Thursday, October 2, 2008

Focus--A Prelude to Obedience

The beauty of loving to learn is that you can always find a lesson somewhere. As I work on training harder and training correctly, I’m also learning how to focus. I would like to say that I do everything I do with a purpose, a direct focus. But as I study my life, I realize that I am not focused on what should be my number 1 priority. What is it? I’m glad you asked!

One thing I remember from high school discussions with friends is the first question in the Westminster shorter catechism: What is the chief end of man? Or, asked another way: What is your purpose here on this earth? Before I give you the answer, I’d like to you think about that. As you work, why do you do it, and to what end? When you play, why do you do it, and to what end? When you speak, when you build relationships, when you relax, when you do whatever you do, why do you do it, and to what end?

The answer in the catechism is this: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. I would love to write out the verses that support this, but instead I encourage you to look them up and study them yourselves. (1. Glorifying God: Psalm 86:9; Isaiah 60:21; Romans 11:36; I Corinthians 6:20; I Corinthians 10:31; Revelation 4:11. 2. Enjoying Him forever: Psalm 16:5-11; Psalm 144:15; Isaiah 12:2; Luke 2:10; Philippians 4:4; Revelation 21:3-4).

I’ve read through the entire Bible before, but I have not yet learned everything God has to teach me, so I’ll continue reading it. Every day I find new lessons and am far more impacted by the verses I read than I thought I could be. I recently remembered the following verses, which remind me why I’m here and what my purpose is:

Philippians 3:12–16 Not that I have already attained [the resurrections from the dead], or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.

Paul continues by reminding me that my life is an example to others. Not only should I be obeying God, I should be reflecting Christ to all those I come in contact with, so that they can come to know Him and trust in Him.

Philippians 3:17–21 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

Everything I do has to be with a purpose. That includes the basics such as work and play, but it also includes the other things, such as training, racing, eating, resting, recovering, and more. In essence, everything I do is part of my training, whether it be training to be the best ambassador for Christ that I can be or the best triathlete that I can be.

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