Pay Attention

We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.

(Hebrews 2:1)

How easy it is for a boat to drift away when it’s not anchored to something strong and solid. It doesn’t have to do anything to drift because the waters will just move it away. It doesn’t even have to be rough waters, but can happen in slow, calm waters as well. It can be just as easy for us to drift away from the Lord when we don’t remain anchored to Him in prayer and reading His Word on a daily basis. It’s easy to become lax and miss important information when things are going well.  We become complacent and comfortable in our time of rest and peace and we don’t observe or listen as closely as we once had. We become complacent, comfortable and even lax when we aren’t in that season of turmoil where we cling to and pray fervently to God on a daily basis to see us through. We only half read or hear, which means we are only receiving partial information and missing out on the whole piece, which can be damaging to us. The Scripture in Hebrews 2:1 wasn’t written to unbelievers. Paul wrote it to Christians because he knew if our anchor was not securely tied to Christ, the currents of the world, our flesh and the devil would cause us to drift away. And when we are lax and not alert to God, his Word and what is going on around us, it can happen easily without our even realizing it.

I recently found out how easy it is to become lax and the consequences for it when my husband and I had to each fill out paperwork and email it back to the office we were working with. My husband filled his out first and I was there when he filled it out, going over it with him. He probably even mentioned the info he had to fill out in the email along with the attachment, but I admit I was only half listening. So when i received my email, I filled out the attachment, but later realized i had missed important information within the email including a meeting time and other things needed. Needless to say, they received what they needed from me…in three separate emails…when it could have all been done in one. After everything was sent, I sat and thought a minute about what just happened, remembering how there was a day when I was on top of everything because I had to be. I had to be alert, precise and organized because it was my job at home and in the workforce. While I still need to be this way, my lifestyle has changed some. This means i am not doing the same work I once did which required my alertness to detail. This can be good as it gives me a rest, but it can have a negative effect because I can miss things simply because I’m not practicing the same disciplined routine I once had. Unfortunately, it all boils down to laziness and a lack of patience to observe. These extra steps took extra time, which could have caused important delays or issues. Now apply that spiritually.

When we step out of a routine, be it physical or spiritual, we can become lax or complacent. We aren’t as alert and observant as we once were. We can tend to let things slide by our radar instead of taking a closer look and noting what we see or hear that may be off. We assume, instead of making sure and confirming what is needed. When we get out of our routine of remaining alert and observant, we can tend to also go along with some things we normally wouldn’t go along with, allowing certain things to slide. This is when we begin to drift away.

In my recent situation of filling out the paperwork, I realized I had allowed myself to become lax and complacent, or rather, lazy. I just did what I thought I had to do instead of really reading through everything. It sounds pretty irresponsible, but I assure you it’s quite easy to do, especially when you are distracted or just lax. How many times have you read a book and skipped over the person’s name in the book because you’ve read it so much? How many times have you purchased a cellphone or appliance, listened to the salesperson explain everything, yet fail to read the paperwork? Better yet, how many times have you applied for something online or wanted to be a part of a site and was told to read the terms and agreements and then hit “yes” at the end but you either only half read it or didn’t read it at all but still hit “yes” because you didn’t want to take the time to read everything? What important information did you miss, that if you would have saw it in big letters at the top of the page, you probably would have have hit “no”?

We can do the same with the Word of God. When we have read it a number of times, we sometimes tend to just read and not absorb. Or we skim through it touching on certain words and leaving out others. The problem with this is that soon it won’t be retained in our memories. Then when we really need the scripture and we don’t have a Bible or a cellphone to look it up, we won’t have the scripture at all. Then we won’t remember what God’s directions are, causing us to walk in error or drift away. Yet another great tactic of the enemy to help us to lead us away from God.

I’ve used the words “lax” and “complacent” a few times. Lets get a better understanding of what they mean.

Lax means not strict or severe, careless or negligent. It also means to be asleep on the job, forgetful, and paying no mind.

Complacent means to be pleased with yourself or your merits or situation often without awareness of some potential danger or defect. It also means unbothered, untroubled, self-contented and unconcerned.

When we stop paying attention and we instead become careless, asleep and unbothered, we now have a serious problem. Paul is telling Christians they must pay close attention to Jesus and what they have heard Him say or risk drifting away. We must read and absorb His Word and not become lazy, especially when things are going well. We must give God the time He deserves so He can not only strengthen us, but provide us with the important direction we need, especially in these turbulent times. This isn’t a time to skim His Word but to read it and then ask Him what He wants us to see. It may be something for your very situation.

Satan will continue to try and distract us from spending time with God and from reading His Word which includes skimming and half reading, so we don’t receive the direction we need. He will try to get our focus off in a different direction and may be so convincing that we think its the right way to go when it could be damaging to us and even those around us. When we remain alert and pay careful attention to God, His Word and our surroundings, we can then avoid drifting off into uncharted waters and away from Jesus.

Take a moment and get with God to see if there is an area of your life that has come under attack, causing the possibility of drifting away. Have you become lax and complacent? Do you skim the Word instead of absorbing it? Are you only half listening, with your thoughts going in other directions that possibly allows false directions to filter in? If so, then now is the time to ask God to organize your thoughts and to help you to pay better attention to what Jesus is saying.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)