“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”– Zig Ziglar
Jesus was purposeful, but without personal ambition. He was focused, to complete the task for which He was sent.
Focus – pulled towards the centre. (Greek understanding).
Systematic Relentless Determination – Intentional Living
We all struggle to some degree with purpose. The political and economic instability in South Africa is forcing us like cattle and sheep into a crush. May the Lord use the circumstances to vaccinate us, and administer the necessary medication to heal us of our self-centered arrogance, selfishness, and self-righteousness.
Walk The Straight Path
“Enter through the narrow gate. The gate that leads to destruction is wide and the road to it is wide, and those who enter through it are many. But the gate that leads to life is narrow and the way to it is narrow, and those who find it are few.” (Matt. 7: 13-14; Luke 13: 22-24). στενός: stenós, fem. stenḗ, neut. stenón, adj. Straight, narrow, with reference to the gate leading to life (Matt. 7: 13-14; Luke 13:24; Septuagint Isa. 49:20). I am saying you have to walk the straight path.
Keywords: reduce, diminish, narrow, narrow, shrink, penetrating, meticulous, accurate.
A pile of explosives that are remotely ignited makes a great noise and smoke but it does little damage. Insert and confine this explosive into a bullet casing, and it causes huge damage. “A rolling stone gathers no moss” is an old proverb, credited to Publilius Syrus, who in his Sententiae states, people who are always moving, with no roots in one place or another, avoid responsibilities and cares.
Jesus’ Life Was Intentional
Jesus chose a small, intimate community for His formative years with few options, aspirations or ambitions. He lived and moved in a relatively small area. Born and raised in Bethlehem, Judea, in a small sandy field house in the inconspicuous village of Nazareth, He was located in a high mountainous limestone plateau above the Jezreel and Beth Netofa valleys. He then travelled to Nazareth, a small fishing village near the main routes of Jerusalem. He was an artisan for 18 years. At 12, He already understood that He must be busy with His heavenly Father’s work (Luke 2:45). He had no ambition to do anything of His own. “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” (John 2: 4).
Jesus’ declaration: “I must…”:
Luke 2:49, “And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”
Luke 4:43, “but He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.”
Luke 9:22, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”
Luke 13:33, “Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.”
Luke 19:5, “And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”
John 9:4, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.”
Thirty-five times it is said, “The scripture is fulfilled.” This means that He allowed Himself to be “limited” by Scripture, to fulfill it. Today we want to be everything to all people. He knew which scriptures to fulfill. It speaks of a narrow focus.
Jesus does not give options. The gospel cannot be adapted to our needs, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6). “The people say, but I tell you.”… His teaching was simple, to the point, and direct. You had to either accept it or reject it.
He had no prejudice and had no “universal smile” and praised the faith of a Roman official and pagan women, but condemned the falsehood of the Pharisees and scribes. He called Herod “a fox”, having no fear of man.
Jesus Achieved His Goal
Therefore, Jesus was able to declare: “It is finished” (John 17: 4; John 19:28). He achieved the goal.
You can only finish something, if you have decided in advance what you want to do.
His “food” was to do the will of the Father (John 4:32). Again, a very close, specific single focus. You cannot hit five targets at once.
He also calls us to lead a meticulous, holy, set-apart life (Matt. 16:24).
The difference between a lake and a wetland is the clear dam wall. To live purposefully, you need to limit yourself, set boundaries.
We talk about the visual arts because of its boundaries, frames, focus, composition and discipline. Musicians focus their music on genre, set rhythm and key. Poetry and prose follow certain rules, rhythm, accents and it is a real pleasure to see someone combine all these rules and create a flamboyant creation.
Keywords: intentional, calculated, premeditated, willful, purpose-driven, deliberate
A purposeful life is a lot like ŉ GPS system in many cars. It shows you the way to where you want to go. A GPS requires a determined destination: where are you going? It has a starting point. A GPS knows where to start your journey. And as soon as you start moving, a route is calculated – a path to follow. In the same way we live by God’s Word and by Jesus as our Way. Psalm 119: 105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” If we encounter an obstacle or congestion of traffic, an alternative route is sought, but still with the one end goal in sight.
The Key To Intentionality
Constantly ask yourself if something is acceptable to the Lord (Eph. 5:10). Jesus shows us the road map for life. Like Christ, God has prepared for each of us a way, a path, that we must complete! When you do not even know what race you are registered for, how can you finish it?
