Faithlife Sermons

What Lies Ahead: Focus

What Lies Ahead: Week 2  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →

Find Your Focus First

Jim Collins is a Bestselling Author of things like Good to Great and How the Mighty Fall and he argues that whenever a person, company, etc.. has more than two major goals ahead of it, it will fail. He doesn’t say that it might fail, he says it will not be able to accomplish any of the tasks if there are more than two. As we are working on this new sermon series we will be talking about a lot of different things that our church is doing and what each of us individually will be doing to get ready for the coming year. That being said,
today we will talk about the priorities we personally need and the priorities that our church needs
to hold before it as we have been visioning the future that God is laying out before us and our response.
Philippians 4:4–8 CEB
Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad! Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus. From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise.
Now it might seem like there are a lot of different things going on in this scripture but here Paul is really bringing our spiritual lives down into two categories.

Paul says that we need to understand Prayers and Thoughts

As Christians if we want to break down the complexity of how to have a great relationship with God then we simply focus on addressing how we pray and how we think.

So let’s begin with prayer.

What is prayer… we’ll we have preached on that a bunch but for ease of today, let’s simply call it a conversation with God.
In our scripture today we hear that we are to bring up all of our requests to God. ALL OF YOUR REQUESTS! (oh yeah, and our thanks… we’ll get to that in a second). But first, on to the requests!
My first prayers were simply the ones I had memorized from Sunday School teachers and my great-grandma Murdock. I don’t remember prayer much outside of meal times and church times until Jr. High. At that time I began asking God for forgiveness. I also began asking God to let the Cubs win, for girls to like me and for a long overdue growth spurt that might help me not look like a 4th grader anymore.
Does God really want to hear all of our requests?
What have you requested of God? A good parking spot, health for someone who you know is ill? To pass a test, or to raise your family well? We as humans sure to place a value and a judgement on the difference between those types of requests but here Paul is starting with asking us to bring all of our requests to God. For one, there is nothing too big or too small for God. God is in the infinite of the universe and in the minutia of the small cells.

Now lets talk about Thoughts.

This one is the simplification of a very complex ideal.
Paul says that we are to focus on “anything (that) is excellent, admirable, true, holy, just, pure, lovely and worthy of praise.
But that might be a football game to some, what is it for us to really have good thoughts.
Do our Thoughts portray the faith we have or the fear we hold?
John 14:27 CEB
“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid.
If you have focus on the thoughts of God then you will have Peace like Jesus talks about. Now back to that football game for a moment. Very few times have I been to something that left me with peace. Now I’m not talking about it not leaving me with peace because of the nature of the game, but win or loose I have not truly gotten peace. You see the world tries to give us peace. Our team wins, we are supposed to celebrate, be happy, put us at peace. But what about next year? The promotion comes to us at work. What about the next one or worse yet, who’s trying to take my job from me now? I made friends with so and so… but what is it really based on, will they truly accept me for who I am?
The Peace of Christ is a deep and abiding peace. The peace of Christ and the way of thinking that is of Christ is one that does not leave us troubled or afraid.
This does not mean we are to be complacent, or that the Peace of Christ and a mind of Christ is some robotic or passivity. The Thoughts we have when we are in Christ are thoughts of God’s will, trust in God’s provision and a focus on the things that are of God. We are able to set aside the broken parts that are not of God’s will and move forward with thoughts that are beyond the self.

Please note, this idea of right or focused thinking comes after prayer!

You must learn to pray, to trust and bring all things to God first in prayer so that God might work in, through and in-spite of you.
Related Media
Related Sermons