Tag Archive for singleminded

The Power of Influence: The Apostle Paul

As you read each post in this series,
I hope you’ll think with gratitude about those who have influenced you, and
I hope you’ll ponder your investment in the lives of others.

If I were to be completely accurate in describing the influences on my life, first would be God’s revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ, working through His Holy Spirit. By comparison, no one else would be worth mentioning. But I have chosen to limit myself to extra-biblical influences…with one exception.

In the realm of human influencers, I just can’t skip the Apostle Paul. I’ve read Acts and his letters many times, and beyond the divine wisdom God has spoken through him, I have been moved and shaped by Paul’s living example.


No matter what challenges or hardships came at him—and there were many—he seemed to maintain perspective. He kept his eye on the ball. He locked his focus on what was important. He never seemed to be knocked off balance.

How vital that is in my life and work as well! Circumstances seem to make me either discouraged or complacent, faithless or overly confident. My view of important issues is too often tainted by self-centeredness.

Father, give me the mind of Christ as You faithfully gave it to Paul.


Several times Paul uses the word haplotas. Its root meaning seems to be “simplicity”, but it takes on different shades of meaning, depending on the context. In reference to giving, it is often translated as “generosity” (Romans 12:8; 2 Corinthians 8:2; 9:11, 13). In 2 Corinthians 11:3, it describes an engaged woman’s love for her fiancé—the kind of love we are to have for Christ. In Ephesians 6:5 and Colossians 3:22, it refers to the way Christian slaves should serve their earthly masters, with “sincerity” of heart.

To me, the translation that fits all these contexts is “singlemindedness”. We should give and love and serve with singlemindedness.

That’s the sense I get about all Paul’s service to Christ and the gospel. He lived and loved and served with singleness of mind.

Father, that’s the kind of service You and the gospel deserve from me.


Paul was passionate about Jesus Christ.

I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him. (Philippians 3:8-9, NASB)

His passion is contagious. His words about preaching beautifully describe my own call to write hymns:

If I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel…I have a stewardship entrusted to me. (1 Corinthians 9:16-17, NASB)

Father, continue to fan in me the flames of faith and love and singleminded passion for Your glory. May they burn in my heart as they burned in Your servant Paul.

Focused for Ministry

I watched him sitting on the platform–tall, perfectly groomed, distinguished, yet warm and personable. He had been our pastor for only a couple of weeks, and I was sure he–like the rest of us on a new job–was trying to “fit in” and make a good impression.

But what was on his mind on a Sunday morning, moments before the service would start? Was he thinking about his appearance, or how he would present himself? Was he getting that great smile ready to go?

I remember hoping he was free from all that and was focused purely on listening for the Lord’s leadership. I wanted him to be prepared and sensitive, single-mindedly ready to speak God’s word for us and lead us as the Spirit directed. That’s what we need in a pastor. We don’t want to miss anything the Lord has for us. We’re not even interested in the pastor’s personal ideas. We just want to hear from the Living God and meet Him.

That made me think.

Don’t the people to whom we minister–in our homes, at church, on our jobs–have the same right to ask that of us? They don’t want us distracted by personal considerations or our own selfish agendas or ideas. Struggling, hurting people don’t care about our careers or our greedy egos. They need us to be single-mindedly focused on listening to the Lord and letting Him speak. That’s what they hunger for. As servants of God, that’s what we owe them.

Holy Spirit, we look to You. We are listening. Speak through us. Enable us. Love through us, precious Jesus. Glorify yourself through all that we are and all that we do. Amen.