Texts: Philippians 3:7-21, 2 Timothy 4:7-8
Introduction: While we could give several possible reasons as to why failure can occur in the Christian pilgrimage, one reason which would really stand out is where Christians lose the focus of their goal and objective. Staying focused sets us free from other people’s expectations and keeps us free to do what God wants us to do. In order to walk the path to heaven, we must keep our sight focused on heaven. Joseph, Abraham, Paul and many others are examples of pilgrims who stayed focused and fought a good fight. May the Holy Spirit teach and help us to understand and keep focused, in Jesus name, Amen.
Conditions for remaining focused:
Determination: Determination can be defined as the act of making or arriving at a decision; or firmness of purpose. Therefore as pilgrims we must resolve within us that come what may, we will stay in the race, knowing that our strength comes from God. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Philippians 4:13, Luke 9:61-62.
Rising above discouragement: Staying focused means that losing heart is not an option. However, we must admit that in running a marathon race, everyone gets tired; and there are moments of discouragement, there are times of wanting to give up; but we must remain strong – Heb 12:3. This word comes to remind us that Jesus Christ and the life he lived is the supreme example for all of us. When we fix our eyes on him and remember all that he has done for us, it provides us with just a little more encouragement to go forward. Nehemiah, David and Joseph to mention a few are examples of heroes that rose above discouragement; Nehemiah 2:19, Nehemiah 4:1-6, 1 Sam 17:41-47, Genesis 39:19-20, Joshua 1;9, Proverbs 3:5-6, Jeremiah 29:11, 2 Corinthians 12:9
Discipline (self control): Staying focused means that we must labour ahead; our Christian life is a race that we all must run and finish. Discipline is key and can never be over emphasized as it develops and builds our character. There are some who have started out well but have been sidetracked by the things of life and have dropped out of the race – Heb 12:11, 2 Timothy 1:7, Proverbs 1:3, Titus 2:11-13.
It was easy for Judas to betray Jesus because he had no control over his love for money Lk. 22:1-6. Joseph eventually rose to the place of prime minister because he was unwilling to accept short term satisfaction that would have denied him long term fulfilment (self control), Genesis 39-11-13.
Enjoy your pilgrimage: To enjoy is to take pleasure in, to delight in or to experience with joy. If the whole purpose of man is to live for God, then he might as well enjoy it, Eccl 12:13. Yes there will be times of discouragement and the pain of discipline but we can choose to remain joyful in God, just like there will be times of rejoicing, victories, accomplishments. As true pilgrims, we should run this race joyfully after all the strength to run comes from His joy -Nehemiah 8:10, Zephaniah 3:17.
Conclusion: Staying focused is loving God and loving His ways; it is enjoying fellowship with him and seeking to know him more – Luke 10:27, Deut 6:5, Deut 10:12, Philippians 3:10.
JESUS IS LORD