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If you just had a few moments to call out a warning to people you love, what would you say and how would you say it? What would you be willing to risk? If you knew that the warning would be scoffed at and ignored, would you still give it? I ask you to consider these questions and more in a series called, “The Three.”

In the last letter of the Bible, there’s a lot of symbolism; a story being told with vivid imagery. In that letter we find an urgent message in Revelation 14:6-11.

The loud cry of the angels is for “those who dwell on the earth” and announcement that the hour of judgment has come is a wake up call for them. Rebellious, angry, self-centred, they will come under the judgment that the way of self is a dead end and as it collapses they will be caught in it.

What about those who know God and are known by God? How do we understand God’s judgment and those who have set their hearts upon the heavenly kingdom? What I can tell you is Good News but I need to lay down a foundation first.

One of my favourite authors was inspired to write:There is not a point that needs to be dwelt upon more earnestly, repeated more frequently, or established more firmly in the minds of all than the impossibility of fallen man meriting anything by his own best good works. Salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ alone. {FW 18.3}

Why is that so important? What I have observed is that we tend to slip easily into making obedience our focus. It’s rooted in our desire to be our own gods. Why is it that something that’s good – obedience – can go so wrong? Emphasizing and focusing on obedience does one or more of the following in our hearts (feel free to check the ones that apply to you):

Become self-absorbed and develop performance anxiety – never good enough.
Salvation goes from faith alone to faith + obedience.
Nurtures a “God owes me attitude” – salvation, victory, healing and so on.
Distorts our picture of God.
Lose sight of grace; lose grace towards others.
Leads to shame which leads to blame, judgment, and contempt towards self and others.
Become fruit inspectors and gnat strainers.
Jesus becomes a means to an end – we love the father’s things and not the father himself.

If you are struggling with a habit; if you have a character trait that hurts you and others, if you lack joy, peace, and patience – it is not that you are a failure, that your will power needs a kickstart, or that you need to try harder. The problem is likely found in your struggle to trust, abide, and cling to Jesus as your all-sufficient saviour.

Do you need to adjust your focus today?