In Pursuit of the "One Thing"

by Joel Lim

“One thing I ask from the LORD,
This only do I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To gaze on the beauty of the LORD
And to seek Him in His temple.”

Psalm 27:4

I always wondered why, of all things, did David choose to say just one thing. Couldn’t he have said two things instead? Why such great emphasis on just “one thing?” As I looked deeper into its meaning, I realized David was able to focus on just “one thing” simply because he was deeply fascinated by God. This empowered him to forsake all in his pursuit of the “one thing.” Here was a man, running and trying hard to keep himself alive, yet amid his turmoil, he confidently wrote this psalm. Wow!!!

In 2018 at PenHOP’s Consecrate 21, we focused on the theme of “one thing” through the study of this psalm. These 21 days studying the life of David led me to ask myself some very important questions about my pursuit of “one thing” that would allow me to chart a course for this year and many more to come:

#1 - What is the resistance in our lives that prevents us from seeing the beauty of God?

For me the answer is simple: the distractions that life itself presents to me (money, social media, love life, etc.). I came to realize that although David was a man in pursuit of the “one thing”, there were times that he got distracted with what life had to offer (take Bathsheba for instance).

#2 - What is the reverse effect when your "one thing" isn't God?

I see the answer in my own life from the many years that I spent wandering in a spiritual desert because the “one thing” in my life wasn’t God. Imagine the time and years I could have saved if only I had fixed my eyes on Him instead.

#3 - Are we able to lay down the future things we are planning to pursue?

The answer is yes, we are able, but it is never easy. There will always be a battle in us when it comes to this very question. Paraphrasing what the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “The thing that I know I should do, I do not do, but the things that I shouldn’t do, I keep doing.”

So, what now? Distractions are real. It’s something that every individual faces day in and day out. But it’s the way we choose to face it that defines the route we take. David was a man who pursued hard after the “one thing”, yet in a split moment he was de-routed simply because he took his eyes off the prize, and allowed the pleasures of the world to creep in. It’s so important for me to guard myself from the pleasures of this world by constantly fixing my eyes on the prize. I must always check my heart by asking myself this very important question each day: “What fascinates me?” If it is anything else but the LORD, then I am in serious trouble. I need to consistently check the posture of my heart in everything I do. It’s not easy, but is it worth it? YES, IT IS!

I end by quoting the writing of the great Apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippian church: “I’m not saying that I have this all together or that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” (Philippians 3:12-14).

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ReflectionPenHOPOne Thing, David