Summary: Part 3 of 3 in the series "Going for the Gold." The third characteristic of a world-class Christian is focus.
Going For The Gold:
How to be a World-Class Christian
August 15, 2004
This weekend marked the beginning of the Olympic games in Athens. World-class athletes from all around the globe have gathered to go for the gold. During this time we have been discussing what it takes to become a world-class Christian. We have learned in the previous weeks’ messages that it takes sacrifice and determination. This week we are going to be discussing the third characteristic of those who become world-class Christians. World-class Christians have focus.
To become world-class at anything you have to be focused on what you are trying to accomplish. And herein lies the challenge: you can’t focus on more than one thing at a time. You can either do five things so-so or you can do one thing with excellence.
Have you noticed that typically world-class athletes focus on only one thing? They may be entered in more than one event, but those events are very similar. It is not unusual to see an athlete entered in the 100m and the 200m. He is focused on sprinting. There is nothing strange about seeing an athlete entered in the butterfly and the backstroke. She is focused on swimming. However, it would be highly unusual (and in fact may never have happened) to see a wrestler also entered in gymnastics. Or to see a sprinter also entered in a marathon. Or to see a swimmer also entered in the shot put. Why don’t you see that happen? Because those are very different sporting events and therefore they require very different training regimens. Because world-class athletes understand that they can’t focus on two different training regimens at the same time they choose one to focus on.
The same is true with you. You cannot focus on doing more than one thing and expect to do anything with excellence. I’m not saying that you can’t do other things, but one of them has to be your primary focus.
In order to be a world-class Christian you have to be focused on growing spiritually. Are you more focused on your physical workout or your spiritual workout? Are you more focused on you physical diet or your spiritual diet? Which should be your focus? The apostle Paul said, “Physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (Php. 4:8). Spiritual training is of greater importance and therefore it should be the focus of your life. In fact, it must be if you want to become a world-class Christian.
Once again we will be turning to the twelfth chapter of Hebrews to see how this issue of focus should play out in our lives.
1. FOCUS ON THE FINISH.
2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
By fixing our eyes on Jesus we are fixing our eyes on the finish line the way a sprinter does. The KJV says that Jesus is “the author and finisher of our faith.” He endured the cross and when he had finished his work he sat down at the right hand of God in heaven. So when we focus on Jesus sitting on the throne at the right hand of the Father in heaven we are focusing on the goal – to be in heaven with Jesus. This should be the goal of every Christian as Jesus said in Revelation 3:21, “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.”
We may in fact be surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us as examples for us to follow, but it is Jesus himself who is our supreme example. “Christ suffered for you. Leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).
Why did Jesus endure the cross? Because he was focused on the joy that was set before him the way an Olympic sprinter is focused on the finish line set before him. He was focused on the joy that would be his when he successfully provided a way of salvation for all who would believe in him. He was focused on the joy that would be his when he returned to heaven to tell the Father, “Mission accomplished.”
Can you imagine the consequences if Jesus had gotten distracted from his mission? What could be more tragic than a world full of people needing saving and no Savior? What are the consequences of you being distracted from your God-given purpose in life? of being distracted from the finish line?