I try and be a good listener . . . but I don’t always hear. More than once I’ve been tuned out when one of my girls has been talking to me. They speak . . . I’m distracted . . . nothing gets through. But I remember once one of my daughters, not sure which one, having something very important for me to hear, grabbed my chin . . . turned my face towards hers . . . made sure we made eye-to-eye contact . . . and said, “Focus, Dad!” Let’s just say the streams of communication flowed freely during that conversation. That incident came to mind as I came across a warning I’d do well to heed. Focus!
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.
(Hebrews 2:1 ESV)
By it’s very nature, drifting away is not usually a purpose-driven, intentional act . . . it’s the result of going with the flow. It’s giving oneself to the prevailing currents . . . it’s being focused on one set of priorities only to find that, with little effort on your part, you’ve ended up somewhere you had no intention of being. That was the danger faced by these Hebrews who had heard the gospel of freedom and life but were allowing their focus to be drawn again to the law of bondage and death. Pay attention, says the writer . . . pay MUCH CLOSER attention, is the exhortation . . . in other words, Focus!
Though written TO them, the warning is also written FOR us . . . written for me this morning. Give more earnest heed to things we have heard (NKJV) . . . apply more effort to it than to other things . . . give it higher priority than other priorities . . . focus on it above the focus other things compete for. Heed the truths spoken of and by the Son of Man . . . bring near the things of the kingdom of heaven . . . turn your mind to the wonder and fullness of the implications of the gospel, the power of God for salvation to all who believe . . . salvation past, salvation future, and most importantly, right now, salvation present! Focus Dad!
And as for [the seed that] fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. (Luke 8:14 ESV)
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (1Tim. 6:10 ESV)
For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. (2Peter 2:20 ESV)
No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the One who enlisted him. (2Tim. 2:4 ESV)
The cares of life can choke out the seed of life so that the fruit of our life is anemic. The pursuit of present wealth can, so often, result in a wandering away from investing in the incorruptible, unimaginable eternal inheritance that awaits us in His presence. The trappings of the world can so entangle us . . . and overcome us . . . that it results in a misery worse than if we had never “tasted and seen the Lord is good.” But, beyond the self-preservation afforded by paying more careful attention to the things we have heard, perhaps the greatest motivation to “focus” is to please the One who called us to Himself to run the race for His glory.
Kind of feeling the hand of Jesus grasping my chin this morning . . . turning my face towards His . . . seeking my eyes of faith to focus on Him, and Him alone . . . and hearing Him say through the Spirit, “Focus!”
Yes LORD . . . by Your grace . . . for Your glory . . .