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Jim's Jots and Tittles. . .


The Funk and Wagnall's Dictionary defines concentration as the complete attention to a single, same problem, task or principle. Jesus emphasized concentration when He said, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)

But concentrating one's attention to His kingdom, the church, will require denying oneself. If this does not happen, one's concentration will be on oneself, not what God desires. Look at God's desire for our concentration: "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." {Ephesians 2:10)

Paul had to learn this lesson, even though he was an apostle. Paul had a thorn in the flesh, which he concentrated upon so much he prayed three times asking God to remove it.

But when God made it clear that Paul should not concentrate upon himself, Paul made a complete change in his attitude about concentrating on himself: "And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me." (2 Corinthians 12:9) You see, he could say, "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:14)

When Paul and Silas were beaten, placed in stocks and placed in prison, they could rejoice because of their concentration upon God's will. "But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. " (Acts 16:25) As a result of their concentration a jailor and his family were converted.

When Paul was placed in prison in Rome, again he concentrated upon God's will. Look at the result: "And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered." (Acts 28:30-31) What an opportunity Paul's concentrating upon God's word gave him!

Paul was not a super Christian. Concentrating upon god's word and purpose, not himself, proved to be his strength. What are we concentrating upon as Christians? What do we place first in our spiritual lives? Is it the church? Paul's weakness could no longer be used as an excuse. He was now using it for God. How about us? Are we using excuses not to concentrate upon Christ and His church?

The reward is great and involves one's soul. Jesus Himself is our example and encouragement to concentrate upon God's will, the church and His promise of sitting on His throne in heaven. "He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." (Revelation 3:21).

Remember, you are a part of the body of Christ, the church. That should encourage one to put the church first. It encouraged Paul to do that. This is true concentration for the New Testament Christian! (1 Corinthians 12:27) "Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it."

—Jim Hunt