DOING THE DIFFICULT: KEEP FOCUSED ON GOD

INTRODUCTION

Some people love challenges. They’ll look at something new. Something hard. And they’ll take up the challenge of doing it just to get the satisfaction or thrill of knowing they can do something they’ve never done before. Something hard. Challenging. Exhilarating.

Just so you know, I am not that way at all. I am 1,000,000,000,000% a comfort-zone type of guy. I like doing the doable. That means it’s easy and doesn’t demand a whole lot of  my time, effort, or thinking. When it comes to what’s new, difficult, or challenging, you can generally count me out, folks. I’m not touching it with a ten-foot pole!

I won’t do the difficult—not unless I’m forced to—because life already has too many difficulties and challenges. I don’t need to  add to them. I don’t need any more trials or challenges!  I’m heading into my golden years and I love to relax, take it easy, and do what I love doing most. Can you guess what that is? It’s studying  the Bible and writing. I just love spending time with the Lord because He talks to me a lot of times—not audibly, but in my spirit—and He tells me lots of really neat stuff. Stuff that I’ve just got to share with you. This blog is a perfect example of the stuff God gives me when I spend time with Him. I love Him. I love what I’m doing. But I dread doing the difficult.

Here’s a question for you. When the Lord asks you to do something difficult…no, strike that. When the Lord tells you to do something difficult, something you really don’t want to do, something you think is impossible to do, something that’s a Are you out of your mind? I can’t do that! type of thing; what do you do?

Just so you know, you’re not the only one who’s had to do something really really hard. You’re not alone. We’ve all been there and done that. The biblical characters weren’t any different from us. In fact, they were exactly like us: human. I’d like to draw on their life’s experiences and, from beyond the grave, as it were, let them share with us what we’ve got to do when the Lord gives us our Mission I M possible. By God’s grace, we can do what God’s counting on us to do! Here’s how.

 KEEP FOCUSED ON GOD

Yay! You’ve read my last post in this series and you’ve decided, like David, it’s high time to obey the Lord. You can’t put it off any longer. It’s been killing you. So you’ve said a prayer, taken a deep breath, and taken the first step towards obeying God. Good for you! God’s so proud of you, I’m sure! I know I am!

Now what? Well, if you haven’t already found out, WHENEVER YOU SET YOUR MIND AND HANDS TO OBEY THE LORD THE DEVIL WILL BE RIGHT THERE WITH YOU TO TRY AND STOP  YOU. HE’LL SCARE YOU. DISCOURAGE YOU. GIVE YOU ALL SORTS OF REASONS TO QUIT.

I wish it weren’t that way, but that’s just how nasty the devil is. You think God’s gonna be with you (and He is) and things are gonna go smooth (not necessary). Everything’s gonna turn out alright (eventually, but not always at first sight). But the devil is gonna do everything he can to stop that from happening. He’s fought you this hard and this long, preventing and prolonging your obedience to God. Do you think he’s gonna stop messing with you now that you’re actually obeying God? Not on your life! The devil’s gonna work harder to make things even harder for you. To make it look like it’s not gonna work. It ain’t gonna happen. You can’t do it.  It can’t be done. You may as well stop now before you make a bigger mess and fool of yourself, the devil says.

What are you gonna do? Who are you gonna believe and follow? Think the Lord led you wrong and gave you something truly impossible for you to do? Not on your life, mister! The devil’s a lying to you and you’d best not listen to him. Make the difficult choice and continue obeying God. You know what you’ve got to do. Keep focused on the mission. Get it done. And don’t let anyone or anything stop you from doing what you know you’ve got to do. Don’t get sidetracked or distracted. Shut the devil up. Don’t let him get into your mind and convince you you can’t get ‘er done. Keep leaning on God for grace, courage, and strength. Take it one step at a time. Keep doing what God’s telling you to do, even if you’re doing just a little bit at a time. As long as you do that you’ll eventually get ‘er done.

This reminds me of one of our Lord’s disciples named Peter. It’d been a really long day with the Lord ministering to gobs and gobs of people (Matthew 14:13-23). Evening was setting in. Jesus fed the five-thousand. Dusk was on it’s way—a beckoning reminder to all that it was time to wrap things up and call it a day. So Jesus sent His  twelve disciples in a boat across the Sea. He would stay on shore for a while, send the multitudes of folks on their way, then He would stay a while and pray by Himself. Eventually, He’ll meet up with the disciples on the other side.

It wasn’t long before things took a terrifying and disheartening turn for the worse (Matthew 14:24-33). A storm came up while the disciples were at sea. If you’ve ever been at sea or on the shoreline while it was storming you can very well imagine what was happening to the disciples as the waves and winds beat mercilessly against the boat, threatening to sink it. The disciples, I’m sure, to a man, were panic-stricken as they frantically bailed water out of the boat, rowed against the winds, and hung on for dear life. Wow! What an awful time to be alone, on your own, and not have Jesus around to bail you out! Talk about baaaad timing! I can see tempers flaring and mouths running loose. Why did Jesus send us across the sea at such a lousy time as this? This was one bad call!

Jesus, I’m sure, was very well aware of what was happening to His disciples out on the sea. But He continued praying until He was done praying. Finally, sometime between 3 AM and 6 AM, Jesus came to His disciples walking on the water! Remember it’s storming really bad. It’s dark. The disciples have been rowing for a good 7 to 9 hours. They tired and tuckered out. They weren’t in the best of moods.

Suddenly, in the faint moon light, they saw someone walking towards them on the water! It’s a ghost!, they all cried. But Jesus assured them it was He Himself for real (Matthew 14:25-27). I’m sure the disciples’ moods were instantly changed by the sight of their Lord. With Jesus came hope and the miracle of certain survival!

