Are You Paying Attention?

Let me be clear, God doesn’t need your attention. He’s not insecure and attention-starved, hopelessly craving our validation.

And yet, He has created us to live with our attention fixed on Him. This is not for His benefit; it’s because He knows that our attention fixed on Him is what’s best for us. He knows that whatever continually has the investment of your attention will determine what you reproduce. What is best for us, our glorious purpose, is that Christ would be formed in us. That’s why the Word continually reminds us to fix our focus on Him.

The enemy has a strong desire to see as little of Christ formed in you as possible, and so his most under-detected, often used tool is distraction.

He loves sleight-of-hand, using whatever he can to divert attention so he can do the real work undetected. I believe in most cases, he doesn’t care whether you fully buy into what he’s presenting, as long as it takes your attention from Jesus.

Compounding the effectiveness of this strategy is the fact that we have never been more “distractable.”

One Study in 2015 claimed that our attention spans have now dipped below goldfish levels. Obviously, social media and information overload have accelerated this issue. 

We saw the enemy’s sleight-of-hand in full force over the pandemic, along with an election and racial tension dominating the headlines. It doesn’t take a PhD to recognize that the media was feeding the beast, and the enemy leveraged that attention at every turn. Here’s the thing: he didn’t care which issue pulled you into extremes as long as it diverted attention. As long as the main thing was no longer the main thing.

In Psalm 55, the psalmist recognized this tactic of the enemy:

Psalm 55:2-3

2 Give Your attention to me and answer me;

I am restless in my complaint and [b]severely distracted,

3 Because of the voice of the enemy,

Because of the pressure of the wicked;

He admits that the voice of the enemy has caused him to become severely distracted and cries out for God’s attention. The truth is, we have God’s attention, and yet sometimes we become so distracted that it can seem as if He’s turned away. 

The Lord spoke to me very clearly one Sunday in my morning prayer time: “I am always present, the question is whether or not you will be.

The enemy knows that God has promised to be with us always, and he can’t stop the Word. So he wars against us being present with God. 

The famous verse in John 15:4 says “ Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit [c]of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”

The word abide means “continue to stay present.” We know for sure He will continue to stay present in us, will we remain present with Him?

When Moses saw the burning bush, He turned aside to give it a better look. The Word says “When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”

In other words, once the Lord knew He had his attention, then He spoke. Attention was necessary to receive the Word. I wonder how often we have missed these “burning bushes” in our life? Our attention is so divided that we never slow down long enough to look and then become convinced that God doesn’t talk to us. 

I’ve learned that sometimes He speaks to get our attention, but some things He will only speak because He already has our attention.

In my life, when He’s spoken to get my attention, He was telling me His plans. The most treasured moments for me are when He spoke because He already had my attention. In those moments, He was sharing His secrets. 

Jesus didn’t just say take care what you listen to, He also said to take care how you listen. It is the heart that listens with undivided attention that receives well. 

Luke 10 tells the well-known story of Mary and Martha. A key phrase appears in verse 40: “But Martha was distracted with [q]all her preparations;”

Mary was sitting with her full attention on every word of Jesus, while Martha was doing “good things.” When Jesus addressed it, it’s as if He’s saying, “You may be doing good things for Me, but I don’t actually have your attention.” Mary chose attention, which Jesus called the “good part.”

What has your attention? The Lord is calling us to reevaluate where the investment of our attention has been in this season. In an age where the war for attention has increased, it requires even more intentionality to choose the “good part.” What will I choose?

Again, sometimes He speaks to get your attention, and sometimes He speaks only because He already has your attention. The heart that chooses to be at attention without prompting can be trusted with the deeper things of God.