I went to work for Wal-Mart Stores in the summer of 93í as a Manager in Training. I had just graduated from college in May so I was ecstatic to have a real job so soon. To be quite honest, I didnít see it coming. Retail was not what I had in mind, but all roads seem to point that direction.
A few months before I got the Wal-Mart job, I began looking at avenues of owning my own business. I got involved in some consulting work with hope it would turn into something more in the future.
While on the Training Program for Wal-Mart, it was next to impossible to devote any time to establishing a business so I studied what I could on my days off. Although I knew Wal-Mart was the place for me at that moment in my life, somehow I felt I needed to keep my options open.
After completing six months of training, I was assigned to a store as an Assistant Manager in Enid, Oklahoma. I was not familiar with the city, but I immediately began to prepare a business strategy for after hours. It wasnít long before I was traveling 2-3 hours in the evenings making contacts and enhancing my knowledge of running my own operation.
Sleep deprivation began to take its toll on me; nevertheless, I was determined. You would think after waking up in a grassy medium on two different occasions, I would have gotten the point. No, I was going to be my own boss one way or another. The wake up call didnít come until that dreadful morning I overslept. Iím not talking about hitting the snooze button on the alarm clock and catching a few more minutes; Iím talking about waking up in my drive way 4 hours late! To make matters worse, I was scheduled to open the store for about 20 employees who, consequently, got paid for doing nothing for a whole hour.
Iíll never forget the sick feeling I had as I walked into work in the same clothes I left in the day before-with no shower and no shave. There was no question in my mind, I deserved to be fired. I went directly to my Managerís office for the verdict.
Mike Ober was a great Manager who had been with the company more than 20 years. He would often boast of my potential unapologetically, but today was a different day. After informing me of company policy in situations like mine, I remember Mike closing the Policy and Procedure Manual and issuing me this ultimatum:
ď Today, son, you are going to make a decision. Youíve got too many irons in the fire. Granted, you have the talent to do whatever you set your heart to do, but until you focus on one thing, you will never do anything well.Ē
That day, I made the decision to focus all my efforts in the direction God had led me and let go of my desires to do my own thing. Amazingly, promotion after promotion seemed to follow and the peace I experienced was worth more to me than anything else.
I didnít realize God was teaching me a biblical principle that day for the Christian life. However, today I see such a need in the Body of Christ for singleness of heart. With distractions at an all time high, we must bedrock ourselves in the hope of our salvation and stand.
In Paulís letter to the believers in Colosse, he admonished them to stand firm, stand focused, and stand full. That day was no different than now. Fiction, facts, and philosophy were deceiving the masses. Just like then, our only hope is to be so full of the Truth, thereís no room for anything else.
Stand Firm-let Christ be your Foundation
Definition: securely or solidly fixed in place
6So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. NIV
Anyone who comes to the Lord comes by faith. Anyone who
grows in the Lord, grows by faith. Faithís origin is the Word of God; so only a consistent diet of the Word will enable a person to be rooted and built up on the foundation of Christ. However, the reverse is true for anyone who will not make the Word priority in their life. The cares of life will choke out faith and stunt growth.
Living in Christ involves regulating your life and conducting yourself in union with and conformity to Him. This is the role you play; He saves you by His grace and you fully rely on Him with your whole being. It is here that God begins to confirm you and establish your faith. Then, abounding and overflowing with thankfulness simply becomes a way of life.
Related verses: Psalms 1:1-3; 112:6-8
1. Stand Focused-let Christ be your Filter
Definition: to concentrate attention or effort
8See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
Much like a distiller filters water through a tedious-time consuming process; we must filter every idea, every thought, and every notion through the Word of God. With Christ, who is the embodiment of the Word, as our focus, we will not be carried away or deceived by constant winds of doctrine based on menís ideas rather than on Christ. In Proverbs (3:5-6) God instructs us to trust Him with all our hearts and to not lean on our on understanding or our intellect. But we are to simply acknowledge Him-put Christ first-and he will lead, guide and direct our path.
Related verses: Psalms 16: 8; Proverbs 4:25-27
2. Stand Full-let Christ be your Fountain
Definition: being at the highest or greatest degree
9For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. NIV
The picture here is like unto a glass full and overflowing because there is
more water available than the glass can hold. Christ is the visible image of the otherwise invisible Godhead-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Colossians 1:15); he gives complete expression to the divine nature of God. And although we donít quite understand it, most of us accept Christ as being full of Deity (The Godhead); however, when it comes to our lives, we often miss the reality of our union with that same Godhead. In Christ, God the Father has filled us up with Himself. This why He admonishes us to not be deceived into believing we need more than Christ; for in Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and true knowledge (Colossians 2:3-4).
Related verses: Ephesians 3:17b-19
Like Mike Ober told me ten years ago, today we have a decision to make. Most of us are guilty in having too many irons of thought, ideas, philosophies of life, etc. in the fire and we are confused as to what Godís Will truly is for our lives.
God has called each of us to Stand Firm, Focused, and Full in Christ; and until we are willing to fix our attention on His Word with singleness of heart, we will never be able to do anything truly well.