Singlemindedness

by Milton Eder

A man can destroy his life in one of three ways. The first is to give in to his lazy, slothful nature and do nothing. The second way to destroy your life is to give yourself to a goal, work hard, and discover at the end that you gave yourself to the wrong goal. I have known many who have done this. Some have poured out their story in bitter retreat and tears. The third way is to become a dabbler and never really do anything.

Joshua was warned about dabbling, “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go (emphasis mine) (Joshua 1:7).” This is not a warning against walking down the wrong path, but against turning first to one side and then another.

I’ve watched men like that. They start out well, but something comes along that grabs their fancy and they are sidetracked. They finally see the folly of their ways and turn back to the path, only to be sidetracked again by something else farther down the road. A pitiful thing! Good men, with good hearts, going nowhere. Why? Easily diverted. The single-mindedness of Moses or Paul or Christ Himself is not a part of their lives.

Someone complains, “that’s tough to do.” Of course it’s tough! The apostle Paul said, “I press toward the mark.” he did not say, “I float toward the mark, I glide toward the mark, I slip and slide toward the mark, or I drift toward the mark.” He said  press and that always presupposes opposition. the world will lure you ad the devil will fight you, but if you run the race looking unto Jesus, He will enable you to finish well.

Paul’s testimony vividly illustrates this: “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace (Acts 20:24)” The greatest joy in life is to know that you are in the perfect will of God, doing what He wants in the way He wants it done.

The warriors of Zebulun challenge us in this regard: “from Zebulun, experienced soldiers prepared for battle with every type of weapon, to help David with undivided loyalty - 50,000 (emphasis mine 1 Chronicles 12:33). here were men that went into battle, trained, equipped, disciplined and singleminded.

Each of us has a course to follow, a mission to accomplish, a goal to attain. I recall an incident in my life that determined my destiny. The following story of a young man demonstrates this point. “My wife and I had met the Lord through reading the Bible. We did not have many people around us who could give us deep spiritual counsel, but we both became convinced we should follow the Lord with singeness of purpose. A pastor, the Rev. Arlan Halverson of Harlan, Iowa, told us about a school in Minneapolis where we could learn the Word of God. We were new Christians and eager to grow, so we determined to go to that school and give our lives completely to Christ’s service. I had a good job at the time and when I began to tell my co-workers about what I was planning to do I received nothing but static. They called it foolishness – fanaticism. Throwing away a good job with high pay and security was madness. But we knew what we must do.

I quit my job and prepared to leave Council Bluffs, Iowa for Northwestern College. We sold some of our possessions, gave away most of the rest and were free to go. We put our clothing and a few household items in small boxes, loaded them on a child’s coaster wagon and headed for the train station. Virginia pulled the wagon and I pushed, and we launched out on a road of high adventure. We determined we would not only not look back, but we would not even look to the right or to the left. We would keep our eyes on Jesus and follow Him however He led. Many years have passed and we have faced opposition and trials, but He continues to show us the way.”

Today the Lord is looking for people who care nothing for the empty praise or temporal pleasures of this world. He is seeking men and women who care that the world needs Christ and who are eager to follow Him with single-mindedness and purpose. The testimony of Paul is an encouragement to remain faithful to the end. “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing (2 Timothy 4:6-8).”

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