The secret to being a Christian is hidden right there in the name itself, “Christ”. He is the secret sauce to it all. To be “Christ -like” is to be the embodiment of a Christian. Of course, we will never be able to obtain perfection as he did, being sinless and having no fault. However, the goal, is to strive for it each and every day by trying our best to display His character and qualities when handling each other and ourselves. The goal is also to walk completely and pursue passionately the purpose that God had in mind for us before the very foundations of this earth just as Jesus Christ did. Ignoring and casting away everything else that means nothing and focusing only on the things that push purpose.
I realize every single day that it is remarkably easy to allow the trivial things, the things that mean nothing, to distract us from what we were meant to do. Whether it be work, family, friends, or even perceived enemies, these are the things we get extremely caught up on. I can say for myself that I allow these things to consume my sight so much that when I finally stand up from shallow waters, I have found that months later I am no farther from the shore than when I started. I realized that there was a boat waiting for me to take me to the next destination but, I became so distracted by the things still connected to the shore, I forgot why I even set out into the water in the first place!
I really hope I’m making sense at this point because I know I just dove off the deep end into a pool of metaphor but, what I am hoping that we all grasp is that a lot of the stuff that consume our vision on a daily basis don’t even matter.
I heard one of my favorite preachers Pastor Steven Furtick say in a sermon, maybe a year or two ago, “What does it matter compared to my purpose?” That question shook me more than I realized because it is something that I have saved and think about often. Pastor Furtick, in his message, was referring to passage in the bible in Philippians when he says “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.” (Philippians 1:18). In this passage, Paul is in prison and he is writing to the church at Philippi, a letter that will eventually be known as “the epistle, or letter, of joy”. In this particular passage, Paul was addressing the report of the different ways the gospel was being preached and the motives that these preachers had when teaching. Some were proclaiming Christ but had malicious intent, wishing to see Paul in further pain, and some were teaching with love and pure intent.
Now upon hearing this , for us, this would have been a trigger! We would have instantly taken it upon ourselves to cast judgment on the way in which they taught. We would have been engulfed in who should be allowed to teach and why they are allowed to continue teaching the gospel despite their impure motives. If we be honest, in a social media age, we all, at some point, would have taken it upon ourselves to be judge, jury, and executioner. But Paul’s response goes against the nature of us all.
Paul’s response showed us how to keep the main thing, the main thing! Philippians 1:18 “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.” In this moment, Paul was not concerned with the motives behind their teaching. Why, you may ask? Because the gospel WAS being taught! It didn’t matter that some of the teachers were only teaching the gospel with their own well beings in mind, they were teaching the gospel. Those that were listening to their sermons were not worried about the person teaching, they were being taught about the ministry of Jesus and they were learning how to live a life of salvation. That was the main thing!
Here we see that, for Paul, nothing else mattered but the purpose that God had set in motion for him when he called him on the road to Damascus. The gospel of Jesus was being preached to all who would listen. The purpose of God was being walked out completely even by those who had no pure interest in the purpose and passionately pursued by Paul even from a prison cell. That is what matters! This is the position we must take when it comes to our lives and the gifts that God has entrusted us with. The circumstance doesn’t matter, the people don’t matter, your current location doesn’t matter! Why? Because as long as you are forever focusing on the main thing, everything else has to line up! When God puts his stamp of approval on your gifts and purpose, nothing in this world has power enough to disrupt it.
We have to keep our eyes to the hills and remember that “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). He will complete it! No “if”, “ands”, or “buts” about it!
So, all the frivolous worries, needless attitudes, and self-righteous behaviors mean nothing because, when you compare it to your purpose, they fall short every time. When you compare the doubt that you have now to the purpose set before you, it could never measure up. When you take the hurt and traumas from your childhood and put it up to the mirror of your purpose, the purpose will always be more beautiful!
So, I dare you to start asking what Pastor Furtick did. “What does it matter compared to your purpose?” If it doesn’t mature you, cause you to grow and expand, or push the kingdom forward, drop it on the shore. If it adds no value to you or the life that God has entrusted you with, leave it at the shore. Let’s make a commitment together to start dropping all the baggage at the shore so that when we begin to look back and reflect on how far we have come, the shore will be a distant memory and ahead of you is the completion of the GOOD work God has started in you!