How can a young man stay focused?


I am interested in getting your thoughts on being focused on the goal. It is hard when you see so much of the things you want in life, that at times you feel as though that it is not meant for you. My situation appears to be going nowhere. I feel that the more I try to be committed to the Lord, the more that struggles and worldly temptations come. Like most men, I would like to be married and have children and a home, I feel that my life is going in the wrong direction and it is becoming frustrating. Could you provide some advice for a young man?


It is more upon what you are focusing on that is causing you difficulty. For example, a person who focuses on becoming rich will face many temptations to gain wealth in sinful ways. "But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition" (I Timothy 6:9). It is not that the person sets out to cause harm to himself or others. His goal was of this world (because you can't take wealth with you) and as soon as you make things of this world a priority you give Satan a toehold in your life.

"Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles--when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries" (I Peter 4:1-3). It is very easy to slip into a pattern of making personal pleasure a priority. Again, few set out to damage themselves or others, but Satan has so many ways to offer pleasures in this world that it becomes a distraction and eventually a trap.

In your own case, becoming married and raising a family is a goal. Neither is wrong so long as it is kept in perspective. It was God who said, "Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 9:9). But when you make marriage a focus for your life, it becomes easy for Satan to tempt you with "shortcuts" to your goal. There are a lot of young men who want a wife but settle for a sex partner. They want children, but they settle for illegitimate children whom they lose complete control over as they and their sex partner wander from person to person.

Jesus taught, "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" (Matthew 6:24-34).

Do you see what Jesus said? Reach for the highest goal -- put God and His kingdom as the goal in your life. Don't worry about whether you will find a wife or be able to raise a family -- God knows about your desire and needs. Put Him first and the rest will naturally follow on its own, in God's own time. You have to place your confidence in God; you have to trust Him with your life.

I'll give an example from my own life. During my teenage years, I refused to be serious about any young woman who wasn't serious about God and His church. I had decided that I wanted to preach and knew that I needed a woman of strong faith at my side. Oh, I wanted to be married and my sexual desire was as strong as any young man's, but all of that paled in comparison to serving God. By the time I graduated from college, I had found no one with whom to share my life. There were several "possibilities," but they all fell through. My first job took me to an area of the country with the church was very weak. My brothers teased that I was going to be a bachelor for life, and it appeared to me that it might happen. Yet, there just "happened" to be a young woman my age who was unattached at the time in the congregation I chose to attend (which was 35 miles from where I worked). She showed uncommon faith in God, had a strong knowledge of His Word, and had the various characteristics that I was looking for in a wife. We went out on a date and the more I talked to her, the more I realized that I could happily live my life with her. We've been married now 24 glorious years. But it came after I decided that serving God as a minister came first. Everything else has been viewed through those colored glasses, including my selection of a wife.

You need to set your aim higher and the rest of your life will shape itself around that goal. Not things of this transient world, but things of permanent value. "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14).

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