Eyes on the Prize

By: Bryan Trudeau

Philippians 3:13

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

 

When I retired, I tried to focus on adding to my nest egg, but after two and a half years things fell apart. The company I had thought to be ordained by God was failing, having been bought out, and I had six months until layoff.

I began to develop breathing problems and had to have an open lung biopsy. Suddenly, my focus changed to what was happening to me.

After the biopsy, lying in bed with tubes running out of me, I struggled to breathe. Anxiety and fear overwhelmed me. As I cried out to God that I could not believe my life would end this way, a sudden calm came over me. In my thoughts came the words, “You are not going to die. I have plans for you.”

Instantly I had a renewed focus. Although a member of CIC since its inception, my commitment was not strong because of lack of focus on what was important. My focus had been on my job and working to build a good retirement. Although these were good goals, they did not bring me the peace I so desired.

That night, God showed me that I was called to focus on the goal of the gospel; to bring people into the kingdom using the gifts he has given me by the Holy Spirit. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that I was able to serve as president of a new chapter. It is by focusing each morning on his will for me, not on my circumstances, that I can persevere.

What does that mean for us? I have learned some great things by attending the CIC Leadership Institute. They all have to do with focus as well:

1. I am a beloved son of the Most High God and shouldn’t focus on my sinfulness and failings.

2. I am to bring my speech into discipline and focus on building up, not tearing down.

3. I am to focus each morning on thanking God for everything, including trials. Then I can bless others that day.

4. I am to focus on learning more about who God is by daily meeting with him in scripture and prayer to build a relationship with him.

5. Most importantly, as I focus and walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh, I get closer to him and what he wants me to do.

I have not taken hold of the prize as Paul said, but I press on, focusing on what God wants me to do to build his kingdom on earth.

 

TAKE THE CHALLENGE: What is my main focus today? Do I have a lack of focus? What should I be concentrating on?