Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Attention Is Not Always Good

I remember "those bad kids" that seemed incapable of staying out of trouble for longer than a week in elementary school. Oh, we might have a couple of days go by without incident, but sure enough, they'd soon be spotlighted for something mischievous. They were kind of like Disney-star-turned-pop-music-superstar in that way.

My mom always said they were bad because they needed more attention from adults. I guess that explains why my sisters always got more attention than I did.* I was generally a well-behaved kid, which means I had to do good things in order to receive attention from teachers at school.

It sounds like I am patting myself on the back. I'm not. The truth is, good or bad, it could be said that every kid was performing for their share of attention. It shouldn't be that way. This is not a diatribe against our education system or the way teachers do their job. The simple fact is that if we were all comfortable with who we are, the performance wouldn't be necessary.

But we're not. We have convinced ourselves that we need more. More attention, more applause and more people telling us that we are worthy. It's a disease that is killing us from the inside. So often we look to the outside sins to judge our goodness on our own imaginary scale. But Jesus was clear in His sermon on the mount that sin starts from the inside. It stems from our hearts.

Unlike most of my do-it-yourself home projects, we were created right from the start. God didn't need a second shot at making us. We were created perfectly and had perfect union with our Creator. Then we were fooled...

We were made to believe that a simple fruit could give us what the Creator of that fruit could not. We were told that there was more than everything. We were fooled into thinking if we got more attention and more accolades from someone...anyone, then we would be content.

We who live with God after Jesus are also fooled into thinking that we are the uber-blessed. Without question, we have all we have ever needed with Jesus Christ and more. But I believe the Old Testament gets the short end of the stick when we assume they were under the weight of an unfair set of rules. To be sure, Paul said we're better off living in freedom than under the law. Just read Romans and you get that idea clearly throughout.

But for all of the many laws and regulations, it is almost as if God was trying to use the k.i.s.s. method with His people. We would do well to keep it simple and remember that we are all too often, well, stupid. In Leviticus 26, after going over the myriad of ways that worship would be acceptable to God, it is interesting that it only takes God a few paragraphs to say how awesome life would be if His people obey. But it takes twice as many words to say all the things that would go wrong. This isn't the only place we see blessings and curses, but the contrast is undeniable.

Stop vying for the attention, good or bad. Give your attention to the One who is worthy. Do this and good things are bound to follow.

*I said that because I know my sisters will read this and react. They love the attention!

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