Gospel Message & Recording
“I set my face like a flint.” (Isaiah 50:7)
Thus says Isaiah in regard to his prophetic ministry. That is, his face shall not be moved from the determination that is in his heart toward the One who has called him to be a prophet among the nations. In today’s Gospel reading, taken from Luke chapter 9 verses 51 and following, it says that,
“Jesus had set his face to Jerusalem.”
This famous portion of Gospel takes place in the context of the disciples and Christ attempting to stay at a Samaritan village on their way to Jerusalem. Further, the Bible states that the village did not let Christ stay with them because “His face was set on Jerusalem.”
When the Gospel says that Jesus’ face was set toward Jerusalem; in effect, it is said that He was determined to complete his mission. Further, he was willing to persevere through the difficulties to achieve his goal.
In life, we have to imbibe the following characteristics: determination and perseverance. Determination means having purposeful direction in our lives. We are, in other words, resolved to accomplish the task before us. Secondly, we should persevere, that is, fight through the difficulties in order to achieve our life goals. This means we are not quitters.
Like our Lord Jesus Christ, we have to set goals in our life and go after them with determination and perseverance. The Lord’s goal was the Cross! What’s your goal(s) in life? What’s your purpose in life?
With humility and praise to Jesus Christ, I am a Counselor and Spiritual Father (Life Coach) to a number of couples and Orthodox individuals; therefore, I prescribe the following as a way to accomplish the goal(s) that God has put in our lives.
- Set Goals: Make sure whatever stage in life you are in that you set goals for yourself. Within this understanding, there are “majors” and “minors.” Items that belong to majors are the following but are not limited to: marriage, children, career, ministry, etc. Items that belong under the category of minor are such things as part-time school, learning how to speak a language, swim, losing weight, learning a discipline or trade. These are my generalizations as I have learned from my life and experience, but they don’t have to be the same for everyone. You might have a difference of opinion as to what is major or minor. Whatever the case may be, the point is we have to set goals. For example, when you get married the major goal at that point should be to make your marriage as successful as possible. It might not be advantageous to get a new job the first year of marriage. In addition, if you are starting a new job that is highly demanding, it might not be wise to buy a home at the same time. Stick to one major goal at a time. It is said the multi-tasking means you are not really doing any task! A jack of all trades a master of none. If you want to accomplish major goals in your life, it is advisable to stick to one goal at a time. Finally, make sure they are attainable. Sometimes, we think because God is on our side that we can just follow our “passion.” Remember, use your logic and think practically about where you are and where you want God to lead you. Passion has to be connected to a pragmatic approach; otherwise, we could get carried away, and not be able to scale-back and make corrections.
- Speak creative words: Words have the power to create our reality. The Lord Jesus may put a thought in our minds (I speak now in the positive sense; never anything negative.) I will provide an example from my own life to demonstrate this point. When I was in seminary, I was first given the opportunity to speak publicly at St. Thomas Church, Maryland. From that moment on I wanted to preach but didn’t have the talent for it nor the knowledge. Buy it was my determination to become better that allowed me, through Christ, to be in the position that I am in now. I spoke words to myself that created my reality; that is, I said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Luke 18:25) “God has not given me a spirit of fear but of power, love and sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) “Since he has sought me, I will deliver him and strengthen him.” (Psalm 91:14) It is imperative that these words be spoken aloud. Just as Jesus said to his disciples, “If you speak to this mountain…” (Matthew 11:23) Therefore, “speak!”
- Do not agree with negative words: There are many people who will come on your journey that will speak negative words or discourage you as you attempt to accomplish your goals. Do not accept any negative words or ideas that are not aligned with God’s plan for you. (This is not the same as receiving “corrective counsel.” Meaning, allowing others to provide correction when needed. Personally speaking, I am well aware of the fact that even though I have goals that I am attempting to accomplish, I might make decisions that are not aligned to those goals. No one is perfect. We can possibly make wrong decisions; so we need someone or some people in our life that can counsel us.) Allow those negative words to bounce off of you. In other words, do not come into agreement with it. Do not accept it. If you allow those words to enter into your heart—it can do harm—unless removed quickly.
“Like our Lord Jesus Christ we have to set goals in our life and go after them with determination and perseverance. The Lord’s goal was the Cross!” Do you agree with this statement?
Do you feel as though you are a “goal setter” or a “go with the flow” type of person? Discuss.
Have you memorized scripture and used it in times of struggle? Does it help?
What are some ways that people have tried to discourage you or speak negative words into your life? How can a person overcome such negative words?