Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Leaving the hospital close to midnight last night, my thoughts wander from my journey to the car to the details of the day now waning. The last chemotherapy before our son receives a bone marrow transplant went flawlessly and he was resting comfortably in his bed ready to rest. The night shift is leaving so I am not alone yet deep inside I feel that way. Getting up at the crack of dawn, packing the car, driving two hours, spending most of the morning in the clinic as he did his bloodwork and some physical therapy while waiting for a room. Eating another cafeteria lunch while they looked all over the hospital for a bed (not a room, but literally a bed.) Finally getting checked in late in the day, the pharmacy taking exceptionally long to formulate the chemotherapy cocktail today. As we walk down the unit, old “friends” say hello and greet us. This is not a place where you go to make friends. It is a place that we never want to see again. Stepping into the night, the hot humidity of Florida feels good after hours and hours of sterile air and freezing temperatures are melting away. Hot tears fill my eyes. I do not want to do this anymore. I hate cancer. My heart begins to quake. “God, how much longer must I keep going until we cross the finish line.” I am tired. Tired of doctors, hospitals and chemotherapy poking and prodding my kid. This is not the life of a college student especially one who is called by Your Name. I am exhausted from the effort. When will it end? Lord, do I have the strength to make it that far. Three years is a very long time, as the anniversary approaches I am ready for it to be a new day. The day when the Resurrection Power of Jesus Christ chases cancer away for the last time and we bask in the Glory of God. Lord Jesus, help me regain my focus because losing sight of my purpose.
In this candid recollection of my thoughts, I woke up this morning with faith on my mind. I am not talking about faith for provision or favor in daily situations or even the faith to heal our son’s body. I am talking about real faith that is focused on eternity. Philippians 3 suggests that we focus on one thing “forgetting the past, looking forward to what lies ahead, press on to reach the end of the race claiming the Heavenly Prize for which God in Christ Jesus is calling us. This is purpose. This is the powerful point of focus for the believer. There are many, many distractions in this life that cause our eyes to wander and thoughts to follow suit. Our pursuit for Christ must become passionate and driven by purpose. Our purpose is to discover confident hope that keeps our faith firmly fixed on Jesus Christ from now until we reach Eternity. There are benefits to living life on purpose, but ultimately the greatest reward is living forever with Jesus. But how can we love someone with passion who we cannot see? How can we long for a place that we have never gone? When everything seems to be falling apart? Faith in God holds it together. When everyone else lets me down? He becomes all that I need. A goal does not become purpose until we pursue it. Passion is the emotion that refuses to stop until overtaking what we desire most. When we allow faith to become that which we passionately pursue it becomes our purpose. I must live each day on purpose and not lost in rebellious thoughts or irrational predicaments of each day. God has a plan and purpose for my life achieved only by faith. I must find it to be satisfied. It must become the most passionate pursuit of my life.
Hebrews 6:17-19 (NLT)
God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.
When focus (our fixed attention and/or primary concentration) becomes faith, it will become confident hope. Jesus Christ has allowed us to restore our relationship with God once and for all. This is called righteousness. It is a free gift that cannot be earned so there is no need to make it our purpose but rather choose to live that way on purpose because it is already done. Grace allows us to get up when we stumble and fall, wipe the dirt from our knees, and dry the tears from our eyes getting right back in step with God effortlessly. You cannot earn right standing with God but you must choose to walk in it. How do we do that? Forget the past, look straight ahead and keep walking by faith. Now by doing this on a moment-by-moment basis, it produces confident hope from the trust that by faith we are continually investing in God. This hope makes all things possible because we believe. Hope is God’s Promise that He will never change His Mind about His Word, Will and Way for our life. We can be absolutely sure of this by faith. Hope keeps our life attached to Christ. When we begin to feel shaky all we have to do is throw more faith at Him and suddenly we become secure. God does not lie or change His Mind. He is completely trustworthy. Are you focused on faith today? Are you living to produce hope?
Faith is the substance that becomes the things we hope for. It is evidence that we believe in the unseen and living in pursuit of Him. (Hebrews 11:1) If we have something, there is no need to hope for it. (Romans 8:24-25) God’s Plan and Purpose for my life includes more than I can think of or ask for. Faith turned into hope makes it mine.
Romans 4:17-22 (NLT)
That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous.
