Saturday, October 8, 2011

One thing

Have you ever felt like life is too complicated?  If so, that’s not unusual.  There are probably millions of other who feel the same way.

But actually life is not complicated. We make it that way.   When you are in Christ, life is actually simple.  But it requires faith.  That means trusting the Lord.

There’s only one thing we need to focus on, and when you do so, it’ll greatly simplify your life.  I’d like to share with you what it is.

David desired one thing
The Lord called King David a man after His own heart.  And David desired only one thing.  He said:

"One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple." (Psa 27:4)

David’s one desire was to dwell in the Lord’s house all the days of his life, so that he could behold the Lord’s beauty.  The other reason he wanted to dwell there was so that he could inquire of the Lord. 

During David’s lifetime, the temple was not yet built.  They simply had a tent of meeting, called a tabernacle, where they met with the Lord.  This was the place where the Lord manifested his presence.  That’s where David wanted to remain.

In the New Covenant, Jesus Christ is the temple.  He plainly said so.  When the religious leaders asked him for a sign to prove His authority, “Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’ But He was speaking of the temple of His body. So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.” (Joh 2:19-22)

So for those under the New Covenant, our one desire should be to remain in Jesus Christ all the days of our life.  It should be to seek the Lord and behold His beauty. 

All who are led by the spirit are sons of God.  We are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  The apostle Paul wrote, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1Co 3:16). 

Christ’s body is the temple.  We are the Body of Christ and He is the Head of the Body.  It could not be any clearer that He and those of us who are His disciples are the temple.  So if we desire the one thing David desired, it’s to abide in Christ moment-by-moment and day-to-day.

Mary desired one thing
Another person who had this singular focus was Mary, the sister of Lazarus.  When Jesus came to visit the home, where she and her family lived, she was interested in just one thing.

“Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.’ But the Lord answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.’" (Luk 10:38-42)

Many people are like Martha.  They feel like life is complicated. Martha was stressed out.  In the presence of the Lord, she felt the pressure of all the tasks she thought she needed to do.  If that’s how you are, then you are probably distracted like Martha was.  She found it hard to settle down and focus on the Lord.

In fact, this kind of mindset led Martha to want to control people.  She needed to recruit her sister to help her fulfill all that she thought needed to be done for the Lord.  And when she could not control Mary, she tried to get Jesus to force her to help. 

I think this is all too common among believers.  It can happen in a household, as well as the church.  Many times a leader has his own, great “vision” of what needs to be done for the Lord.  And to fulfill his vision, he needs to recruit others into service.  When they do not volunteer to serve, and do not align with his vision, he uses other means to control them like manipulation and coercion.  I’ve seen leaders like this become so distracted by many things.  Yet they don’t seem interested in abiding in Christ.  They don’t seem to enjoy just abiding in Christ, worshipping Him and enjoying His presence.  Instead, they are always thinking about the next thing they are going to say or the next task that needs to be completed.

But look at what Jesus said to Martha.  The Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”  (Lk 10:42) According to Jesus, only one thing is necessary, and Mary had chosen it.  She was sitting at the Lord’s feet, listening to His Word.

That’s the one thing that is still needed today.  We need to sit at the Lord’s feet and listen to His Word.  In that place, we commune with Him and adore Him.  We put distractions aside, and focus on Jesus.  We meditate upon His Word.  We listen to His voice.  Our desire is simply to be with Him.  It’s all about Jesus.

Love the Lord your God
When Luke wrote about the story of Martha and Mary, it was in the context of a conversation Jesus had with someone about the one thing needed to inherit eternal life. 

“And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ And He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?’ And he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’ And He said to him, ‘You have answered correctly; Do this and you will live.’" (Luk 10:25-28)

The message is the same.  Jesus taught this lawyer that one thing is necessary, and that is to love.  Our love for God must be with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.  We should love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  And Jesus illustrated this love with the story of the Good Samaritan to show what He meant.

Seek first His kingdom and righteousness
The temptation is to worry about what we will eat or drink or what we will wear.  There will never be a lack of things to worry about, which will vie for our attention.  But Jesus taught us to “Seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you." (Mt 6:33)

Focus on Jesus
The writer to the Hebrews also taught that we must have a singular focus.  He wrote: “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.” (Heb 3:1). 

Again he wrote, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 12:2). 

When you fix your thoughts on someone, they are the center of your attention.  When you focus your eyes on someone, everything else fades out of focus.  Our focus should be on Jesus.

Putting it All Together
What’s your focus? Food, clothing, money, success, possessions, fame, popularity, making a place for yourself in history, numbers, buildings, man-made traditions, external appearances, titles, collecting people?

David desired one thing, and that was to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life, to gaze upon His beauty and inquire in His temple.  Mary chose that one thing also. She sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to His Word. 

We need to love the Lord with our entire being. We should fix our thoughts on Jesus, focusing our eyes on Him.

Let me encourage you today to focus on Jesus, dwelling in His house all the days of your life.  There you can gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and seek Him in His temple.  That’s the one thing that’s needed.

When you live like this, life will be simple. But it requires your complete trust in the Lord.  It requires faith, without which it is impossible to please God.  Will you commit yourself to do this?

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Most other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, unless otherwise noted.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like the other posts in this blog available through the links in the side bar, especially "Inquiring of the Lord." You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." 

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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