“For the maximum efficiency to fulfill all our God-given potential and receive the blessings of God, we must pay the price to position ourselves to become wholeheartedly purposeful. Our lifestyle is guided by the Christ-centered Word-directed guidance of the Holy Spirit. ”
The Lord warned us at one point that someone was going to betray us. When it happened, it was very intense for us as it was one of the people closest to us. When I asked the Lord how we should deal with it, His answer was, “Pardon it as part of your guidance in Christ, and be glad.” Then I went to see how Jesus handled the similar situation: He steadfastly fastened Himself to His calling and to finish it. Focus and purposefulness are the direction of your heart. “Where your treasure is, your heart will be” (Matt. 6:21) Like when we first fell in love, focusing all our attention on one person. This is how the Lord wants to take this place in our hearts. We are most fulfilled when we love Him deeply. To love the Lord with all our heart, strength and mind is a form of focus and the whole mindset of the heart.
Based on the discovery of His love for us, we love the Lord with all our heart, our whole mind, our whole mind and all our strength! (Deut. 10:12; 30: 6; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27). After all, Jesus is the reason for our existence, because “He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). His love heals and restores our being, and works in us to love one another with all believers as He loves us (Lev. 19:18). LOVE IS FOCUS.
More Examples of Intentionality
JESUS: When the Samaritans did not receive Him, He became even more determined to finish His work. As the time approached for Jesus to be taken up into heaven, He determinedly began the journey to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51).
“His face was [set as if He was] going to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:53).
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures..” (James 1:17-18).
MOSES: “…for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” (Heb. 11:27).
DAVID: “I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.” (Ps. 16:8).
A Double-Minded Man is Unstable In All His Ways (Jas. 1: 8)
Purposefulness is a matter of the heart:
“When the eye of the body is single, the whole body will be full of light .” (KJV). “Die lamp van die liggaam is die oog. As jou oog goed is, sal jou hele liggaam lig hê. Maar as jou oog sleg is, sal jou hele liggaam sonder lig wees. As die lig in jou donker is, hoe donker moet dit dan nie wees nie!” (Matt. 6:22).
The Greek word for “single-mindedness” is “opthalmous haplous”. “Opthalmous” means: simple, uncomplicated, not confusing, established, healthy, focused without distracting from the subject in sight. It means “in single member, right behind the leader, without ambiguity or motives and sincere”. In other words, if you are sincere, you are not pretending; there is no hypocrisy or self-obsession behind every action. Sincerity removes the blind spot in your rearview mirror! (Strongs 573. ἁπλόος haplóos)
“When the eye accomplishes its purpose of seeing things as they are, then it is haploús, single, healthy, perfect. Singleness, simplicity, absence of folds. ‘Haplous’ means ‘braided or plaited together as one, interwoven’.”
Your will is intertwined with God’s will for your life. Is. 40:31: “But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
Directional stability (steadfastness): with one eye; honest, sincere, unambiguous; one after the other, one-on-one, wholeheartedness, purposefulness, purposefulness, concentration on one goal, simplicity. The dictionary explains steadfastness as: sincere, generous, without deception, simple.
• Faith is “single focus”
• Holiness is single focus
• Divinity is “single focus”
• Calling is “single focus”
“…and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” (2 Cor. 10:6). Obedience is a form of focus, accuracy.
• Through accuracy you gain authority
• Through accuracy you increase your territory and influence
• Through accuracy you become confident and confident
• Accuracy makes you more efficient.
Learn / Practice To Say No
Only when you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, not to just say “yes” to everything, can you make your biggest contribution to the things that really matter.
Essentialism is not about getting more things done; it’s about getting the right things done. Essentialism is a disciplined, systematic approach to determining where our greatest contribution lies and then making the execution of those things almost effortless.
Individual choice: We can choose how to spend our energy and time.
The occurrence of noise: Almost everything is noise and very few things are particularly valuable.
The reality of trade-offs: We cannot have it all or do it all. You have to give up one thing to reach out to another.
These three elements – investigate, eliminate, execute – should not be so much stand-alone events, but rather a cyclical daily process.
Practical sentences that can help you prepare yourself:
- “I was flattered that you thought of me, but I’m afraid I will not be able to carry it out, as a result of…”
- “I would very much like to help you, but I am overloaded.”
- The awkward pause. The soft “no” (or the “no but”).
- “Let me check my calendar and get back to you.”
- Saying yes, then: “What should I de-prioritize?”. Say it with humor.
- “You are welcome to X. I am willing to Y.”
- “I cannot do that, but X may be interested.”
Multi-Tasking Makes You Stupid
Alexander Graham Bell saw that the sun’s rays can ignite paper when one focuses a stream of light at a single point. He advises: “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand.” Some research has shown that performing multiple tasks (multitasking) not only wastes time, it makes you stupid. A study done at the University of London in 2005 measured this – granted, this was a very small study that was not judged by the peer group.
