Posted in focus on faith

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

trophy_stanleycuplg-2If you’re a hockey fan, it’s that glorious season when sane people who endured another Canadian winter are outside hugging daffodils but you (and me) are hunkered in front of a screen hollering at the refs and screaming when we score.

We are into the second round of the playoffs. My team, the Calgary Flames, are down two games to one but we’re hopeful, and Gerry’s team, the Montreal Canadians, are trying to pull off a miraculous come-from-behind victory. It’s intense!

By the time you read this, both our teams might be golfing! As a matter of fact, even if one of them goes all the way to the final round and somehow wins the coveted Stanley Cup, I daresay most of you won’t know it, won’t care, and surely won’t remember it longer than a year or two. Well Gerry will remember forever but he’s a rabid lifelong fan. I however, only take an interest if we make the playoffs. Fair-weather fan.

If you follow sports, you know the importance of focus. You know that athletes are taught to discipline not just their bodies but also their minds. They learn to visualize success and to keep their eyes on the prize. According to Bill Hybels in Simplify, believers would do well to have the same plan.

Hybels testifies that having a life verse has kept him focused and gotten him back on track repeatedly in his adult life. His life verse is 1 Corinthians 15:58: Therefore be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your work is never in vain if it is in the Lord.

Do you have a life verse? Is there one Bible verse, in whole or in part, that you come back to over and over again? If the answer is yes, I suspect that verse keeps you focused on the prize but that’s not all. Perhaps, like Hybels, it does more:

1. It clarifies what matters most — it directs my attention to God’s unique calling and assignments, it clarifies for me how my best efforts should be spent. It gives me focus.

2. It calls out the best in me — it minces no words; its marching orders for my life are blindingly clear

3. It brings comfort — knowing that I am competing in the race that really matters (seeking heavenly reward by making earthly sacrifice) might look crazy to those who spend their lives building up their portfolio but having a life verse comforts me, reminding me what to do and why I do it.

Having a life verse is one of the most powerful tools I know for simplifying your life. It keeps you on course. It helps you make wise decisions about where to invest your time, energy, and gifts. It motivates you to ruthlessly trim the waste from your life. It drives you to live each day with fervency and passion.  

ACTION STEP: Find a Life Verse

Maybe you already have one. I do. Mark 14:8 She did what she could. This phrase has rescued, refocused, and comforted me countless times as I battled my way through crippling anxiety, fear and panic in my stumbling effort to follow God one yes at a time as a pastor’s wife, writer and speaker. It kept me moving forward when I wanted to quit. It showed me that even small things matter if they are done for the Lord. It kept me responsible to use, and not waste, my talents. And, best of all, it was short enough that even I could commit it to memory!

If you need a life verse, be on the lookout as you read the Word. Look online. Once you find your verse, memorize it and let it guide, focus, and comfort you.