God gave Abraham His Word including the promise that he would be the father of many nations. Abraham believed God way past the point of natural means. It took him to the end of his natural ability to make this promise a reality. It was out of the question that a man his age with a wife equal in years would produce a natural child. But God! They did. When God called Abraham telling him to bring his son to the mountain of sacrifice – he did it because this man believes that His God could and would “bring the dead back to life and (was the one) who creates new things out of nothing.” Abraham’s passionate pursuit of faith his entire life had given him such confidence in God that he could walk in righteous obedience to God. His focus on faith overshadowed any doubt or fear about natural loss or failure but just kept pushing him to press on and answer God’s Call.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NLT)
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
Although the trial we are facing and all its troubles seem overwhelming, Jesus Christ overcame the world so these are light and momentary in God’s Eyes. He sees the end from the beginning and knows that we are about to bask in the Glory of God if we do not give up our passionate pursuit of faith in Jesus Christ. Life is hard. Faith and hope produce God’s Glory in our life that becomes a light in this dark world. We must look beyond that which we can see to stay focused on the Promise God has given us. We all have a promise. We all have purpose. It is all wrapped up in the Plan that God has written for us and that Jesus Christ died so we could have. (Romans 8:29-30) His Spirit is constantly working within us to produce His Glory. He is the one who take the lemons of this life and makes them lemonade. Every detail of my life is included in the good thing God is doing. (Romans 8:28) To live a life on purpose, we must attain the mindset that hope will never lead to disappointment. (Romans 5:1-5) Hope is a process that begins with faith but requires focus. It will take some effort on your part. You are going to have to change the way that you think and act by changing your beliefs. It begins with faith. You have it. God gave it to you for such a time and purpose as this. (Romans 12:2) The transformation comes in our mind as we forget the past, focus on the future, and press on.
Philippian 4:6-9 (NLT)
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Hope is not what you think but rather what you know. Faith is the investment we make to develop hope. Trouble is by the time we decide to trust the Lord, we have usually wasted our faith on everything else and we come to Him with a broken heart and fragmented trust. The Lord gladly accepts it because He brings dead things to life and makes something from nothing time and time again. Once we get to such a place, we must stop worrying. It is important to eliminate worry from our life completely. Worry is implied doubt that interrupts faith that is trying to prosper. It is a dream crusher. It is a future killer. Instead, pray about everything. By doing so, we take every single burden we have and hand it to the Lord. Thankfulness is a sign that we have surrendered our life to Christ and He is doing good things with it. Thankfulness is a sign that we have successfully exchanged faith for confident hope when we are able to be grateful before God changes our situation or reveals His Glory in our life. When we become determined to fix our thoughts on Jesus Christ and all that He is doing in our life, we will have peace. Not just ordinary peace but the kind that passes all understanding. God keeps those whose thoughts are fixed on Him by faith in perfect peace. (Isaiah 26:3) Everything you are going through in this life has the potential to produce God’s Glory if you will simply choose to step out in faith. Stop waiting for hope you can see and take hold of hope you can know. “When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?” “I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.” Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” (John 5:1-9) So that is exactly what the man did. He stood up, rolled up his mat and started walking in faith. No more excuses. Stop complaining. Fix your thoughts on Jesus Christ who is our future. Stop thinking about AND talking about the past – it is over. It has been carried away in the Blood of Jesus and your life has been washed in the Living Water of His Word. You have great potential called faith. You have a divine purpose called hope. God will keep your heart and mind in perfect peace if you will live by faith and hope wrapped in love. His Love for you never gives up, does not lose faith and never stops hoping that you will find your back to Him. His Love endures through everything. Why doesn’t ours? (I Corinthians 13:7) There are only three eternal qualities in our life – faith, hope and love. With these three things invested in Christ, all things are possible. To about excellence does not allow us to compromise. To think about those things worry of praise do not allow complaining. To live life on purpose requires that we focus on faith, hope and love allowing God the Father to perfect all that concerns us while Jesus Christ maintains our righteousness until we achieve the hope we hold on to finishing the race of faith.
Proverbs 4:25-27 (NLT)
Look straight ahead and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.
Purpose put off for tomorrow is procrastination. God is working in you and through you today. He has given you new mercy to get through today. The enemy wants our trials, troubles, problems and circumstances to delay our purpose. He wants us to put off what God has called us to do today and miss the potential of faith turning into confident hope. Pressing on is not some get-by measure to make the best of a bad situation but an opportunity to overcome and have all that God has promised you. By choosing to fix our thoughts, make a straight path walking on the Word and living by faith, we will keep perfect peace and stay on track to produce God’s Glory in our life. Hope NEVER leads to disappointment. Jesus is our hope. He is the great potential for our life which is worthy of a full investment of our faith. There is no need to complain because His Goodness is working in us and through us to overflow in our life. Choose to be thankful. Choose to give God praise. Decide to stop rebellious thinking and turn every thought back to Jesus and what He is doing in you, through you and for you! The sorrow of the night is temporary because just as sure as morning His Joy will meet you if you remain faithful and anchored by confident hope! Do not be distracted. This life will all pass away but faith, hope and love will remain. Today is not worthless. You don’t have to just make it through. Discover true potential when you decide to live life on purpose! The Lord has promised that our son will live and not die. He is still battling cancer so the Promise of God has not been accomplished in his life. God has promised to turn every detail of his life and ours for good. If we give up, what will we gain? Hope will never disappoint. Start here today. Build your life around faith, hope and love for these three things are eternal. This is what it means to live life on purpose.
I Corinthians 16:13-14 (NLT)
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.