“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8).
TO LIVE GODLY LIVES, IT IS NECESSARY FOR US TO CONCENTRATE OUR ATTENTION AND OUR AFFECTIONS ON GOD HIMSELF. If we try to discipline ourselves to do what is right outwardly, we’ll probably have great difficulty if we don’t also discipline our love. “Purify your hearts, you double-minded,” said James. What we need to do is develop a more single-minded love for God. We need to eliminate any concerns that compete for our allegiance to God and resolve to give Him nothing less than our whole hearts.
“The basic lesson of the Sermon on the Mount,” Oswald Chambers wrote, “is to narrow all your interests until your mind, heart, and body are focused on Jesus Christ.” In another place, he wrote similar words concerning sanctification: “Sanctification means to be intensely focused on God’s point of view. It means to secure and to keep all the strength of our body, soul, and spirit for God’s purpose alone.” These are perceptive comments, and they reflect an important reality. We must not only learn to look at everything from God’s perspective; we must learn to look at everything only from His perspective. When we do so, we’ll find ourselves living a life that is consistently dedicated to Him.
Jesus said something of great practical importance when He said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). This is the key to both godly character and godly conduct. To look past the worldly appearance of things and see things as they really are — to see them, in other words, as God sees them — this is the essential ingredient in our work and in our worship. Whether our mental maps are correct makes all the difference in whether we get where we need to go.
A worthy and fruitful relationship with God must be more than simply one item on a crowded agenda. It must be the central focus and aim of our lives, the only thing that really matters. And when we’re making decisions, we must do more than simply consider God’s viewpoint as helpful input. In every case, God’s way of looking at things ought to be decisive. A unique, concentrated desire for God’s glory ought to move our every action.
“Healthy eyes are eyes that are focused on a single aim: the kingdom of God” (Richard Foster).