03 Oct Losing The Ability To Control Your Attention?
Being attentive to something could in a way mean that you are also devoted to it. For e.g. some people spend lots of attention on their work, and you know they’re devoted to their work. Or a devoted mother could be seen to be very attentive to the well-being of her children. Needless to say, “attention” is one of the most important attributes we need to get something done well and fast. But what if I tell you we’ve a generation of people now whose attention are very much diverted, or at least it is expended on things which are non-essentials.
In this age, the common phenomenon is that both students and working adults are constantly distracted with push messages from newsfeeds and social medias while doing serious work. Young people nowadays are really not accustomed to focusing but trying to multitask. They find satisfaction from not being left out in group chats, and also being able to accomplish many things at one time.
Of course, there are some who said they are actually focusing while multi-tasking. Doing a lot of things at one time actually help them focus. Now, I kept asking: “Is that a legitimate reason?” Well, if that’s the case, it sounds like the way our brain is program now is not being able to take intensity. We’ve to constantly take the stress away from the “stress of intensity”, so that we can function properly. You know, I’ve seen some young people having to check their handphones constantly while doing revision, or to keep doing some scribble drawings while listening to sermons. And probably that explains why people easily feel stress nowadays. The main task, as it seems to be, is too much for them to handle, and they’ve to distract themselves with something else. And think about this, if we’ve to be constantly distracted so as to fully focus on the main task, then are we really devoted to the task itself?
Sometimes, when we’ve a generation of people being program a certain way, I think we’ve to intently question whether that is really our “human make up”?
Is that the way God has created us after all?
In fact, I recently read an article from a Stanford psychology expert. He mentioned the number one work skill for the future, which man have failed to realize is to get people to focus.
Because we are so distracted as a generation living in an internet age that we increasingly seeing workers not being able to control their attention. And what does the Bible says about this?
Now, a very apt verse to this will be <Proverbs 5:1-2>:
My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge.
Now, the key word will be: “Pay attention”. Now, you could be reading from the word of God, you could be given insights by spiritual people, or you may have the best teachers teaching you, but if your attention runs wild, you don’t gain from it. And the work of Satan looms in a world of distraction. When we’re being distracted from giving careful thinking about issues and problems, we simply react by our flesh. We give in to emotionalism easily. We solve problems superficially without dealing with it fundamentally. And that explains why we’ve a more reactive world.
When COVID-19 struck, the world became reactive. Countries start shutting down when they saw others doing so. Politicians and their opponents simply unleash their emotions on each other. Panic buying happened in every country. Now, I’m not saying shutting down is wrong. But we could see that when the world is interconnected, when information are shared loosely without proper verification, people just react.
And we’ve to ask the question: “Are we breeding a generation that is more reactive?”
And if yes, is it because the way we’re functioning now is not to get people to control their attention but to simply react?
Countries react, the stock markets react, businesses react.
Now, reacting is human nature, but it must come with careful thinking. We are after all human beings, not animals who devour one another.
And one other thing we’ve to know about the controlling our attention is because it affects how we listen and how we speak. Listen to this verse again, after you pay your attention to wisdom, listen well … and it ends with your lips will persevere knowledge…
Now, brothers and sisters, controlling your attention has got a lot to do with the way you listen and speak. And this is by which we will be judged.
Now, most people don’t realize what are they listening. They only listen to what they want to listen. “Selective listening” so to speak. Their thought process is not clear and objective. Why is this happening? Because they are not used to putting in their attention to think deep. Anything that requires intense thinking and scrutinizing will just turn them off. And that is why they are so quick with their words. They speak loosely and their words lack judgment.
And with the internet now, everyone has the right to comment, and there we have a world of people speaking loosely. And even with teaching the word of God, you have many preachers nowadays simply preaching a superficial gospel message – messages that only appeals to the flesh, messages that only excites the emotions but doesn’t feed the spirit.
And commonly now, church messages have been reduced to a pathetic half an hour event. Why? Because most believers cannot keep still listening to the word of God. Why? Because most are used to instant gratification. They want to get something fast into their head and that’s it. They’re not inclined to dwell on something for long. Their appetites for spiritual food are greatly lacking.
My dear brethren, we’re living in dangerous times. Our “internal human make up” are suffering deformation. And only the Word of God can turn us back into the right track. Let us know something is wrong with our distracted mind and lifestyle. And let us not conform ourselves to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind. So that we could test and approve what God’s good, pleasing and perfect will <Romans 12:2>.
May the Holy Spirit bring an urgent healing to our lives, and to this generation of believers.