Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Spiritual ADD

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind…” (1 Peter 1:13)

“Attention Deficit Disorder” (ADD) is the inability to sustain attention for long enough to be effective in any endeavor. Some of the symptoms are: “failing to give close attention to details or making careless mistakes”; “seemingly unhearing when spoken to directly”; “showing inability to follow through on instructions”; “forgetful of daily activities”; and easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.” Hmm…any of these ring a bell?

Spiritually speaking, do you ever suddenly realize you’re making “careless mistakes,” or, rather, careless sins? Are you ever “forgetful of daily activities” such as personal devotions with the Lord? Are you “easily distracted” by the questionable things of this world”; or is it hard for you to “follow through on instructions” the Holy Spirit might give you? In other words, when you’re “spoken to directly” by God, are you mentally unavailable? If so, you may be suffering from a bad case of “Spiritual ADD.”

The sad thing is, as long you are languishing from this “ailment,” you are forfeiting at least two important benefits. First, you forfeit fellowship with the Father. It is possible to be in attendance at church without being attentive to God. In every service where the Word of God is preached, there are those who only hear the sermon, while others actually get the message. As the writer of Hebrews points out, some people are just plain “dull of hearing.” In other words, they’re not paying attention.

Granted, sometimes we don’t hear from God because of sin in our lives; but at other times, it’s only because we are not listening. Tell me, how long would you bother talking to someone whose attention was a million miles away? John tells us that as believers, we may have fellowship “with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). But not if we aren’t paying attention.

Second, you forfeit freedom from frustration. One has only to read Isaiah 26:3 to verify this: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” It’s easy to spot the Christians whose attention is fixed on their problems rather than the “God of peace.” There is a frenzy about their lives that fails to mirror the God-consciousness they received when they were born again. (I speak from experience here.)

I often think the most non-appropriated spiritual blessing by believers is this very thing—peace. And more often than not, it’s a case of Spiritual ADD. When Peter’s attention was drawn away from Jesus by the waves around him, he sank. And when our attention is spirited away from Him by circumstances around us, we too, are sunk. Before anything (or any one) can capture your heart or mind, it (or they) must first get your attention. Nothing can rob you of your peace, if you ignore it, and give all your attention to “the God of peace.”

David said of the wicked man, in Psalm 10:4, “God is not in all his thoughts.” This is understandable for a lost man or woman who have never known the joy of sins forgiven and fellowship with the Father. They don’t know what they’re missing. But for those of us who have taken the cup of salvation and tasted the goodness of God, to find our attention riveted for any length of time on anything (or any one) other than the lovely Son of God, is to give evidence of an unhealthy Spiritual life. In short, we’re suffering from Spiritual ADD. And you can be sure, God will not settle for anything less than our undivided attention.

Some people say God speaks to those who are busy; but I would say, God speaks to those who are listening.

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