Shownotes: What Will it Take to Get Your Attention Now?
At some point you’ve had to do that, haven’t you? Get someone’s attention. How did you do it? Did you shout, wave, text, clap, phone . . .? Different people. Different situations. Different habits. Different methods. What about you? What method works best to get your attention and in which situation?
Do you know that right now someone is trying to get your attention? What method can they use? How reachable are you?
God wants all your attention. This is so – not some of the time, but all of the time. How are you in the place of giving God your attention?.
Too often we give God half of our attention. We’re like the person who is listening to someone and hears only half of what they are saying because they are doing something else. That’s not good enough for God. The only thing good enough for God is all of our attention.
Why should we give God our attention? Why would God want our attention?
Why do you want anyone’s attention? It may be because you feel that based on your relationship you should have their attention. You may have important information to give them. Perhaps good news. It may even be that you want to warn them about impending danger. You may also want to give wisdom and guidance, especially to those following a path you have already trodden. You may just want to share some time with them, you know, keep company?
Could God be trying to get your attention for similar reasons?
You are created for fellowship with God. When you are not in that place, God will get your attention to nudge you back to that place of fellowship. Moreover, in your ministry, at work, in your life in general, God has wisdom and guidance that will keep you anchored.
What will it take for God to get your attention so that you remember that, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10) and “Our steps are made firm by the Lord, when he delights in our way” (Psalm 37:23)?
Let’s take a look at news. When it comes to news, God has good news that cannot be trumped.
In a world of negativity and terrible catastrophes, natural and human made, God is seeking to remind us of the good news, that “[Jesus] has conquered the world.” John 16:33— Jesus is giving the “troubling” news of coming persecution to his followers but wraps it in the good news: “I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” Indeed, this is good news that you can hold on to and trust. However, too often we are looking for human conquerors and miss the true conqueror.
How can God get your attention so that you live with courage in the face of all that this world throws?
What about danger? There are many dangers in life, including persecution. Ask the brothers and sisters in parts of the Middle East, Africa, and other places. Even when you are not facing such dire circumstances, you are often tempted to follow dangerous paths in our ministry. In addition, people may seek to harm us in various ways. “Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). When God has your attention God can alert you to the dangers around you, including the source of those dangers.
Then, of course, there is actual physical danger.
What does it take for you to keep alert so that you are aware of the dangers and their sources which surround you?
One thing you must avoid is saying with your attitudes or actions, “don’t bother me,” when God seeks to get your attention. You de facto say this when you continue as if God has not spoken; when you ignore the prompting and urging of the Spirit; when you fail to live with alertness to and awareness of the ways in which God could be using people and situations around us to speak to you. You don’t always have time.
To another Jesus said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:59–60).
Could we be in such an urgent time?
In addition to the words, “Follow me,” Here are some things God uses to get our attention: (Feel free to add yours)
Some Ways in which God gets our attention
Storms could be health related, an employment crisis, death, lack . . . Storms come, often when we least expect them. Some of these storms we create for ourselves because of our choices.
Then there are the other storms that we could have done nothing to prevent. The severe illness and or death of a loved one or a beloved member of the congregation. There are those times when Murphy’s law kicks in and we are experiencing a storm. We’re left reeling and often that’s when we cry out to and look for God in a deeper way.
Storms will get our attention.
Planned and unplanned change is another way in which God gets our attention. We try to plan and control the changes in our lives. However, even when we do so, there is an element of uncertainty. Oftentimes, the change itself causes us to look up to God more as we make our transition. When plans go awry, even more so.
The thing with change is that it can leave us off-balance. Unfortunately, there are times when that’s what it takes for God to get our attention.
Restlessness within. This one is so easier to ignore. It’s that unsettled feeling. Often, we can’t quite put our finger on it. Sometimes, it’s as if we’re waiting for something to happen but . . . We push it aside, attribute it to something happening around us, to a phase we’re going through, to something someone said.
We do more activity in order to still it. We try to talk ourselves out of it, to tell ourselves that all is well. Let’s not try to push away or push down the restlessness, but recognize that we need to turn our attention to God.
“I know your works. Look, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut (Revelation 3:8). God can do that. God does open the door and no matter what others try to do to stop us, they can’t. Conversely, when God shuts the door, no one can open it. Now, not every shut door nor every open door is from God. Sometimes a door only seems to be open. Or, the closed door is not a dead end. But, the closed door can be a dead end to get your attention.
Often when this happens you try harder. Or, worse. You blame others. You know what, when you hit dead end after dead end, it’s time to stop and seek God to know the reason. Of course, when you do this, it means that God has used the dead end to get your attention.
Where do you draw the line between what God sends and what God allows? I’m not even going to go there in this podcast episode. Suffice it to say it can be either or both, depending . . .
Here is the truth. Without them—the storms, change, restlessness, dead ends—you tend to cruise along. All too often in your cruising, you leave God behind. You have minimal contact with minimal awareness and attention.
What does minimal contact mean and what does it look like?
The quantitative aspect
The time you devote to intentional moments of contact with God is minimal. Yet, its that time with God that increases your awareness and opens your attention. In addition, and consequently, your awareness of God’s love, hope, and grace as well as your awareness of God in your life is also minimal when your contact is that way. Then too, your awareness for sin is minimal so confession and repentance are almost absent from your life. In addition, you turn inward and live and serve from that small space as love for you and others contracts. The good you do is increasingly self-serving. You move further and further into yourself and actually need God to get your attention, to deliver you from you.
The qualitative aspect
It goes without saying that when your contact with God is at the minimum quantitatively, the quality of your awareness of God and the attention you give to God will be limited. However, you need to know that you can spend a lot of time with God and still have minimum quality.
Here is what I mean. Your conscious contact with God is a number that you clock in. However, your mind is everywhere else but on God. Intentions will not give the quality that allows you to have an awareness of God that is vibrant and dynamic and present; that makes you attentive to the slightest touch, word from God. Truly focusing on God, enjoying being in God’s presence, surrounded by God’s love, feasting on God’s Word, listening to God will do this.
What will it take for God to get your attention? Try by starting with regular and solid contact so that your awareness and attention are at an optimum level. Moreover, when the storms come, or you’re confronted by change, or feel restless or even hit dead ends, let’s not shrug them off and give God the “don’t bother me” deal. Let’s turn to God.
On another note, what will it take for God to get our attention as a nation?
That’s a bonus thought for you to ponder.
We are living in a critical hour. As people of God, we can’t afford to have actions and reactions that are triggered by catch phrases, pet peeves and habitual agendas. When God has your attention, your actions and reactions will be triggered by what God desires of you in each moment. Then you can truly be an instrument of God’s love, peace, and hope.
What will it take for God to get your attention now?
Take a moment to silently consider what God may be using to get your attention right now.
Photo credit geralt / Pixabay.Com
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