I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have the world’s greatest attention span. Sometimes I’m a little bit like the dog in Disney’s Up, constantly distracted by squirrels and basically everything besides the thing I am to be focused on. While I tended to do well in school it was typically because things came quickly and naturally to me, not because I paid particularly great attention to my teachers. When a subject did not come naturally my lack of attention caused problems. This was especially the case when it came to Spanish. Languages have never come easy to me, and I could never really make sense of Spanish grammar. I got by for two years and then dropped it, which I’ve come to greatly regret now that I regularly work with churches in Spanish speaking Nicaragua. Over the past year I’ve been spending about an hour a day learning Spanish on my own, and I regularly regret not having paid attention in school! As I struggle with specific concepts I really wish I would have listened to the experts (my teachers) when I had the chance.
Unfortunately, I think all of us go through times in our life where we don’t do a great job of paying attention to God. We spend plenty of time sitting in church, attending various groups, reading books, and listening to Christian music, but have we truly been paying attention and putting God’s ways into practice? These words from Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews really convicted me this week:
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? Hebrews 2:1-3
When Paul says “we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard” he is specifically referring to the teachings of Jesus (although, as he goes onto proclaim, all of God’s Word requires our attention). Not only does he tell us to pay attention, but he warns us of the likely results of our inattention: drifting away from God. When we stop truly paying attention to God’s Word not only do our actions drift away, but our relationship to Him tends to slowly drift as well.
How well are you doing at paying attention to God? Specifically, how are you doing at paying attention to His Word? The question is not only are you reading the Bible, but are you truly listening to it? Are you turning to it when you have questions in life? Are you using it as a roadmap for living your life? Are you not only avoiding those things it says not to do, but also doing those things it commands you to do? This Christmas season let us all take time to truly pay attention to God and His Word.