I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.Philippians 1:3-6
To-do lists have been around since civilizations became civilized. But one of the people that made them famous for self improvement was Benjamin Franklin. He created a thirteen week plan for growing in different virtues and he also would create a detailed to-do schedule for his day complete with starting and ending the day with a question: “what good shall I do this day?” and “what good have I done today?” To-do lists help us get things done. But when it comes to faith, the Bible tells us something different about what we do and accomplish.
When you look at the totality of the Bible, you see that none of it is about how hard you work, but all of it is about God and His mighty work. The Bible was never meant to be a to-do list that you follow through self-discipline and struggle. It is meant to be a living record of the love of God in your life and the answer to your search for purpose in this world. When you look at the gospel thread that runs through the entirety of Scripture, when you realize Jesus is the focus of all the Bible, you can see beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is the star. Not only the star, but the main focus of all of life. And as long as your focus is anything other than Jesus your life will be a big blur and your purpose will not be clear. Focus on the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. See their hands on every moment of your life, knowing that these words in Lamentations are true: “Who is there who speaks and it happens, unless the Lord has ordained it? Do not both adversity and good come from the mouth of the Most High?” (3:37–38). The whole of Scripture proves this to be true. Nothing happens in heaven or on the earth that takes God by surprise, both the good and the bad. And since He is infinite in His goodness, love, and power, then He is working everything (even bad things) for the best. And, as usual, that’s something we all can be thankful for.
Finally, wherever you put your focus you put your faith. If you put your faith in being good, in pleasing your parents, spouse, bosses, or friends, then your faith rests in your ability to be good or to please. Faith is about focus. When you take a look at your life, where is your focus? If you can’t say that Jesus has been the main focus of your life then today should be a really good day, because today can be the first day of a deeper faith in Christ. The entire focus of the Bible is God; who He is and the relationship between God and us, especially the lengths to which God would go for that relationship. And all of it hinges on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. You can’t read the Bible the same, not after seeing Jesus in every page and seeing that it all points to His glory. And you can’t look at yourself the same anymore either. Just like the Holy Spirit lives to glorify God, so you live to glorify Him as well, “For you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20). When you understand and embrace this new perspective, by God’s grace, you’ve now got a leg up on a life of thankfulness. You’ll never look at God, yourself, or your life the same! Make living for Jesus the first, second, and third items on your to-do list today!
Questions to ponder
What is easier for you to make: a schedule, a wish list, or a to-do list? Which is harder for you to make?
Have you ever thought or heard that the Bible was a to-do list or a manual for life? That would be daunting! How do you feel about it being about God, who he is, and what he has done?
What would most people who know you say is the focus of your life? What do you want it to be?