When it came close to the time for his Ascension, he gathered up his courage and steeled himself for the journey to Jerusalem.
Luke 9:51 MSG
To achieve in life what we truly want, we will have to be focused.
How’s your focus? Have you become distracted, double-minded or divided while trying to fulfill your destiny? Jesus faced some of the same things. Let’s look at his life and see if we can rekindle our focus.
Jesus was not distracted. A distraction is something that diverts attention. Young, undisciplined persons may be easily distracted. They may follow every wind and trend; uncertain about what they want and where they are going. Even mature persons are often uncertain about what’s next. However, as we grow, we should realize that when our course has been laid out and defined, we cannot allow our attention to be diverted.
Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. There were many distractions along the way. Some people wouldn’t receive him so he kept moving. Another asked to join him on the journey. Jesus told him we don’t stay in the best inns. He asked another to follow his ministry, but that person wanted to be excused to make funeral arrangements for his father. Jesus challenged him to put the kingdom of God first. Another said he was ready to follow Jesus but needed to “straighten some things out at home.” Jesus didn’t allow these encounters to distract him from his mission.
Jesus was not double-minded. To be double-minded is to allow the mind to “fold” or “bend over on itself.”
People who are double-minded may be characterized as fickle, flaky, unstable, shaky. You don’t know where they are from one minute to the next. When challenged to state their convictions, they will “waffle,” “play both sides,” they will “straddle the fence.” Their “yes” is a maybe and their “no” is a might.
You can’t depend on them because their minds are not made up. You can’t go to war with them because they don’t know whose side they’re on. You can’t count on them because they’re liable to back out at the last minute.
The apostle James enlightens us on what being double-minded is. If you need wisdom — if you want to know what God wants you to do — ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind (double-minded person) is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. They can’t make up their minds. They waver back and forth in everything they do. James 5:1-8 NLT
Dennis Waitley states that “goals provide the energy source that powers our lives. One of the best ways we can get the most from the energy we have is to focus it. That is what goals can do for us: concentrate our energy.”
Jesus was focused on a goal: Get to Jerusalem, die on a cross, be buried in a tomb, rise again after three days, show himself for 40 days to his followers, ascend to heaven. His mind was resolute.
Jesus was not divided. The origins of this word denote to “force apart or remove.” Once your mind is made up, you should not allow anything to tear you apart from your God-ordained goal and destination.
Where double-minded reveals the state of the mind at a crossroad, division takes the mind completely away from the path it has chosen. Where distracted infers a temporary shift of attention, division causes the mind to work against its determined course.
Abraham Lincoln quoted the words of Jesus from this passage in Luke 11:17: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.” NIV
A tactic in warfare is known as “divide and rule (or conquer).” This is to maintain control over opponents by encouraging an internal disunity that makes them ineffective. Jesus didn’t allow himself to be divided against his purpose, plan and destiny.
Jesus was focused on his mission to touch and transform the world. He did it in just three years of ministry. Today we are reaping the blessings from his intense focus on that mission.
How’s your focus? Are you focused on your mission, vision and goals? Or, have you become distracted, double-minded or divided along the way? Jesus will help you to focus so that you can achieve the victory.
Dr. William M. Campbell Jr. is pastor of Anderson Chapel AME Church in Killeen.