Psychiatrist Glenn Wilson measured four men and four women’s IQs in quiet conditions (without ringing phones and incoming e-mails) where attention was not distracted. During the tests, he measured participants in the study’s skin conductivity, heart rate and blood pressure. Interestingly, the average IQ of the participants decreased by more than 10 points in conditions where their attention could’ve been distracted. What is even more interesting is that the decline was greater in men than in women. (Perhaps for some reason it is easier for women to function well when their attention can be distracted?)
When asked by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates what is the most important element in business success – in one word? “Focus” was their instinctive immediate response. 
The “One Thing” Principle
Here is an excerpt from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. “On a blustery October day in 1987, a herd of prominent Wall Street investors and stock analysts gathered in the ballroom of a posh Manhattan hotel. They were there to meet the new CEO of the Aluminum Company of America — or Alcoa, as it was known — a corporation that, for nearly a century, had manufactured everything from the foil that wraps Hershey’s Kisses and the metal in Coca Cola cans to the bolts that hold satellites together. A few minutes before noon, the new chief executive, Paul O’Neill, took the stage. He looked dignified, solid, confident. Like a chief executive. Then he opened his mouth. “I want to talk to you about worker safety,” he said. “Every year, numerous Alcoa workers are injured so badly that they miss a day of work. I intend to make Alcoa the safest company in America. I intend to go for zero injuries.”
Paul O’Neill decided on only one thing to turn his company into a success – the safety of workers. Every decision, appointment, expansion had been made in light of this one thing. The end result was not only a huge improvement in profitability, but precious lives were saved. What is your one-thing?
For What Reason / Purpose Did Jesus Come to Earth?
“Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:37).
“Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: “For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles, And sing to Your name.” (Rom. 15:8-9).
“Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.” (John 12:27).
“I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” (John 17:4).
“But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.” (Mark 1:38).
“And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.” (John 9:39).
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” (Matt. 5:17).
“…or the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10).
“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” (1 Tim. 1:15).
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17).
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45).
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10).
“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 Joh. 3:8).
“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” (Heb. 2:14).
What do all these verses have in common? What was Jesus’ deepest “why” that drove Him to become flesh, to die, to take our sins upon Himself, and to rise? I believe this is the complete healing of the whole man. No parent can stand and watch his child get sicker and sicker from sin, a misguided identity, disobedience and deception! There is a bond between Creator and creation. There is nothing that wounds and hurts the Creator as when His creation does not reach it’s full potential. Jesus is God’s healing plan!
Find Your “Why?”
Mark Zuckerburg’s speech at Harvard’s 2017 graduation ceremony focused on the importance of focus: “How can we make the world a better place? How can we form a bond with the world? Because many millennials do not know what their purpose in life is, they are easily blinded by groups like ISIS. Gathering money and possessions does not give you a purpose in life.
Michael Jr says it was a turning point in his life when he “no longer tried to find people to love, but rather gave them an opportunity to love.”
Simon Sinek explains a simple but powerful model in how leaders inspire action by using the golden circle and the question, “why?” as the core point. His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King and the Wright brothers – and as a counterpoint, Tivo, who is struggling. The core of the golden circle is, Why? How? and What? The three examples above of business ventures are individuals who market themselves and drive from the core of “why”. Apple always markets itself first as “innovators who manufacture computers, among other things”. According to Simon, the “why” we do things is the most basic ingredient that attracts us to each other. Of course, we group around people who have the same, “why”.
A rich young man came to Jesus (Luke 18: 18-30). Note the focus of the story: “Jesus loved him” – He wanted the best for the man. The young man asked Jesus about eternal life because he was looking for a purpose and he was given eternal purpose. Collecting things and making money is a temporary, earthly, fleeting purpose. Jesus’ commanded him to sell everything. When we “give our lives away”, we will find our purpose in life. If the rich young man chose to accept Jesus’ offer, he would have made money again because it is in him but Jesus demonstrated through the story, that life is more than making money.
Our true spiritual success lies in winning souls. This divine mission gives us a purpose in life and makes us rich in God’s standards. Paul was a missionary: an apostle to the Gentiles, although he was also a tentmaker and worked with his own hands. (Acts 18: 3; 1 Cor. 4:12; 2 Thess. 3: 8)
Boet Pretorius testified that, before he lost his farm, he was the owner of a 3 000 ha farm, but now he farms on 30 000 ha for the purpose of training people. He found his purpose in God’s mission for him. Apostle André Pelser has so far visited one-hundred-and-twenty nations in obedience to a prophetic word and call he received as a 13-year-old son from Aunt Raper: “God will use you in other lands.”
