Sharper focus

by Erin Wikle –

We walked about half a mile up a dusty dirt road to the nearest store. Entering into a small and stark room, flies buzzed around our heads as we considered our options. Coke or Fanta? Bottled Coke or orange Fanta? The same two options I had yesterday. Wary of my sugar intake, since I usually opt for Diet Coke or even bottled water, I had neither of those options, so…I chose Coke. Again. Tucked away in small rural village near the edge of Zambia’s border, these were my options for afternoon refreshment.

Months later after a safe return to American soil, I passed by two McDonalds, one IHOP, four coffee huts, and three locally owned and operated coffee houses. I stopped at the fourth Starbucks I passed on my way to work. There, I was presented with a cornucopia of possibilities: Tall, nonfat, mocha; tall, nonfat, iced mocha; double tall, nonfat, iced mocha; double tall, nonfat, with whip, white chocolate mocha; double tall nonfat, iced, with whip, white chocolate mocha—with sprinkles. I got a tall latte.

It is no secret, we are a society designed to consider and even covet our options. Every day we are presented with choices—with or without whip; regular or super sized; I-5 or 99; the Honda or the Toyota; lunch in or lunch out; salmon or sushi; debit, cash, check, or credit; with or without peanuts, Mac or PC; NLT, NLV, KJV, ESV, YLT, NIRV, CEV, NCV, ASV, and of course, NIV; the 27” or 52”, CD, DVD, LCD, or HD—oh, and blue ray. And, our most recent choice: McCain or Obama.

In our society it certainly is not easy for us to live simply and spend less time consumed with the choices we’re presented with every day. But all excuses aside, what does consume you?

A few years ago a trusted friend posed this question to me. After considering it carefully, my answers were very discouraging and revealing of my character at the time. What was consuming me? Pride. Possessions. Worry. Other people’s perception of me. All of these things held no eternal value or did anything to benefit the Kingdom of God, yet each consumed my time, my energy, and my thoughts. This was a startling realization to someone who belonged to the Kingdom of God and professed to believe in his life-changing power.

Take a minute to consider this same question for yourself. What consumes you? What do you pour your time, energy, thoughts, and even your resources into? Do these things bring honor to God, or do they glorify you? What choices are you making to live a life abundant in Christ?

Consider Moses’ challenge to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 30. The same choice he set before them is set before us today: Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life…”

Fortunately, God’s grace and goodness is so great that it can free us from the all-consuming power of a world wrought in eternal indecision and into eternity with him. God’s grace offers us freedom from frivolity and brings restoration to a soul torn and tattered by the weight of the world.

My challenge to you is to choose to be consumed by God as your Creator and King. Let him shape your thoughts, actions, and intentions in a world that lives for itself. Let him reign in your life that your decisions would be God-inspired and God-honoring. Let him rule in your life that you may have an impact of eternal consequence.

Hebrews 12:28-29 states: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”

What will you choose to be consumed with? Life…or death? I pray you choose life—abundant life.

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