly for God, and embrace the life He brings. Release the offender through forgiveness, and watch expectantly for the good that God plans to bring from the wrong that was done. Then, look for the aspect of the character of Jesus, to which this good thing points; it's purpose is to build your faith and to draw you into deeper intimacy. Life and death have been set before us. Our focus, the place where we fix our eyes, determines our destination. What are you focusing on?
Prev Next
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
© Focus On Purpose July 2017 - 2018  

Choose Life

“Every thought and action in your

life speaks of allegiance to God or to

satan. Both are empowered by your

agreement. Renewing your mind

means learning to recognize what

comes from hell, and what comes

from Heaven, and agreeing with

Heaven.”

Bill Johnson

Life and Death have Been Set Before You…

Imagine for a moment that you have been given tickets for you and your family to go on a holiday of a lifetime. The days feel like months as you anticipate your departure date, and finally the day arrives. The car is packed, the house is locked, and you are backing out of your driveway. Driving towards the airport, the atmosphere in the car is electric; the jumble of words, laughter, and giggles, is like the crashing of waves on the seashore. Suddenly the car starts slowing down, it jerks violently, and finally cuts out completely. Your phone's GPS tells you that the nearest garage is two kilometres away. Being so full of adrenaline, you volunteer to run to the garage to get help while the rest of the family stays and watches over the luggage. Half an hour later, you return with the motor mechanic. As he prods and pulls at the various pipes and plugs, he tells you that the car needs to be towed to the garage so that he can work there. He assures you that it is not a big job and that you will soon be on your way. Finally the car is repaired, the account is settled and you are back on the road. The once electric atmosphere has become quiet and tense as you are now severely behind schedule. The tension eases as you enter that final stretch of road that leads to the airport. As the chatter begins to pick up, you hear the sound of a siren behind you. Checking to see if you need to move out of the way, you see the traffic police car drawing alongside you, telling you to pull over. In the press to get to the airport on time, you did not notice the speed limit. You explain the situation to the officer, but instead of sympathy, he uses the opportunity to press you for a bribe, slowly ambling around your car looking for something, anything, for which he can fine you. On principle you refuse to pay a bribe and pray that he will just write out the appropriate fine and let you go. Your prayer is answered as the officer eventually hands you the ticket and dismisses you. Now you are critically late. You pull into your parking bay at the airport just as your plane lifts off from the runway. In a trance-like state of horror and unbelief, you watch your dreams fly off into the distance. The next morning, you listlessly turn on the television just in time to hear the news that an aeroplane went down over the sea yesterday. There were no survivors.  With a vague sense of sorrow for this awful tragedy, you take a sip of your morning coffee, still bathing in the slough of self-pity. But what was that? You look up at the screen as the blood drains from your face and runs as icicles down your spine. The whole family are in the lounge now, each frozen in position, staring at the screen. Was that not your flight number? There were no  survivors... ****** As you returned home after missing your flight, what would your emotions have been towards the unsympathetic and opportunistic cop who purposefully made you late?  Would you have easily forgiven him? Or would you have stewed in your resentment for a while, sharing your story of horror at every social gathering, for years to come? And now, after hearing the news the next morning, and as you begin to talk about what might have been, what are your feelings towards that unrighteous traffic officer, now? What is your resentment-level towards him, now? How difficult is it to forgive him, now? When we think of forgiveness, we sometimes see this requirement of God as a tough call, or even as climbing Mount Everest in a blizzard. We see it this way because we look through the lenses of our pain, or even the pain caused to others - in particular, our family or friends. But recently, the Holy Spirit suddenly flipped an optometrist's lens for me.   Paul tells us in Romans that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to (His) purpose." (Romans 8:28) All things. You cannot focus on two diverging points at the same time, you can only focus on one thing. When we focus on the offense, pain, resentment, and bitterness, we cannot see the good thing God is working. It is only as we forgive and release the person from our debtors’ book, that we can take our eyes off the offense, pain, resentment, and bitterness, and turn our focus towards God, watching for the good thing He is working out of our pain and offense.   This good thing has a purpose; the purpose being an encounter with the living God. Everything He does for us has the purpose of building relationship with Him. It always reveals His character and invites us into deeper trust and intimacy. The reason we hold onto resentment and bitterness, is because we want the other person to know they have offended and hurt us, and we want them to suffer in some way as a form of punishment or revenge, not so? But God tells us that He will avenge us, we are to forgive. We in turn, struggle with this because we know that God's nature is to forgive. Jesus died for the perpetrator too, and He will forgive that person just as He forgave us - that means that if the perpetrator turns to Jesus, their sin will be forgiven and they will NOT suffer for the pain they have caused us, right? But what if we could grasp hold of the fact that every bad thing that happens to us, has a seed of a new encounter with the living God, bringing healing and drawing us into deeper levels of warm intimacy? And herein lies His revenge! Remember, the person who hurt you has been nothing more a pawn in the hands of the powers of darkness, regardless of the conscious purposefulness of their actions. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers and principalities of darkness. Fighting flesh and blood is like being in a combat situation and using your rifle, to shoot the enemy's rifle. You will never win the war with that strategy, and you will probably die trying. But everything Darkness brings against us, directly, or indirectly through another person, God uses in a way that ushers us into a new and fresh encounter with Him. This encounter invites us into a deeper intimacy with Him, resulting in the strengthening and building of our faith and our testimony. And our testimony is one of the three weapons by which we overcome satan. (See Revelation 12:11) Every attack against us, carries a seed implanted by the hand of God, that causes the intended evil against us to backfire against satan. So, how can we hold resentment against someone who has simply opened a door and ushered us into a fresh, new, encounter with the living God! A new encounter that builds our faith, deepens intimacy with God, and builds our testimony; the testimony that makes us a more formidable enemy against the one who tried to destroy us. This is God's revenge! The problem is, we become so fixated on our pain and the person causing the problem, that we miss our encounter with God, thus missing the opportunity to grow our faith, deepen our intimacy, and build our testimony. In this process, instead of being strengthened, we weaken our position in battle. I am not, by any means, trivializing the difficulty of some of our trials, but God brings everlasting good in the place of temporary pain, as the author of Hebrews tells us : “… let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2) We get to choose where we fix our eyes. The place where we fix our eyes is the place of our focus, and our focus determines our destination. So, instead of holding on to offense, resentment, and bitterness, and thereby weakening your position in battle and opening yourself to the working of death in your life, watch expectantly for God, and embrace the life He brings. Release the offender through forgiveness, and watch expectantly for the good that God plans to bring from the wrong that was done. Then, look for the aspect of the character of Jesus, to which this good thing points; it's purpose is to build your faith and to draw you into deeper intimacy. Life and death have been set before us. Our focus, the place where we fix our eyes, determines our destination. What are you focusing on?
Focus    on Purpose
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
Prev Next