Focus & Obedience: The Price
Following Christ is going to cost you everything. You must endure suffering like a good soldier (2 Tim. 2: 3; 2 Tim. 3:12). We will lose friends and family when we choose to follow Jesus. But see the riches of the new family and friends you receive in Jesus! See the genius in the body of Christ!
His Kingdom is the pearl, the great prize. But we must sell everything to take possession of it (Matt. 13: 45-46). To sell everything and to invest in the church (Acts 2:45; 4:34). (No one was needy.) Our calling is to give our lives to the Lord.
“Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble.” (2 Pet. 1:10).
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Rom. 8:29).
“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! … so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.” (Rom. 6:15-20).
Focus implies that you have to leave certain important matters and issues. A clear choice must be made – the one, often standing against the other! That is our struggle. We want everything, be everything to everyone! This is simply not possible. You have to make a choice, and pay the price.
Jesus – The Messenger / Sent-One
Mission: God is a God of movement, of mission. Or, as Dr. Pelser often says: “Two-thirds of the word God is ‘GO’.” Everyone is in charge here. Everyone is on a mission. Everyone is a missionary. Every Christian has a mandate to fulfill. The first word of the “Great Commission” is “Go”. The Bible instructs us less than 200 times: “Go!” Not once does the Bible tell us to “hide.” And it only says 13 times that we must “stay”. The “stay” command means that we must stay close to Jesus. And we just have to “stay” while we wait for instructions from Jesus so that we can “go” the best.
“The only true voyage of discovery, the only fountain of Eternal Youth, would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes.” – Marcel Proust.
This is one reason why the Gospels are full of travel metaphors. Len Hjalmarson brilliantly expands on the difference between a temple clergyman and a tabernacle clergyman. The first one is priest-centered and the second is road-centered. Jesus does not call us to an end goal, but on a journey to a relationship with the Father (Luke 7: 3). Being a sent-one implies that you speak and act on behalf of someone. As Jesus was sent, He also sends us: “like sheep among the wolves”. (John 20:21).
We must also pray that the Lord will send laborers (Matt. 10: 2). Sent, delegated, called, representative. Being sent gives you a certain mandate and authority to act on behalf of the one who sent you (John 13:20). “Let your kingdom come” stands in contrast to every time Jesus declared: “The kingdom is now at hand.” (Matt. 4:12).
Jesus teaches His disciples that when they arrive at a place, to declare: “To you the kingdom of God is very near” (Matt. 10: 9), even if the people do not receive the messenger. “But know this, that the kingdom of God is at hand” (Luke 10:11). We sometimes pray for the Kingdom to come in the future sense but if Jesus is present, the Kingdom has already come. We want to constantly attract to or add to Jesus in an attempt to prove our Christianity. At conversion, Jesus came to dwell in you through His Holy Spirit and made you a new creature. So He is already in you! Jesus said to His disciples, “You give them something to eat.” (Mark 6:37); “Heal the people.” (Matt. 10: 9); “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons. Freely you have received, therefore freely give” (Matt. 10:8). “The kingdom is within you” (Luke 17:21).
The Lord lives among the praise of His children. With Him as our Father speaks one faith, baptism and hope of His Kingdom in our midst (Col. 1:27; Eph. 4: 1-9).
Hence the command not to provide or to take with you (Luke 10: 9). God will provide, He will take care, He will secure us. It is a wonderful privilege to be in the service of God, His ambassador. All this is the work of God. “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” (2 Cor. 5:18).
The message is not going to be easily received. Persecution awaits (Matt. 10: 16-18). “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!” (Matt. 10: 24-25).
We can not adapt and drain the message to escape persecution. However, we do not represent ourselves, but a living God who will soon judge everyone according to their works. Everything that is covered will be made public. “Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.” (Matt. 10: 26-27). But God will eventually fix the records – we do not have to defend ourselves.
The Enemy Cannot Kill Our Soul
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in [a]hell. ” (Matt. 10:28).
“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Matt. 10:30).
As sent ones, we no longer live for ourselves, but for Him who sent us (Matt. 10: 38-39). We as sent become the door, entrance, “entry point” for people to receive God (Matt. 10: 40-41).
Want to follow Jesus? Leave the church. Get out of the church. Leave. I mean it. Right now. Get out of here. Scram. Now. Out of here. Did you hear me? … Leave this church. Now! Jesus says, “Go Do Me.” Go be Jesus.
 Duhigg, C. (2014). The Power of habit. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks.