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"[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him...." (Phil. 3:10, AMP).

Paul is saying that his priority in life was to know God. As well as he already knew God, he wanted a deeper, intimate relationship with Him. He wanted to be in His perfect will, live a life that was pleasing to Him and be an instrument for His glory.

How do you make a closer relationship with God a priority in your life?

"And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities" (Isa. 64:7).

Notice the phrase stirreth up. W. E. Vine's Expository Dictionary defines stirreth up as to kindle afresh, to keep in full flame. W. E. Vine's also says that the phrase, stirreth up, is used metaphorically as a fire that is capable of dying out because of neglect.

Would you say that your relationship with God has dwindled away because of neglect? Has your prayer time been reduced to Sunday mornings and just before mealtime? It could be that you just need to rekindle your relationship with Him. How do you do that?

Divided Interests
Let's read James 4:8: "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded."

The Amplified says it this way "...wavering individuals with divided interests...."

That is how the flame goes out. When you have divided interests, you can neglect your time with God.

When the things of this world become more important than an intimate relationship with God, then we have divided interests. When believing God for prosperity becomes more important than an intimate relationship with God, then that's divided interests.

Years ago, the Lord said this to me: "Stop seeking the provisions; start seeking the Provider. If you seek the Provider, provisions come with Him."

What is God saying?

"Develop an intimate relationship with Me, and then everything I have is yours" (Author's paraphrase).

The Lord also said to me, "I said in My Word, 'Seek My face.' My people are seeking My hands. My hands represent provision; My face represents intimacy." When you have intimacy with God, then you will also have His provisions.

Those of you who are parents: How would you like it if the only time your children ever came into your presence to talk to you was when they had a need? That's not relationship.

That's the way most of God's people are. The only time they ever want to visit with Him is when they have a need. God is saying to us that if we will develop an intimate relationship with Him, then He will bless us with everything He has. He will give us anything we need.

Don't Allow Hobbies to be Distractions
Sometimes, if we aren't careful, we can allow our hobbies to become a divided interest. There's nothing wrong with having hobbies, but be sure that they never cause you to neglect your time with God.

In my own life, I realized that some of my hobbies were taking too much of my time. I had to rearrange my priorities.

For example, I thoroughly enjoy riding motorcycles. I have a passion for it. But I remember when I allowed that love and passion to cross the line. It was becoming too much of a priority in my life. Only you can determine when you've crossed that line. It's not my job to judge you. I'm judging myself, and I know when I cross the line.

One time, I jumped on my brand new Harley-Davidson that had less than 500 miles on it and took off! The entire time I was riding that day, somehow I knew I had crossed the line. I realized that I had allowed this hobby to consume me. Suddenly I realized, "I am now riding somebody else's motorcycle. This is not mine anymore."

I knew that I needed to make some changes in my life and rearrange my priorities...if I wanted God's best.

God didn't say, "Get rid of it," but on the inside, I knew I needed to give it up.

I rode home, pulled it up in the garage and said, "Lord, You tell me who You want me to give it to, and it's out of here." And He did, instantly.

I had another one, so I said, "What about this one?"

He said, "That's up to you."

I said, "Well, then, I'm giving them both away."

So I did. And you know what? I didn't cry when they left. I didn't say, "Oh God! I wish I hadn't given them away!"

No! There was a freedom that came. I showed God that He is first place in my life. God never told me that I had to do that, but I just knew in my spirit that I needed to. And I didn't even miss them when they were gone.

About a year later, my oldest grandson, Mark James, who has been riding motorcycles with me ever since he was big enough to walk, said to me, "Papa, is Jesus going to give us another Harley?"

I said, "Well, son, I don't know. I haven't asked Him for one."

He said, "Papa, didn't you give yours away?"

I said, "Yes."

He said, "Haven't you taught me that if you give you receive?"

I said, "Yes."

He said, "Then why wouldn't Jesus give you another one?"

I said, "I haven't asked Him. Have you?"

He said, "Yes!"

I said, "What did Jesus say to you?"

I'll never forget what he said. He looked at me and said, "Papa, I think Jesus is just like you."

I said, "What do you mean by that?"

He said, "He's thinking about it!"

I said, "What do you mean, 'He's thinking about it'?"

He said, "I asked Jesus to give my Papa another motorcycle so we could ride, and He's thinking about it just like you do sometimes. Sometimes I'll ask you if I can have something, and you'll just give it to me. Then other times you say, 'I'll think about it.'"

I said, "What happens when I tell you that I'll think about it?"

A big smile came to his face and he said, "I get it!"

Well, I found out that Jesus was thinking about it, and I wound up with more motorcycles. I enjoy them now, but they don't control me. In fact, we've turned our motorcycle riding into a ministry and an outreach, and now we're winning people to Jesus through them.

