Lesson 8 - Growing Closer to God Through Focusing on Spiritual Matters

Christians have a high calling in life. This high calling allows us to focus on things of an eternal nature. Since we are children of God, we are in the position to have a positive impact in the world. If we allow this mission to consume us we will, by very nature, be intently focused on the Big Picture. The temptation we sometimes fall victim to is losing that focus and being distracted by what is going on around us. Sure, we need to be "in touch" with reality so we can best prepare for our calling. However we should not let anything redirect us from being a faith-filled people who seek God's ways with passion and conviction.

The Bible contains all we need to be pleasing and productive for God. Reading and understanding it will motivate us to live, move, and breathe the plan. However you may find it beneficial to boil this Bible-centered life down into a small, but terribly important, promise to yourself. An example of this I have in my life is this. "I promise myself that no matter what, I will always be faithful to the Lord." This seems so simple, but it is really very deep. It means that no matter what my family does, no matter what the church does, no matter how unfair I think things are, I will always stay faithful! When times are tough I repeat this promise to myself.

James 5:1-6
1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. 4 Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5 You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.

Too many times our attention is consumed with the temporary things of this life. Imagine a church that spends as much time, money, effort, motivation, love, and dedication to eternal things.

Let's compare the amount of resources your family has spent doing these things to eternal goals:
-School homework
-Family time
-Attendance to school to attendance at church

Paul makes it clear where our focus should and more importantly why it should be there.

Colossians 3:1-4
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

In the technology programming word one of the basic principles is an "if then" statement. Verse 1 has an "if then" statement. If you have in Christ then seek eternal things. Why? Because Christ is king and if you are His then you are compelled to live like it. How? By focusing your thoughts, intents, and attention upward! And the result of this is your relaxation as a child of glory. When we live like this we will never die. But when we do not we risk our minds and hearts.

Genesis 6:5
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

In the days when God spoke directly to the head of each household mankind wander away from Him. People allowed their minds to drift and be turned from eternal things. The end result was complete destruction, complete death (save 8 souls). The lesson for us here is don't give an inch! Don't give Satan any room in your life. Satan will not just take a little of you, he will try to take you completely. Don't reason away secrets sins, don't be fooled that Satan will only take part of you, he will destroy you!

Here is the great news. We can simply be servants of God, focus on Him and His ways and be the most fulfilled people who ever lived.

1 Corinthians 9:23-27
I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.