Therefore, my loved ones, just as you always obey me, not just when I am present but now even more while I am away, carry out your own salvation with fear and trembling. God is the one who enables you both to want and to actually live out his good purposes. Philippians 2:12-13 (CEB)
This past week, I started working through Reuben Job’s book on prayer entitled Listen: Praying in a Noisy World. I love it, because it sets out a daily pattern and rhythm of prayer that helps my scattered and unorganized mind focus in on God’s voice. My times of meditation and prayer this week have reiterated something I have heard God saying to me for quite a while now: “Focus only on the work I have placed in front of you. Do what you’re supposed to do.”
The trouble is, I want to do everyone’s else’s stuff, too. Let me explain. . .
This weekend, my four year old niece was playing soccer. Well, she was supposed to be playing soccer. What she actually did was spend most of the game following her coach up and down the field commentating on what everyone else was doing wrong. At one point, as a girl from the other team ran the ball toward a goal, I heard my niece’s little voice say, “She’s not supposed to do that! She’s supposed to share!!” And while that might have been true, it was not my niece’s job to tell her that. At the end of the game my niece came over to us, her face downcast. “I only scored three goals,” she said. In focusing on what everyone else was or wasn’t doing, my niece didn’t play to her full potential.
The truth is, we adults rarely play to our full potential either. We’re so focused on what everyone else is doing, or not doing, that we completely ignore the work God has put in front of us to do. We get so caught up in neighborhood gossip, workplace drama, and Facebook posts that we sometimes miss out on living our own lives. Moreover, we miss out on the opportunities God is giving us to do his work, which is the entire purpose of our being.
In the book of Philippians, God is encouraging the Philippian church to continue in their work. “Press on,” Paul tells them. “Run the race God has set out for you.” In order to run that race, we need to focus our eyes, our energy, our resources, and our time on those things God has asked us to do. If you’re unsure as to what those things are, then ask God to remind you.
This weekend, as my niece struggled to stay focused on what she was supposed to do, our family called out words of encouragement from the sidelines. “Follow the ball! Get in there! You’ve got this! Keep going!” This week, know that God is telling you the same thing.
Blessings and Peace,