Well, Jesus was still a ways off from the boat. Even though the voice was familiar, the form wasn’t entirely clear to the disciples. Peter, for one, wasn’t totally sure that it really was Jesus. People can’t walk on water! That’s impossible! But ghosts can! This guy’s got to be a ghost!  Peter’s unconvinced it’s really Jesus. So he decided that if it was really Jesus walking out there on the water, then, Jesus had better prove it by telling Peter to come to Him walking on the water (Matthew 14:28). Peter must’ve figured if Jesus could walk on water, then he could too! Like I said in my intro, some guys thrive on challenges. So Jesus gives the order. Come!

Amazingly, for a guy who must’ve battled fear many times while out on the sea  during a storm, Peter mustered the courage and faith, got out of the boat, and started walking towards Jesus! Peter was actually walking on water! He was doing something that was ordinarily, humanly impossible! Like Jesus told us, WE CAN DO THE IMPOSSIBLE AS LONG AS WE BELIEVE (Matthew 17:20, Mark 9:23).

Now everything to this point has been unimaginably, excruciating difficult. But walking on water will be Peter’s worst nightmare. Now he’s got no boat protecting him from sinking. The other disciples aren’t close enough to him to hold on to him. He’s gonna survive this storm and walk on water strictly on his own faith. Nothing else is holding him up. He’ll sink if he gets skeptical. He’ll drown if he doubts.

Peter does fine as long as he keeps his eyes on Jesus. As long as he stays focused on Christ he’ll succeed.

But, like many of us, Peter succumbs to the temptation of looking around at the awful circumstances that he’s faced with. He takes his eyes off of  Jesus, looks at the winds and waves, and, you guessed it, he begins to sink.

Matthew 14:29-31 tells the story this way: So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.  (30)  But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.  (31)  Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt Me?”

BRETHREN, WHEN YOU GET YOUR EYES OFF OF JESUS YOU’LL GET SCARED EVERYTIME. LOOKING AT BAD CIRCUMSTANCES IS BAD FOR YOUR FAITH. FOCUSING ON WHAT’S HARD WILL MAKE THE TASK EVEN HARDER. THINKING ABOUT THE FEARFUL WILL MAKE YOU FEARFUL. AND FEAR WILL KEEP YOU FROM DOING WHAT YOU’VE SET OUT TO DO. IT’LL STOP YOU AND SINK YOU.

Do you wanna know how to do the difficult? Just do it and keep your eyes focused on Jesus. Concentrate on getting the job done.

I know that’s easier said than done. But I’m no armchair theologian. I’ve been there and I know what it’s like to be really, really scared. But I tell you this. Like the disciples rowing frantically and fearfully in the sea, Jesus will come to you in the midst of your fears and help you! You’re never alone! You belong to Him and He will not leave you on your own. He’ll always come to the rescue. Let these truths sink into your heart and mind and let them anchor your ship in the troubled storms of life.

The alternative isn’t pretty. If you take your eyes off of the Lord and look at all the obstacles, difficulties, and fears that the devil’s putting in your way, you’re gonna get scared. Naturally. And when you’re scared you’ll begin to lose your faith. You’ll start doubting God. Friends, YOU CAN’T DO THE DIFFICULT WHEN YOU’RE FEARFUL AND DOUBTFUL. THE DIFFICULT CAN BE DONE ONLY IF YOU BELIEVE AND KEEP ON BELIEVING. YOU’LL LOSE FAITH WHEN YOU’RE LOOKING AT CIRCUMSTANCES INSTEAD OF CHRIST.

Keep your eyes, mind, and entire being focused on Jesus and the mission and you’ll accomplish the mission. As long as you do that, like Peter walking on the water, all the bad stuff that’s happening around you, trying to stop you, will not be able to stop you from accomplishing your mission. You will succeed when your mind and entire being are set on obeying the Lord.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you were encouraged and emboldened in the Lord. I pray God help you stay focused and give you the grace to look at nothing else but Him. He’ll get you through as long as you’re depending and focused on Him. God bless you dearly.

4 Comments

  1. jan bucher said,

    January 4, 2015 at 5:13 PM

    as always ..a blessing..love how God starts with asking us to do small things and then bigger building our trust..biggest thing ever was moving out of state with 400.00 to our name..away from all family..proved himself to us in many ways

    • gaylorddiaz said,

      January 4, 2015 at 5:27 PM

      Wow! That was quite a move, Jan. I’m sooo glad you guys obeyed the Lord. Sometimes the things God asks us to do is scary to us. God’s soooo good to let us know He’s present and will help us do what we’ve got to do. God doesn’t expects us to do it all on our own. God is indeed our Refuge and a very present help in time of trouble. May God continue to abundantly bless you and your family.

  2. Brenda said,

    January 17, 2015 at 7:39 PM

    Dear Gaylord

    How blessed it is to look back over our lives with Jesus and see His faithfulness when circumstances were dire. The older we get, the longer we have had to walk daily, trust daily, with our Lord. Taking the time to hear His voice, like you mentioned you so enjoy, is often “key” to my success in trials. When you know you have the mind of the Lord in a situation, pressing on becomes your only option.

    You are a blessing. Brenda

    • gaylorddiaz said,

      January 18, 2015 at 10:58 AM

      So true, Brenda, and well said. And the beautiful thing I love about pressing on, despite the difficulties and pains that may come with it, is that God gives us the grace to press on. The resolve and strength comes from Him. And thru His empowering grace He is glorified in our faithful perseverance. God is truly soooo good even in the trials of life. May God abundantly bless you and your family.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: