Keeping Newness New
“Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16).
We are challenged to remain excited about the things that have entered our life with a "new car” smell. New things always carry excitement to the one who receives them. But it seems like just as soon as they come new, they tend to become old. We seem to lose interest in things the longer they are in our lives. And once they become old, we seem to lose the zeal we once had for them.
Christians face that same challenge in their spiritual walk with the Lord that snatched “them from the fires” (Jude 23) that was once going to consume their souls. In our spiritual walk we face the greatest challenge of not allowing our physical habits to hinder our spiritual faithfulness. Our fleshly habit with new things is to grow tired of them quickly. How can we avoid this habit from infiltrating our spiritual zeal? We will look at God’s word to help us remain focused.
To the Christian, spiritual maturity is what is important and we must stay excited about reaching that goal. Like the football player in the NFL whose goal is to reach the Super Bowl, we must not allow temporary defeats to take our focus off the overall goal. Satan is like the opponent on the gridiron trying to defeat us in a game so we will be discouraged and lose focus on the overall season. He uses trials to try to discourage our faith, but proper focus helps us to overcome these attempts: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:2-3).
The way to remain faithful to our goal is to remain joyful even during trials knowing God is using them to strengthen our faith. If we choose to focus on the trials and not the result we will get burned out and will one day lose the zeal these trials were designed to build in us. When Jesus faced the trial of the cross, His focus was on the result of the trial and not the trial itself. He didn’t allow Satan to discourage His focus. His Father promised to raise Him on the third day to reveal to man that eternal life had been made available to the faithful and that was the focus Jesus remained fixed on to persevere the most agonizing trial ever faced by man. His focus kept Him determined to accomplish His Father’s will and His faith revealed victory to all.
Satan tries to get us to focus on the temporary agonies of the trials we face so we will get discouraged and lose our zeal for the life that is offered through the Suffering Savior. But proper focus will keep us strong. Remaining focused on the victory of Christ will keep us from allowing fear to overcome us and steal our joy: “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
God has called us to the life of His Son. It is a life of self-denial, sacrifice and suffering. To gain the goal of holiness that this life offers we must remain focused on the One who has overcome the temptations to give up. Don’t let Satan steal your life by causing you to lose focus. Persevere these trying times and prove to yourself and to those around you the powerful the life in Christ.