Ray Stedman, faithful servant and longtime Senior Pastor of Peninsula Bible Church, used to say, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” Ray was right! The main thing, of course, is to keep our focus on the Lord God. But the main thing slips out of focus so easily, doesn’t it?
It reminds me of the first time I used bicycle pedal toe-clips. I was concentrating so hard on inserting my toes in the clips I totally forgot to keep pedaling the bike forward. In looking down at the dilemma of why one foot wouldn’t properly go into the clip, I lost sight of the main thing. Tilting, tilting, over… Once I got over the shock of smacking the pavement, I laughed my head off for being so absent minded. Hello…
My preoccupation with one thing compromised my ability to maintain focus on the most important thing—pedaling my bike forward. Yes, I eventually learned how to pedal and insert my feet into the clips without looking down. 😉
There have been many times in my walk with the Lord where I have become preoccupied with certain aspects of Christianity. There was a time when the pursuit of spiritual disciplines was the main thing… Many years ago, I jumped on the spiritual warfare bandwagon and that became the main thing… I was fully invested in these things—absorbed in achieving a level of spiritual competence (perhaps our first clue that something is off center). Of course, spiritual disciplines and the reality of spiritual warfare are important aspects of our faith, but they are not the focal point of our faith—the Lord God is.
When God fails to be our pursuit—when we cease to depend upon Him as our Life—we slip into fleshly activity. It may look religious, but it’s fleshly. Before long we’ve tipped over into areas where there is hardly a shred of Christ left in the picture. We’ve lapsed into extremes, and whenever we see extremes in Christianity there is fleshly activity and pride. Yup, that would be pride; the great digression of our flesh. The more invested we are in these tangents, the more indignant and emphatic we are toward others, and the puffed-up we are with ourselves. We are simply parading ourselves before others. In so doing, we cease to be attractive, because the Life of Christ ceases to flow through us.
The main thing (our focus) is to keep the main thing (Jesus Christ) the main thing (our focus). Or to put it another way, our focus is to keep Jesus Christ our focus. How to we do that? Through His word and by thorough dependence upon the Living Lord! Glorious dependence—that’s exactly where He wants us. May we comprehend with all the saints the reality of Jesus Christ as the Author and Finisher our faith, minute-by-minute, day-by-day!
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” Ephesians 3:14-21. Amen and amen!
O Lord, may we gaze intently upon You; as if You were cupping our chin in Your hand and looking into our eyes. And when our eyes wander to the left or the right, will You draw us back to Your face? We are so incapable of living the Christian life, but You already know this about us. In fact, may we come to know this more deeply so that the only life that seeps out of our life is Your Life. This is what we long for!
We praise You. We adore You. You are worthy of our complete devotion and focus. For Your glory and honor alone we pray, in Jesus name, Amen.
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