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Shape Up: FOCUS

By Pastor John Mateos Ong

You are a product of your habits. This means that if you want to lose weight but you keep on snacking in the morning and getting junk food every chance you get, you will gain weight. Those who want to up their status in life but watch tv all day and scroll their facebook feed will not go anywhere either. The results will depend on their habits. Others may say they want to be more Christlike. But when they wake up int he morning, the first thing they do is browse Facebook. Wrong book. They should be reading their Bible to achieve their goal.

It is the New Year. But what has rally changed? 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away – look, what is new has come!” If you are a Christians, you are a new creation. From time to time, you bring in new people to church. They might be blessed; but when you look at them after one or two weeks, they did not change. Can you say that you are really a new creation? What are the things that you need to change to really shape up? You need to change you focus.

Nowadays, because of technologically, everything can be autofocus. But where should you really focus? Hebrews 12:2 says, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Do you know how Jesus was able to bear all the insults, spit, whip, blows, and slaps hurled at him? How could a powerful God allow HImself to be beaten up and insulted? He focused on what is waiting for Him; sitting on the right hand of the Father in heaven. If He did not focus on that, maybe He could have killed everyone who was against Him. He could have called for help from the Father. How Christ focused on that thought is how you should focus on your Christian walk.

Sometimes, you keep on running without a focus. But when you see people running alongside you, you continue hoping that there is a goal at the end. Many run the race of life this way. You run and do your best but there is nothing you are focusing on.

  1. Focus on a New Spirit in You - Ezekiel 36:26-27 says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Is it easy to become a Christian? No. If you follow the Bible, Christianity is impossible. I have not seen a Christian who never looked back since he accepted Christ. Once you accept the truth that there is a new spirit in you, you will not let go easily. Because if you truly accepted Jesus, then you have received the Holy Spirit. If so, it cannot be taken back by God. If you commit a sin, He does not leave. If you do not know this, you are putting yourself in a position where the devil can whisper in your ear. If you hear this, do not worry. The Holy Spirit in you is still fighting. Sometimes, you cannot see change because the Holy Spirit is in you. It is not visible to the eye. Transformation happens from the inside out. This is better than the other way around. You can change when people are looking; but when they turn their back, you will go back to your old ways. But when change comes from within, even if external factors change, change will remain because it is you who decided. For some people, Christianity is like wearing clothes. You wear it on Sunday and take it off the rest of the days when you are not in church. So how do you deal with non-believers? 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 tells you to mingle with them but to know your limitations. God called you to reach out to them as long as they do not lure you into their ways. Do not hate the sinner; hate the sin. Christianity does not mean shutting our people who have a different belief. They are your mission. They are the reason why you are still on earth. The Bible also tells you not to yoke yourself with unbelievers. What Paul is saying is not to have long-term relationships like business partnerships and marriages with unbelievers. Mingling with them is fine.

  2. Focus on a New Mind in Progress - Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” You need to focus that no matter what happens, you have a new spirit. Even if your life is going astray, there is a new spirit in you. There is also something you must do. You need to renew your mind. You have to focus on the current work. When you renew your mind, you will see your progress. Christians should now follow the world, ergo, they should let the world follow the word of God.

  3. Focus on being given a new body - Phil. 3:20-21 says, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Focus that someday, you are going to have a new body. Knowing this, it will allow you to separate the things that are temporary from he things that are eternal. Someday, jesus will come to give you your permanent bodies. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Is it possible to experience these blessings on earth? Yes. But you need to renew your mind. If not, you will think that blessings only equate to money. But this is not the only blessing you can receive. Health is a more important blessing right? If you focus on the things that you do not have rather than the things that you do have, you are going to be a discontented person.

How does success look to you? What is your definition of success? If you cannot define it, you might not know that you are already successful. What is your target? Is your success measured by how the world defines it? Do you need to be popular with a big bank account? Do you need many likes on your Instagram or Facebook post? John 12:42-43 says, “Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God.” The problems you face today are the testimonies God will use tomorrow. If you do not have a problem, you have no story to tell later on. With the pain comes strength. Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” You will have problems every now and then and these can trap you into sin. Let go and let God. Confess these things to Him. Change your habits. Commit at all costs.

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