Paul Tripp

President of Paul Tripp Ministries

Psalm 27: Singleness of Focus

"One thing I ask from the Lord, this is what I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple." (v.4)

Do you live with singleness of focus? Is your life shaped, structured, and directed by the pursuit of one glorious, fulfilling, heart-satisfying thing? Or is your life a picture of a constantly changing narrative of fickle affections careening from one hope to the next?

You see, you don't live by instinct. Your life is directed by the thoughts and motives of your heart. You're always interpreting and you're always desiring. You always live in pursuit of something. You're always evaluating your progress toward that thing that you think will give you life. You're always in the possession of and in the service of some kind of dream. Maybe this is the best way to say it; you're living for something.

Now, Scriptures like Psalm 27 and Matthew 6:19ff remind us that all the things that a human being could live for fall into two categories. The first category is the CREATOR category. This means I'm living for what only can be found in God. It means my life is shaped and directed by my resting in the pursuit of his grace, glory, goodness, and plan on earth. Another name for this is the Kingdom of God. The second category is the CREATION category. This means that I'm seeking to find my identity, meaning and purpose in something that's been created. So, I look to my job, friends, possessions, a position, etc...to satisfy my heart. Another name for this is the kingdom of self.

Now, what does all of this have to do with singleness or fickleness of focus? It's only when I'm hooking my life to the glory and grace of God and it's only when I'm getting my identity from him, that I can truly live with singleness of focus for the long run. Why is this? It's because it's only God who has the power to satisfy my heart. I was made for him. I was made to have my life shaped by an acknowledgement of his presence, a rest in his love, and an active allegiance to his purposes. When I live this way, my soul is satisfied and my heart is at rest.

On the other hand, when I seek to satisfy my heart by the pursuit of a seemingly endless catalog of God-replacements, my heart will be anything but satisfied. So, I will abandon one dissatisfying creation dream for another, only to have that one leave me empty as well. I'll run from my friends, to my job, to my possessions in the frantic pursuit of what can only be found in the Lord. My life will be characterized by fickleness rather than singleness of focus. Why? Because my heart was created to be satisfied in God and God alone.

Is your life shaped by one great desire, a desire for the Lord? Or is it a picture of the constantly changing focus that's the result of asking the creation to offer what only the Creator can give. Your heart will only rest when He is the "one thing" that gives your life focus. 

"This article is a resource of Paul Tripp Ministries. For more information visit www.paultripp.com"

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About Paul Tripp

Paul Tripp is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries, a nonprofit organization whose mission statement is "Connecting the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life." Tripp is also professor of pastoral life and care at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas, Texas, and executive director of the Center for Pastoral Life and Care in Fort Worth, Texas. Tripp has written many books on Christian living that are read and distributed internationally. He has been married for many years to Luella, and they have four grown children. For more information, visit http://www.paultrippministries.org/store

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