Life is crazy, and that is an understatement. Many times we have so much going on that it is difficult to know what to focus on. If we aren’t careful, the things that truly matter slip into the background. Several years back, I decided to sit down and think about a few areas of life that I needed to be really intentional about. This list is not exhaustive, and there are times when I get behind in some of these areas. But I have found that when I can be consistent in these four things, my life as a follower of Christ is much healthier.
1. FAITH is the first area of focus.
As a follower of Christ (and as a pastor), this seems so obvious. But too many times, I find myself slipping back into passivity and laziness. I have to ask myself: Am I spending quality time in God’s Word every day (Ps. 119:7)? Am I consistently hiding God’s Word in my heart (Ps. 119:11)? Am I being faithful to pray for my family, myself and those around me (1 Tim. 2:1)? Am I sharing the Gospel with those who are lost (Mark 16:15)? These questions help me to evaluate whether or not my relationship with God is growing. The final three items in this list partially stem from this first key area, and when I have my relationship with God in order, everything else seems to fall in line a little easier.
2. FAMILY is the second area of focus.
Again, this seems like an obvious area to hone in on. But when life gets busy, when tough times come, sometimes I’d rather not deal with the hard issues. It is easy to make excuses for not spending time with my spouse/child. It is easier to not talk at all and just watch TV than to actually work on my communication skills. As a husband, I have to ask myself: Am I loving my wife like Christ loves the church (Eph. 5:25-33)? Am I putting her first in our relationship? Am I intentionally building my relationship with my child, both through quality time and through conversation? Maintaining a healthy family is not easy. But I believe God honors the time and effort it takes to build the relationships of husband/wife, parent/child, etc.
3. FINANCES is the third area of focus.
My oh my, what trouble we can get into if we aren’t careful with our finances. Digging ourselves deeper and deeper into debt, buying things that we don’t need or more importantly, can’t afford. The issue of debt can be devastating, but possibly the more important part of this area has to do with being able to DO MORE with what God has given me by NOT spending. The more careful I am with my finances and the better I budget/live below my means, the more I have to give back to God and others. Instead of 10% being the most I ever give (which is typically the “ideal giving level” taught in most churches — a whole other blogpost can be written on that, for sure), I have more expendable income to give away for God’s glory (1 Tim. 6:16-19). The key thing to remember here is that it all belongs to God anyway (Ps. 24:1). He has given us resources so that we can honor him with what we do with them.
4. FITNESS is the final area of focus.
Ok, I know, you are immediately thinking that I am going to advocate Crossfit or P90X or something super intense like that. Well, you can go ahead and get that out of your head right now, although if that works for you, then great. What I’m talking about here is just being intentional about eating a balanced and healthy diet and spending a few hours a week getting some exercise. After all, our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20). So why then do we allow ourselves to go days on end without even taking a walk around the neighborhood? I find that when I am consistent with my fitness/eating habits, I am more focused and have more energy to put towards the things of God. It takes away the “I’m too tired/exhausted/worn out” excuse that I typically try to use when not wanting to participate in bible study, evangelism, outreach, serving, etc.
As I said earlier, this list is not exhaustive, but it has been very helpful to me in my effort to maintain a healthy Christian life. You might notice all these areas start with the letter “F”. This just happened to work out that way, but its a good way to keep these things in “FOCUS”. Are there any that you’d add to this list?