Finding God’s Purpose Forward!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor Tuesday, 1 March 2022, Lesson 6, Part 2
Dr. David Jeremiah, Forward: Discovering God’s Presence and
Purpose For Tomorrow
Devotional Time: Chapter 4 (pp. 61-77)
Finding Your Focus – Jesus said our first step in attaining what we desire is to, “Seek and you will find it.” To move forward in life, we must first come to understand what is that one thing God is leading us toward. This comes only through prayer and spiritual discernment. God must be a part of our aspirations and plans. The great tragedy in the collapse of the ancient Tower of Babel, was the preoccupation with self-achievement, absent of God’s counsel. Notice the emphasis of their language: “Come, let us build ourselves a city…so that we can make a name for ourselves.” (Cf. Genesis 11:4, NIV). We can see the self-reflective pronouns: we, ourselves, us. There is no mentioning of God in their plans! It is when we acknowledge God in our endeavors that we “find our focus.” Once we discern what God wants us to do, we can pursue our assignment with great effort (cf. Ecclesiastes 9:10, NIV). It is during our living moments when we achieve the tasks God has assigned us in this earthly realm. The time and days God gives us are so precious, that we should ask God to “direct” our every step (cf. Psalm 119:133, NIV). In the helpful book, Forward, pastor and author David Jeremiah quotes the great tenor Pavarotti when he realized God was calling him to vocal music. According to one of his biographers, Pavarotti said: “I was blessed with a good voice by God. I think it pleased Him that I decided to devote myself to it now. I think whether its laying bricks, driving a straight nail, writing a book, whatever we choose we should give ourselves to it.” To find our focus, we must ask God to lead us away from anything or anyone that distracts us. This psalmist was aware that there were forces working against him singing]. And, but he asked God to direct him (cf. Psalm 27:11, NIV). We must, like Pavarotti and others come to the realization, that it’s necessary to follow God’s leading to understand the right focus. When Jeremiah visited the home of the potter, he learned that God will work with and on us to help us become purposeful for Him (cf. Jeremiah 18:3-6, NIV). Dr. Jeremiah says: “You have been blessed by God. You’ve been blessed with talents, resources, and a dream for the next phase of your life. Once you’ve prayed about that dream and set the right priorities to achieve it, your next step is to focus your life on that main thing.” As Christians, we are to be “conformed to the image of Christ.” This is God’s wonderful plan for us. We can’t be Christ, but we can possess His character qualities. This has been “guaranteed” through our relationship with Christ, in faith. Jesus taught us to follow the straight and narrow path of life. This should be our focus, for the path leads to God’s plan for us!
Focusing Ahead - Our focus is always forward. We have all ascertained knowledge and wisdom from days past which are helpful to us. These gifts were given to us to direct us onward in life. The Apostle Paul refused to allow his past achievements to prevent him from pressing forward (cf. Philippians 3:14, NLT). God instructed the Israelites to memorialize His redemptive acts through certain rituals that would help future generations appreciate and acknowledge His sovereignty. Remembering the mighty acts of God are important, for perpetuating His name among future generations. However, preoccupation with past events, which cause us to minimize or forget God’s presence will cause us to lose both our focus, and fellowship with Him. We need to avoid making a mistake the Israelites experienced in route to the Promised Land. There were others who joined their caravan, who did not know Yahweh (God) the same way Israel had come to know Him. Those people created dissension, and caused some of the Israelites to be distracted from their focus (cf. Numbers 11:4-6, NLT). This ultimately brought punishment from God. To constantly look back to what we’ve always been comfortable with, is not always healthy. The allurement of Lot’s wife to the gateway cities of ancient Sodom and Gomorrah, caused her to be decimated by the sulfuric acid from the fires that destroyed the cities and its inhabitants (cf. Genesis 19:26, NLT). In 1954, John Landy, a runner from Australia beat a world record held by John Bannister in running a mile-race in less than 4 minutes. Bannister’s record was 3 min. 59.4 seconds. Lundy beat that record by one second. In a rematch, the race was very close, but Lundy was winning. Dr. Jeremiah said, “Lundy made a fatal mistake. He looked behind him. At that exact moment, Bannister streaked by him, and won the race by less than one second.” People often “look back” to past sins, mistakes, nostalgic trips down memory lane, and lose their focus. Jesus said. Looking back when we should be going forward, could cost us greatly (cf. Luke 9:62, NLT). There are many examples in the scriptures where people find their focus, move forward, and are used by God in a great way. The decision of Ruth, the Moabite-Gentile, to leave her home and go with her mother-in-law, Naomi, is a beautiful story of faith and a willingness to focus on God’s plan rather than her own. Ruth’s great testimony to Naomi endures as a blessed and beautiful symbol of commitment (cf. Ruth 1:16-17, NLT). God help us all to find our focus, and to follow your path!
What We Believe!
Realizing God’s focus for you, will always lead you forward.
1. Obsession with the past, is not an option in going forward.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 NIV
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.”
Psalm 119:133, NIV
“Direct my steps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.”
Psalm 27:11, NIV
“Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.”
Jeremiah 18:3-6, NIV
“So I went down to the potter’s house; and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as something best for him. Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do, with you, Israel, as this potter does?” Declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hands of the potter, so are you in my hand Israel.”
Romans 8:29, NIV
“For those God foreknew He also predestined to be con-formed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”
Philippians 3:14, NLT
“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
Numbers 11:4-6, NLT
“Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat! “they exclaimed. We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna.”
Genesis 19:26, NLT
“But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.”
Luke 9:62, NLT
“But Jesus said unto him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
Ruth 1;16-17, NLT
“But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us.”
I Peter 1:4, NLT
“And we have a priceless inheritance – an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change or decay.”