SPAR Thoughts - Distractions

By Mark Alderson
October 27, 2019

1 Cor. 4:3 "But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by fact, I do not even judge myself."

Paul is not diverted by distraction - neither by his past nor another's criticism.  

Phil. 3:13 "forgetting what lies behind... This does not mean that Rom. 8:28 is not in effect. God is working my past out for His purpose. It does mean that what has taken place in the past will not divert Paul from effectively living today.  

".... and straining forward to what lies ahead, v. 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."  

"Straining forward, I press on toward the goal.... The best way to draw a straight line is to focus on where the line will end. The best way for effective ministry is to establish the purpose for your ministry. In so doing, your present is filtered through the end game.  Oh how purpose guards one against so many many distractions. Much of ministry expresses itself outwardly which can empower and destroy. The fruit of ministry is very satisfying, and in turn, can be deceptive. It's quite easy to agree with the positive effects your words have in someone's life. Therefore, it's imperative to live out ministry in the same way Jesus taught us to pray in Matt. 6:6. As you recall, Jesus saw how the religious leaders were praying. They took that which was internal expressed externally, and removed the internal completely. Quite easily done when one's eyes are on the approval of man. Jesus brought prayer back into the internal by instructing his disciples to go into the quiet, alone place of a room, close the door and talk to God who hears in secret. I contend that only in this place will one be empowered by Paul's perspective and God's calling in the midst of their own failure and triumph and the critical spirit of those who appose them.  

Paul's purpose was to proclaim God's love and grace, and present everyone mature in Christ (Col. 1:28,29). God's promise - the prize of the upward call of God, keeps Paul from distraction.  The intimacy of relationship keeps it real, (Phil. 3:8,9).  

How does one say, "imitate me, follow me as I follow Christ"? Their life is their relationship with God, how they live reflects that.  

What is important to you determines what you are distracted by. What you are distracted by is important to you. How do you see it?  

My friend Sandy responds:
This is the struggle that we fight in hope for what lies ahead but the world around us has to cover up because there is no hope outside Christ. This battle that flips and flops between "I'm not good enough" and "look what I did." For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. Galatians 5:17 This battle between immovable object and unstoppable force is impossible with man, but for God all things are possible... and not just possible...promised.  I've been battling Im not good enough for the last few weeks.  Thanks for this encouragement.

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