Monday, February 15, 2016

Stay Focused on the Right Thing

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

You can be full of joy even when life seems to be falling apart, if you stay focused on your purpose and not your problems.

The Apostle Paul is a great example of that. He was in a Roman prison, far away from home. The time of his execution was near. He had no freedom and privacy now; he was chained to a guard every minute of every day. Humanly speaking, it wasn’t a happy time for Paul. 

Even though he was stripped of the basic things of life, Paul remained joyful because he stayed focused on the right thing, his purpose in life — serving God by serving others. With that, he told the Philippian Christ followers that as long as he remained in life, “I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith” [Philippians 1:25].

One of my all-time favorite books is, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. He survived Nazi death camps and became a renowned Jewish psychiatrist. He was separated from his family and friends who were killed, some by bullets and some by gas. He described a day when everything was stripped away, and he stood naked before a Gestapo officer. A powerful (may I say, divine) revelation came to him. It was something that sustained him during the horror of the Holocaust; the Nazis could take everything away from him but one thing—how he chose to respond to his circumstance. 

There are many things in life that are beyond our control. It does make life difficult at times. If we focus on those things, life can be miserable. But if we focus on the right thing, God’s purpose for our lives — serving God by serving others — we can, like Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always” [Philippians 4:4]. 

If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet, what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith. Philippians 1:22-25

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