Owning a motorcycle is not a sin. Playing golf is not a sin. Hobbies, sports and recreation are not sinful. God is not saying that you cannot participate in sports or have hobbies. He is saying don't allow them to cause you to neglect your time with Him. In other words, keep them in their place. Enjoy them, have fun with them, but if you ever notice that they're causing you to spend less time with God, then do whatever you need to do to take control.

Avoid Distractions
"And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful" (Mark 4:19).

The Amplified Bible says it this way: "Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless."

Nobody ever wakes up one morning and says, "I think I'll be distracted today." It doesn't happen that way.

Distractions come when you fail to spend time with God.

If you don't keep yourself stirred up, then you can be easily distracted by the things of this world.

I discovered that the phrase stir up also implies to shake yourself, to urge yourself, and to incite yourself to action.

I mentioned previously that W. E. Vine's defines stir up as to kindle afresh, or to keep in full flame. How do we do this?

"O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory..." (Ps. 63:1-2).

You have to ask yourself, "What am I willing to do to see God's power and God's glory? How important is this in my life?"

Don't Look Back
When I was in high school, I was very involved in sports. Once, while participating in a track and field event, I was scheduled to run the one-mile race. I was in great shape; I was focused; and I just knew that I was going to win the race.

The gun sounded and we took off. I was running well, and I was in the lead. In fact, I was so far in the lead that I wondered just how far ahead of my opponents I was. So, I turned my head back to see where they were, and suddenly, I lost my footing, tripped, fell down and they passed me by.

The moral of that story is: never look back. It could cost you the race. Everything you want, need or desire is ahead of you, not behind you.

If you've made the decision to believe for God's best in every area of your life, then you've got to stay focused. There can be no turning back in your life. Don't look at the things you gave up. Those things are nothing in comparison to attaining God's best.

When you look back, you lose your focus. You need to keep your eyes on Jesus, and He will give you the ability to win your race. When you look back, you are admitting that you're not ready to give up your former way of living. You've got to release the past and keep your eyes on the finish line.

Don't Waste Your Potential
Years ago, I was able to sit down on a Sunday afternoon and watch the Super Bowl. It was the Pittsburgh Stealers and the Dallas Cowboys playing for the championship.

I was just sitting there having a good time watching these guys play football, and suddenly I heard the Holy Ghost speak to me.

He said, "How many Roger Staubacks, Drew Pearsons, Terry Bradshaws, and Frank O'Harrisses do you suppose are sitting in front of their television sets today watching these men play?"

I said, "Say that again."

He said, "How many Roger Staubacks, Drew Pearsons, Terry Bradshaws, and Frank O'Harrisses do you suppose are sitting in front of their television sets today watching these men play?"

Suddenly I understood what He was saying.

He said, "Son, there are many men who have the same potential as those athletes, but the difference is, those men are in the game; the others are just talking about what they could have been."

What's the difference? Some tap their potential and some don't. Discipline, commitment, and focus are the difference.

There have been many professional athletes who have wasted their potential. They did not restrict themselves in all things. They had great potential, but they lost their focus. It's the same in the Body of Christ. There's a lot of wasted potential. There are many believers who have lost their focus.

There have been many preachers who were eloquent, intelligent, charismatic and appeared to have it all together, and yet I hear about them committing adultery or stealing the money and immediately I think, "wasted potential." They lost their focus.

You and I have the potential to be Gold Medallists in the kingdom of God...but we're going to have to stay focused just like that athlete who trains year after year for the Olympics. He sets his sights for attaining the Gold, and he refuses to allow anything to distract him.

"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14).

Anyone who is going for the Gold cannot allow nor afford distractions.

One of the things that I admire about great athletes is not only the physical training that they go through, but the mental training as well. They are focused.

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith..." (Heb. 12:2).

In other words, we look to Him as our example. He is the One we are to stay focused on. Don't take your eyes off of Jesus.

The Amplified says it this way, Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus.

Purpose today that you will remain focused. Don't ever lose your determination for achieving maximum results in every area of your life.

Source: The Last Frontier by Jerry Savelle
Excerpt permission granted by Jerry Savelle Ministries International

Author Biography

Jerry Savelle
Web site: Jerry Savelle Ministries International
Dr. Jerry Savelle was an average, blue-collar man who was struggling and needed God's help. While he considered himself a "nobody," when he became a believer God told him not to worry about it because He was a master at making champions out of nobodies. God has since taken Dr. Savelle from being a constant quitter to a man who knows how to stand on the Word of God until victory is experienced. Because of the life-changing combination of God's faithfulness and Dr. Savelle's "no quit" attitude, his life is totally different than it was thirty-eight years ago.

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