This excerpt is from John's new book Get Your Life Back, available Tuesday. When you pre-order the book, you'll receive several free gifts — including the first few chapters and a one-hour video teaching from John about everyday practices for your soul in a world gone mad. After you pre-order, go to JohnEldredge.com and fill out the form to receive these gifts.
Down through the ages, followers of Christ have believed that to be able to give God our attention as a regular practice was a very important thing. After vividly recounting the many challenges of faith and character before us, the author of Hebrews says,
Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping [fixing] our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith (Hebrews 12:1–2 NLT).
Those who look to him are radiant (Psalm 34:5 NIV)
Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.
Your commands are always with me
and make me wiser than my enemies.
I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on your statutes. (Psalm 119:97–99 NIV)
I don’t think we realize how much our use of technology and its assault on our attention has made this difficult to do. You can’t give God your attention when your attention is constantly being targeted and taken captive ... and you’re cooperating.
In a blog post entitled "Mobile Blindness," marketing guru Seth Godin writes,
We swipe instead of click, we scan instead of read, even our personal email. We get exposure to far more at the surface, but we rarely dig in. ...
Mobile blindness. The quick pass. The inability to linger, and dig deep. It’s just the next thing, the next thing, the next thing.
Our precious attention has been groomed and taken hostage. The key is this: the rooted person is able to meditate—give sustained attention to—the revelation of God. Not swipe, not multitask. Lingering focus. So Crawford wonders, “As our mental lives become more fragmented, what is at stake often seems to be nothing less than the question of whether one can maintain a coherent self. I mean a self that is able to act according to settled purposes and ongoing projects, rather than flitting about.”
Dear reader—you can’t find more of God when all you’re able to give him is a flit and flicker of your attention.
The good news is that we actually have a choice. Unlike persecution, the things currently assaulting us are things we can choose not to participate in.