Summary: It’s interesting to try to narrow things down to one. When you do that you are identifying the most significant thing. We see this principle applied in scripture. Let’s look at some of these incidents and see what we can learn from them.
If you could have only one thing in the world what would it be? If you could only go one place where would you go? What about if there was only one thing standing in the way of you accomplishing something. It’s interesting to try to narrow things down to one. When you do that you are identifying the most significant thing. We see this principle applied in scripture. Let’s look at some of these incidents and see what we can learn from them.
1) One thing was desired.
• Wisdom. 1st Kings 3:1-13. God told Solomon to ask for anything. The one thing Solomon asked for was wisdom (a wise and discerning heart). In 2nd Chr. 1:10 he asks for wisdom and knowledge. This was his heart’s desire (2nd Chr. 1:11). And God was pleased. Solomon could’ve thought of only himself but instead he thought of others. He was thinking of God too. He knew that Israel was the nation that represented God and he wanted to bring glory and honor to God by governing his nation with a wise and discerning heart. And that’s what happened. 1st Kings 4:34 says that men of all nations came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom. And when the Queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon and realized how wise he was she said in 1st Kings 10:9, “Praise be to the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the LORD'S eternal love for Israel, he has made you king, to maintain justice and righteousness.” What if God presented us with that question? What would be the one thing you would ask for? Would your answer be the same as Solomon’s? Would your heart’s desire be for wisdom and knowledge? Would you ask for a discerning heart? Would you ask for something that would be in the best interest of God and others? James 1:5 says we can ask for wisdom and God will give it generously. If you read through the first four chapters of Proverbs, which Solomon wrote, you will see the importance he places on gaining wisdom. Solomon understood the incomparable value of wisdom. Do we?
• Closeness with God. David prayed in Psalm 27:4, “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” The one thing David wanted was to be close to God. And that included being in church! It was as if David was saying, “You can deprive me of everything else but don’t take away the privilege of being in your house. Don’t deny me the joy of being in the temple and experiencing how beautiful you are. I want to be close to you. I desire more than anything else to be in a close relationship with you. When David said “that I may dwell in the house of the Lord” he didn’t mean he wanted to live in the temple; it was signifying his deep desire to be close to God. David wanted God to be close to him. He knew what that was like and it was so important to him that it was the one thing he desired more than anything else. Paul felt that way too. In Phil. 3:7-8 he said that whatever was to his profit he considered loss for the sake of Christ. He said he considered everything a loss compared to knowing Jesus. What about us? Could we say that closeness with God is the most important thing? If we say ‘yes’ do we live like it? Does our bible collect dust? Is our prayer life virtually non-existent? Does going to church take a back seat to other events? If God took everything away from us and we were left with nothing but Him would we say we have everything we need? That pretty much happened to Job. Job grieved the loss but yet still saw fit to praise God. I believe he was able to do that because the most important thing to him was his relationship with God. Is being close to God the ‘one thing’ we desire most?
• Perseverance. Phil. 3:12-15. “Not that I have already obtained all this”. [10-11] Paul hadn’t done everything he needed to do; he hadn’t yet finished the race. He knew he needed to press on; he needed to persevere. Paul narrowed it down to one thing he needed to do in order to persevere; in order to reach the goal and claim the prize. The one thing he needed to do in order to be able to move forward; the one thing that was paramount to his spiritual growth and perseverance was to forget what was behind him. He needed to break free from his past. Not that he pretended like the past never happened but that he wasn’t going to allow it to affect his present or dictate his future. If we are going to be successful in moving forward we need to let go of past sins, resentments and shortcomings. By what Paul is saying we can realize that the one thing Satan uses to keep us from persevering is the past. He tries to convince us that our past reality of being dead in our sins is still the current reality. He tries to convince us that the past reality of not being empowered with the Holy Spirit is still the present reality. This will keep us stuck because we’re looking at ourselves as if we were never redeemed-never forgiven-never empowered with the Holy Spirit. So the one thing we need to do is forget who we once were and move forward in the present reality of what we are now. If we are not moving forward it’s because we are being held captive by our past. If we are going to persevere we need to do one thing-leave our past condition and the negative situations of our past and what they produced (character defects, hurts, hang-ups, etc.) where they belong-behind us.