Thursday, 21 July 2011

SHIFT THE FOCUS

 Jeremiah 2:8b
“And walked after things that do not profit”.


Cars, clothes, food, alcohol, ..…the world promotes excess in everything we do. Everything we own should be purchased or engaged with excessively. How many of us feel pressurised to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ to purchase the latest model of our favourite car but at the expense of our finances - running up credit card bills and constant debt. Don’t get me wrong God wants us to enjoy life and have good and nice things however the question is ‘How much emphasis and value do we place on the things we own’ and do we place a greater emphasis than that of God? God is a jealous God and only He alone deserves all the worship and honour - God is too magnificent to be replaced by a car!

God knows that when we place a greater emphasis on what we own we lose sight of Him and replace Him with our possessions. Remember the story of the rich man who came to Jesus and asked what He should do to inherit eternal life and Jesus told him to sell his possessions – he went away sad (Mark 10:17-26). It was much harder for this man to give up all his possessions as a wealthy person owns more so would have more to give up. This is a profound. The more we have the more difficult it can be to give it away as we have more to lose. How many of us can say that if told to sell all of our possessions we would willingly do so? Yes, this would be difficult! However it would be easier if you didn’t place too much value on what you owned. Jesus knew this and constantly warned within His teachings not to place too great an emphasis on our worldly possessions (Psalm 62:10).

I’m sure I am not alone in my passion for fashion. I used to constantly fret that I didn’t have enough clothes, enough shoes; despite the fact that my wardrobe was always full. My focus on accumulation made me used to fret about what I didn’t have as opposed to what I did have – a cupboard full !  ‘Better is little with fear of the Lord than treasure with great trouble’ (Proverbs 15:16). I received revelation that it is not necessary to over accumulate and that I did have enough and that as Paul said ‘I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content’ (Phil 4:11), so even though I may not have a walk in wardrobe like the celebrity houses on MTV cribs I have learned that I will always have enough and that wherever I lack ‘God will supply all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus’ (Phil 4:19).

How many pairs of shoes do you actually need? Think about it. Over accumulation shifts the focus of God and onto ‘self’. In the end times ‘men will become lovers of themselves, lovers of money’ (2 Tim 3:2). Ultimately ‘we brought nothing into this world and it is certain that we will carry nothing out’ (1 Tim 6:7).The enemy enjoys shifting our focus onto what you don’t have, as opposed to what you do have so that it will cause you to chase things that do not profit. For some of us; ‘keep up with the Joneses’ has caused us to sacrifice the ‘fellowship of the saints’ with working overtime at work. In these times people may need to work extra hours due to the rising living costs however it should not be at the expense of fellowshipping with the saints and God  on a Sunday ‘Those who are planted in the house of the Lord…they shall be fresh and flourishing” (Psalm 92:13).

For others fellowship with God though prayer or through personal study with the word has been replaced by modern technology. The Internet has become the biggest distractor for modern day Christians today. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Skype have taken so much of our time that we have become too busy for God when instead we should be busy with God. Do not get me wrong there is nothing wrong with using such sites – I’m a regular on Facebook. However again the question is how much emphasis do we place on this? The two hours straight that you spend on these sites, are you able to spend even half an hour with God in the morning praying and reading the word? I would encourage you that if you have become too busy for God to ask for God's forgiveness and to ask Him to show you those areas of His life that He wants you to change.  Ask God to search your heart, speak to Him about your anxieties and fears (Psalm 139:23). I got to that stage where I was too busy for God however I was able to spend time on social networking. 

However God spoke to me and told me to set aside at least one hour in the morning to fellowship with Him. This was a big sacrifice as I enjoy my sleep; however obedience is better than sacrifice. One hour out of 24 hours is nothing to spend time with my God and I cannot place a value on how my morning devotion for God has caused me to grow as a Christian. I would encourage you if you do not already; to find time in the day to fellowship with the Father through prayer and study of the Word. The wisdom found in the word has the ability to extend our life – within His word God can direct our steps and prevent us from making harmful decisions ‘it will lead us in the right paths so our steps will not be hindered…the word is life’ (Proverbs 5:3). We are so busy enjoying and chasing ‘life’ in this world however life is found in the Word! Seize the life that is found in the Word. You can guarantee that when you engage with the Word you will not remain the same and will gain something you didn’t already have – wisdom, understanding and direction (Joshua 1:8). Intentionally applying God’s Word to your life will produce great success!

What we gain here on earth is temporal and doesn’t last and cannot be replaced. The car that you are driving lost its value once it left the showroom ! However the things of God increase in value and profit us the more we engage in them. The world’s system is temporal and constantly needs to be replaced. God’s system is constantly added to and doesn’t take away and increases in value daily. If the above where displayed as two business ideas – the latter – God’s system would be the most profitable! Let us not lose focus and let us aim to make the things of God a priority in our lives. Once we recreate this balance then this will lead us to instinctively ‘walk after things that profit the soul’.

2011 Rianne Sintim. All rights reserved.

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