Masters Plan

Go Therefore and Make Disciples

FOCUS ON CHRIST

Life In This World

FOCUS ON CHRIST

The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.      Isaiah 26:3

Wrong Worship from inspiredfaith on GodTube.

One of the greatest illustrations of focusing on Christ and what we can accomplish when we do, is found in Matthew 14:24-33 when Peter walked on the water.  It is so easy to get distracted in the world we live in.  People, family, work, entertainment, things good and bad all clamor for our attention.  But the power to experience Christ and life to the full will be directly affected by our daily decisions to keep our focus on Christ.  In John Ortberg’s book, If You Want To Walk On Water, You’ve Got To Get Out Of The Boat, he illustrates how focus affected Peter’s ability to do the impossible.

When Peter was walking on the water, the text does not tell us whether Jesus said anything to him or not.  But if he did, I imagine it being along these lines: Peter, whatever you do—don’t look down.  Keep going, one foot in front of the other.  Think light thoughts!  Just remember, whatever you do—don’t look down.  I imagine that Peter’s eyes were locked on Jesus—that during this experience an awareness of Jesus simply dominated Peter’s mind.  Like master, like disciple. 

At any rate, for however long it lasted, Peter walked on the water.  Then we are told three things happened.  The focus of his attention shifted from Jesus to the storm—he saw the wind.  This shift in attention gave rise to a new set of thoughts and feelings that focused on panic and inadequacy:  ‘He became frightened.’  This in turn disrupted his ability to continue walking in Jesus’ power—he began to sink and cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’…

Matthew seems to want us to understand something clearly.  While Peter’s mind was focused on Jesus, he was empowered to walk on the water.  But when his focus was on the storm, his fear short-circuited his ability to receive God’s sustaining power.

Hope got Peter out of the boat.

Trust held him up.

Fear sank him.

Everything hinged on whether he was focused on the Savior or on the storm.

 

If anyone grows tired of Christianity, it is because he has become preoccupied with something else in the Christian faith besides Jesus Christ.  No one has ever lived whose personality is so fascinating as that of Jesus Christ.  We begin with Him and go on in Him and grow up into Him.  Christianity in the true sense is just Jesus Christ Himself from beginning to end.                                                   

                                                         Jim Rayburn, Founder of Young Life

 

Archbishop William Temple once said, "Your religion is what you do with solitude."  In other words, the true god of your heart is what your thoughts effortlessly go to when there is nothing else demanding your attention.  What do you enjoy daydreaming about?  What occupies your mind when you have nothing else to think about?

                                                        Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods

HMMM {QUESTIONS}

  • What are ways that you can keep your focus on Christ throughout the day?
  • What are the things that tend to distract you from a focus on Christ?
  • How will you apply the truths in this topic to your life this week?  Be specific.

Additional Quotes

When an idol gets a grip on your heart, it spins out a whole set of false definitions of success and failure and happiness and sadness.  It redefines reality in terms of itself.....In the end idols can make it possible to call evil good and good evil.   Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods

There are very few who in their hearts do not believe in God, but what they will not do is give Him exclusive right of way...They are not ready to promise full allegiance to God alone.  Many a professing Christian is a stumbling-block because his worship is divided.  On Sunday he worships God; on weekdays God has little or no place in his thoughts.      Dwight L. Moody

We are molding Jesus into our image.  He is beginning to look a lot like us because, after all, that is whom we are most comfortable with.  And the danger now is that when we gather in our church buildings to sing and lift up our hands in worship, we may not actually be worshiping the Jesus of the Bible.  Instead we may be worshiping ourselves.......... The gospel reveals eternal realities about God that we would sometimes rather not face...Maybe this is why we fill our lives with the constant drivel of entertainment in our culture - and in the church. We are afraid that if we stop and really look at God in his Word, we might discover that he evokes greater awe and demands deeper worship than we are ready to give him.                 David Platt, Radical

More Video Illustrations

We Need Jesus
David Platt gives a powerful challenge to us that we are the ones who need Jesus.

verses related to this topic

  • Deuteronomy 4:29

    Deuteronomy 4:29

    But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.

  • Joshua 1:8-9

    Joshua 1:8-9

    This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

  • Psalm 105:4

    Psalm 105:4

    Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually.

  • Psalm 121:1-2

    Psalm 121:1-2

    I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

  • Psalm 141:8

    Psalm 141:8

    For my eyes are toward You, O God, the Lord; in You I take refuge; do not leave me defenseless.

  • Isaiah 26:3

    Isaiah 26:3

    The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.

  • Isaiah 55:6

    Isaiah 55:6

    Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near.

  • Hosea 10:12

    Hosea 10:12

    Sow with a view to righteousness, reap in accordance with kindness; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on you.

  • Matthew 5:6

    Matthew 5:6

    “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

  • Matthew 6:33

    Matthew 6:33

    “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

  • Matthew 14:28-33

    Matthew 14:28-33

    Peter said to Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, "You are certainly God's Son!"

  • Acts 17:27

    Acts 17:27

    that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

  • Romans 12:1-2

    Romans 12:1-2

    Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

  • 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

    1 Corinthians 9:24-27

    Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

  • Hebrews 12:1-2

    Hebrews 12:1-2

    Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

books related to this topic

  • The Way of the Heart

    The Way of the Heart

    In these increasingly more sound-polluted and frenetic years, Henri Nouwen’s simple words about the prayer of the heart will be helpful for all who seek to turn from the complex wiles of the world to the simplicity of the love of God.—Editorial by Madeleine L’Engle

  • Counterfeit Gods

    Counterfeit Gods

    This book should be required reading for all western Christians. Other cultures have their idols, but we in the West have truly made it an art form. The roots of this idolatry cannot be removed overnight, but this book is a powerful tool for attacking those roots and unashamedly and repeatedly reminding us what needs to exist in its place.—Review by Matthew Robbins

  • The Screwtape Letters

    The Screwtape Letters

    C.S. Lewis gives us the correspondence of the worldly-wise old devil to his nephew Wormwood, a novice demon in charge of securing the damnation of an ordinary young man. The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging account of temptation—and triumph over it—ever written.

  • If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got To Get Out Of The Boat

    If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got To Get Out Of The Boat

    John Ortberg invites you to consider the incredible potential that awaits you outside your comfort zone. Out on the risky waters of faith, Jesus is waiting to meet you in ways that will change you forever, deepening your character and your trust in God.

  • Knowing God

    Knowing God

    Over the past twenty years J.I. Packer’s classic has revealed to over a million Christians around the world the wonder, the glory and the joy of knowing God.

  • Radical

    Radical

    In Radical, David Platt invites you to encounter what Jesus actually said about being his disciple, and then obey what you have heard. He challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated a God-centered gospel to fit our human-centered preferences.

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