Immediately. At Once. Suddenly. Instantly.
Jesus’ ministry was not one of delays. In fact, it began with his baptism, “immediately” followed by 40 days of temptation (Mark 1:12-13). Then, he commissioned his first four disciples who followed “at once” and “immediately” (Matthew 5:18-22). When he healed, illness left “suddenly” and “instantly” (Mark 1:31, 42). Nothing he did met with delay, and he accomplished his purpose within three years of ministry.
Why the absence of delay? As I struggle with lack of progress and even feel like I’m going backward more than forward, I’m especially drawn to the absence of delay in Jesus’ ministry.
What can Jesus’ ministry teach us about how to make more consistent progress within God’s will?
1.) Jesus’ purpose was crystal clear. He came to seek and save the lost, plain and simple, and he never deviated from that purpose.
“Jesus replied, ‘Let us go somewhere else – to the nearby villages – so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.’” (Mark 1:38)
2.) Jesus’ every action drove toward his purpose. Every action and every word was a step toward fulfilling His purpose.
“They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach.” (Mark 1:21)
3.) Jesus made connection with God the Father a priority. He consistently made time for his most important relationship.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
How would your life change if you held to a simple clear focus, made every action drive toward that focus, and made relationship with God the Father your top priority?
When I lay my life against these three aspects of Jesus’ ministry, I am better able to see why I stall and go backward more often than I move forward.
On most days I have a simple and clear purpose, I spend time alone with God, and my actions drive toward my purpose. But, also on most days, I let my attention get easily drawn to other things, and I spend too much time comparing myself to others which results in losing confidence in what I know is my purpose. I also too easily let myself look to other areas of interest — good things — and forget that I must often chose between good and best in order to stay in God’s will.
When I realize how Jesus stayed so focused during his early ministry, I understand where I fall short and need to reestablish myself. How does seeing his focus and the reasons for it help you with your focus?