Crown the Sword: Ch. 8-Attention

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Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 

Acts 9:3 (ESV)

Did I capture your attention? Can you imagine your lips telling the world what you just ate through chameleon color-changing abilities? Mine might appear like dirt since my favorite thing to savor is the darkest chocolate possible. (YIKES!) What about you?

Matthew 6:22 states, “The eye is the lamp of the body.” So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body can be full of God’s pure light. Our eyes are arrested by many things throughout the day. Vision is an intake device controlling what can charm our senses, entice our minds, and even sway our hearts. This is why good marketing schemes can invoke our thinking and cause us to react outside of our norms. Oh those eyes!

Lets look to the Bible for some vision advice:

Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. Proverbs 4:25-27. (NIV)

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. Matthew 5:29

He who walks righteously and speaks with sincerity, He who rejects unjust gain. And shakes his hands so that they hold no bribe; He who stops his ears from hearing about bloodshed And shuts his eyes from looking upon evil; Isaiah 33:15 (NIV)

Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. Psalm 119:37 (ESV)

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:27 (ESV)

Our attention will be engaged in any environment we entertain, healthy or not. Bright and flashy or dark and luring-humans have an eye for things that standout. Marketing experts profit from this sense by leaps and bounds. Just ask Seth Godin, author of Purple Cow-Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable. (Side note: maybe we should make all Bibles purple poke-a-dotted) It is a known fact that the eyes tend to be drawn to things out of the ordinary. Ponder this: Remember seeing something you wish you had not seen but were drawn to it? You can’t seem to get it out of your head.

“The almighty Father provides Scripture as a method to procure our attention.” (pg. 89). “However, it takes effort on our part to place ourselves in God’s environment…” (pg. 90). The Holy Spirit gently draws us to particular verses as we engage in God’s Word and He does so according to God’s purpose and will.

Let us not forget, Scripture is the Voice of God-the very words which separated light from dark and brought everything into existence. Why wouldn’t we want to hang out among powerful, life-giving words and let it capture our attention? Well, I don’t know about you, but I have overused all the excuses you could probably utter…”I’m too busy, I’m not sure it all applies to me, I need to focus more on my career, I lack the motivation to stay in the Bible daily, I don’t understand some of Scripture so…, I’m not ready for God’s disciplined lifestyle, I don’t know where to start, etc.”

However, when the bright light was placed on my life, much like Saul’s experience on the road to Damascus, it exposed my excuses, sins, and flawed ways. I stood before the LORD guilty in so many ways. God had to use drastic forces to get my eyes back on what really mattered-Him! I wasn’t placing myself in Scripture so He could speak to me nor spending the time I needed in “listening” prayer to fully hear His words of discernment and guidance. I was doing life “my way” much like Saul.

“The LORD longs for our awareness of Him. God knows exactly what ensnares our interest. He is never surprised by what is attractive to us because His attention is continually on us. The Lord longs for us to reciprocate interest in Him.” (pg. 88-89). He knows how to captivate us, but He is gentle and patient–not to mention He gives us free will.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8a (NIV)

Chapter 8 of Crown the Sword is all about what to do once God draws our attention to certain passages of Scripture when we spend time reading His Word.

See your story in the Bible as you read it.

Highlight it and date it in a manner that is right for you.

Heed to His promptings and write out those verses to reflect upon throughout the week.

Place the verses in prominent area you frequent regularly.

Fill your environment with His Voice-Scripture.

Keep your Bible open as an invitation throughout your day to stop and read a bit.

Think outside of the box and let your creative juice flow.

Post the Scripture on your social media accounts.

Talk it over with a friend.

Pray it out.

First and foremost, let it draw you to the feet of Jesus. Hang out there for a bit and let Him take your vision to heights unknown. Your eyes will be amazed at the remarkable sight revealed — discovery of a magnificent power beyond the color-changing ability of a chameleon.

(P.S. What was the last thing you ate?)

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