Bob Greene served in pastoral ministry in California and Arizona for 14 years, and completed a BA in Christian studies and an MA in theological studies, before joining the faculty at Grand Canyon University. Bob loves preaching and teaching, worship, surfing and hanging out with his three children: Justice, Micah and Dixie (the family Jack Russell Terrier).
In life, there are many things we focus on. When we want a good picture to capture a special moment, we focus on our camera phone. When we are testing or trying for something significant (driver’s license, an eye exam, high score on Halo, etc.), we focus our attention to the particular object or task.
But, how often do we focus on Jesus when life gets tough? Do we look to other things like our friends, family, youth pastors or significant relationships before we look to Jesus? Is He our first or last resort?
For a quick moment today, I’d like for us to look at how we can restore our focus, stay on track and keep the focus on Jesus in all our situations and circumstances. The Apostle Paul’s continual focus on Jesus allowed him to stare anything (even death) right in the face without any fear, knowing that whether he lived or died, he could not lose.
“For I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.” (Philippians 1:19-26)
If we want to stay focused on Jesus, when things are good and especially in the hard times of life, we need to know:
- Deliverance is Coming (Philippians 1:19)
In the face of any adversity or affliction, God has given us the assurance that He will deliver us. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”
- Losing is not an Option (Philippians 1:20-24)
What can you do to someone who doesn’t fear death? How do you punish them? Paul’s main purpose in living was to glorify Jesus, because Jesus was the essence of his life. His concern was not what would happen to him, but what testimony would be left for his Lord. Release from prison would allow him to continue to preach about Jesus; death would result in him being with Jesus for eternity. Christians have nothing to lose because losing is not an option.
- God Has a Plan & Purpose (Philippians 1:25-26)
Paul trusted that if God allowed him to live, God would not only deliver him, but also use him to reach others with the Gospel. Paul knew God would bless his work and continue to use him as a witness just as He had done in the past.
When we place every situation (the good, the bad and the ugly) and every circumstance (difficult and easy) in God’s hands, we realize and experience His perfect, good and pleasing will. God created us, and Jesus calls us, to be spiritually contagious to a lost and separated world. When we give God the reigns of our lives, He works faith into our lives and gives us the opportunity to influence and impact our world with the goodness, grace, mercy and forgiveness that only Jesus offers.
Are you ready to be contagious for Jesus? Are you ready to be a light? Can you live with the intention of putting Jesus first, above everything else as the Apostle Paul did?
I know that if you do, God will use you to make an amazing difference in the lives of those who know you. Be strong, be contagious for Jesus and believe that God will take care of you and shine His love, grace, mercy and strength on you so that you can glow for Him!
Keep reading! Check out more inspiring faith and living posts from Bob Greene and other Grand Canyon University faculty.