How to Make Consistent Progress

delay

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?

9 thoughts on “How to Make Consistent Progress

  1. Kari, I love the clarity of this post. What a fantastic interpretation of Jesus' ministry. Jesus' simple focus makes it clear how we love to complicate our calling here on earth. I'm right there with you – sensing recently that I am taking backward steps and have lost momentum. Usually when things seem most cloudy, it's because we've lost the simple clarity of our purpose. That's why I've written a mission statement for my life, but I usually forget to go back and read it. 🙂
    My recent post Why We Need to Return to the Playground

    • Understanding this has helped me a ton, especially when I get off track and need to refocus and simplify that focus. I'm with you on the struggle with taking the necessary steps to maintain and not go backwards so far or so much. Keep progressing!

  2. I know there are time waiting has got me into trouble. I should have acted immediately…like running from sin. But i also know pushing ahead has gotten me into trouble as well…getting ahead of God and His plan and desire for me. Learning when seems to be the biggest battle I can face.
    My recent post Hero

    • You're not alone in that struggle, Bill. Finding that balance between when to move quickly and when to wait is one many people struggle with. Only by the Holy Spirit can we hope to have victory in this!

  3. It is so easy to loose focus! I can so easily get distracted from what I am trying to accomplish. Thanks for this great reminder that we are to keep our eyes focused on Jesus, who will give us all the strength we need to accomplish His purpose for our lives. God Bless you Kari.

  4. I think we also can be encouraged by Jesus's example of preparation. He spent 30 years or so preparing for those intense 3 years of public ministry. As you mentioned in point 3 Jesus took time away to prepare himself for what was coming next. Even then we need to be careful how we judge success. Jesus during his life was not considered a success by many. They wanted Him as King right then. We have to as well not judge ourselves by results by more by did we do the things faithfully that God wanted.

    • Great point, Mark! Preparation is certainly key in making progress. You're right also about how we define success. As Christ followers, we must see it as faithfulness instead of what the world defines as results. Great additions!

  5. Pingback: Preventing Decision Fatigue |

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *