My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; Proverbs 4:20-21
As of late, I’ve started paying close attention to the book of Proverbs. Many people read Proverbs in order to find or gain wisdom, and I find nothing wrong with that. I personally believe there is a lot more to the book of Proverbs than just wisdom or knowledge. I believe that within it one can find fullness of life.
This month I would like to look at the importance of focus and attention. These two areas play huge roles in our lives and many times we aren’t even mindful of them. The reason I say we aren’t mindful of them many times is due to something a mentor said once. He said, “what has your attention has you.” That will preach right there, and we can go in many different directions with that one saying. The direction I would like to go this month is straight forward!
We live in a world where distractions, busyness, technology, stress, and information overload are daily occurrences in our lives. We are usually left feeling as if we need four clones in order to accomplish our daily routine. At the end of the day, the gas tank is usually empty making it hard for us to fulfill other responsibilities inside or outside the home. This is why focus and attention are so important. If our focus and attention are towards the Creator and His Scripture, the road called life is a lot easier to navigate.
Think about this for a moment. If our tanks are running on fumes is there a way to fill them back up? If we find ourselves distracted, busy, stressed out, overloaded by information, and tainted by the world, can we find answers in the Scripture to help us? I believe so. We will eventually look at what Proverbs 4:20-21 says about it, but until then, let’s direct our thought to focus and attention.
Focus and attention can be similar in meaning, but for the purpose of this month’s piece, I would like us to center on two things. Focus is how our attention is directed, while attention can be a position assumed by a soldier where the heels are together, body erect, arms at sides, and ears inclined to receive instruction.
Let’s focus on what Proverbs 4:20-21 says. My son/daughter give your full undivided attention to the Word and incline or humble yourself to my sayings not letting the Word depart from your eyes. Why is the Scripture telling us to hear and see the word? If we continue to look at the Word and hear it, it will eventually make its way into our heart. There is a famous quote which tells us that the eyes are the window into the soul. There isn’t really any word-for-word scriptural reference for that quote other than Matthew 6:22 and Luke 11:34.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! Matthew 6:22
When our attention is directed towards the things of the world, it makes it more difficult to see, hear, and obey the things of the Creator. When you and I are less attentive to hearing and seeing the Word of God, the door that gives access to sin opens. Why don’t we ask Eve or the children of Israel? How did the serpent get Eve to partake of the fruit?
The word serpent in Hebrew is used as a noun, verb, and adjective in scripture. In noun form it means serpent or snake. The verb form means deceiver, and the adjective form means bronze or brazen with a bright shine. Could it be that the serpent presented himself as a luminous being that seemed divine? If so, would it be kosher to say that would have been attractive, interesting, and pleasing to the eye of Eve? We would refer to it as “eye-candy” nowadays.
How about the children of Israel time and time again when they learned and adopted the ways of the nations that surrounded them? How was that initiated? They had to hear and see the ways of the nations until it became normal for them to partake and adopt ways that were contrary to the Word of God. My point is if we direct our attention on something long and hard enough, that something takes a hold of us and becomes a part of us.
When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:6
Whatever your eyes look into, that desire grows within you. Whatever has your attention has you! I’m not here playing the Creator of the Universe judging anyone, but I think it is fair to ask a simple question. What has our eyes been looking into lately?
In order to be balanced, I realize that most of us don’t have the luxury of working with or being around spiritual folks who talk, act, and walk like Y’shua (Jesus) 24/7. I would go further to say it would even be hard to find believers who are like Y’shua (Jesus) 24/7. I realize that everyone of us lives within a fallen world. It’s not peachy all the time or some type of Messianic utopia where we’re floating around on clouds occasionally dipping our big toes in the river of life. We fall short! We sin at times and that sin causes us to get dirty. We have an advocate in Y’shua that helps us get back on track, but there is more to it than just getting back on track. How can we stay on track? Proverbs 4:20-21!!
Attending to the Creator’s Word and inclining our ears to His sayings are the correct courses of action we should be taking. In other words, paying attention to the Word, seeing the Word, and hearing the Word so that it is constantly before our eyes so that it begins to grow within us. If we do these things, the end results will not be negative but positive. We will not allow stress to overcome, rule, or conquer us. We will not be overloaded by the cares of the world. We will no longer be dominated by the flesh living sinful lifestyles. The end result will be LIFE! Life in my home, life in my marriage, life in my finances, life in my body, life in my relationships, and so forth and so on.
For they are life to those who find them and health to all their body. Proverbs 4:22
Where has your focus and attention been lately? We have a promise in Scripture that if we follow the doctor’s prescription it will be as medicine to our bodies. Go look up that word health in verse 22. The thing we must not do is get just enough of the Creator’s medicine, the Word, in us where we feel better and then stop taking the medicine. If we heed the great Physician’s orders and follow through as He has prescribed, we have a promise that life and restoration will come into any situation that we may find ourselves wrestling with. Shalom and blessings.