THE FOCUS OF LIFE

Last week I wrote about our purpose in life.  Wouldn’t it be different if that purpose, relationship with God, was our focus?  Jesus in Matthew chapter 6 tells us not to worry about our lives, what we will eat or drink, or what we will wear, but to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness.  He tells us to trust God to take care of food, drink and clothing.  I believe that Jesus is telling us that we can focus on our original purpose and trust his provision for the rest. It sounds like a pretty stress free life with a single focus, God.

Maybe, if we centered our concerns on the relational things like following the Ten Commandments or just follow Jesus’ shorter version, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and your neighbor as yourself, we’d find this life more simple and stress free.  We could actually live focused on a loving relationship with God.  However, I must be missing something, for I find it very difficult to keep my eyes on God. It seems every Christian I’ve met has a similar struggle.  What is the problem?

If you answered sin, I’m in full agreement with you.  We still have a sinful nature, and we live in a sinful, fallen world.  Sin separates us from God.  My relationship with him is constantly hindered by the things of this world.  I find it challenging to keep focused on God.  God’s kingdom and his righteousness are surely in my heart, but I’m constantly distracted by other desires and concerns.

I doubt that Jesus expected all striving on the earth to end when he spoke the words found in Matthew chapter 6.  The word “seek” then must be the key.  Ah, this is a quest.  My relationship with God builds as I seek him.  Even though I am haggard by so many distractions, I return time and time again to the ultimate goal, my relationship with him.  Jesus said seek and you will find.  I am therefore encouraged to continue on, not deterred, but ever seeking.  I so much want to overcome and be in constant close relationship with my heavenly father.  I know that he wants a close relationship with me, so I am always sure that I can count on his help.

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

Years ago, when I was in my late thirties, I had the opportunity to stand with my 5 brothers.  The youngest of them had grown into young adults, and there we stood six men.  I was taken by the sense of strength I felt as we stood there together.  Standing strong alone is admirable, but there is much greater strength when we stand together.  For Christians strength in numbers is both physical and spiritual.

Solomon talked about the physical advantage of working together, Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work.  My friend and I built a wedding arch for his daughter on Sunday afternoon.  When he came to my shop, he had a design in mind.  As we worked together, the design improved; and we had a great result.  The work also went twice as fast.  In addition to a good outcome for our labor, we had a lot of fun doing it.  If you add in the encouragement of my son and our wives we had a fulfilling experience.

In Matthew 18:19-20, Jesus addressed the spiritual advantage. “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”  I pray, and my wife prays; but when we pray together there is greater strength in our unity.  When we gather together with other believers, God’s presence is felt even more strongly.

I write this blog each week.  What I say is usually clear and well punctuated.  This would not be so without my wife’s exceptional editing skills.  We are better together.  Christians, let us join together and fulfill God’s desire that we love each other and work together in unity.  Not only will we be more successful, but we’ll have a lot of fun.  We really need each other. There is strength in numbers.