Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Open Eyes, Open Ears, Devoted Heart"

At a baseball game last night, we were fascinated by a young man who sat in front of us with a group of his friends. He never stopped talking from the time he sat down to the time he left in the 8th inning. He was reasonably intelligent and well spoken, and his friends seemed interested in much of what he had to say. However, I couldn't help but think that they must have felt distracted from the event they paid good money to see. I did, because the young man's incessant chatter was accompanied by a loud voice and regional accent that made him hard to ignore.

The Christian life often offers a similar experience. The godliest among us would confess that distraction is a frequent intruder into their hearts and minds. The world, the devil, and the flesh keep up a din of noise that can draw our attention away from the focus that deep in our hearts we know is the way of peace and joy. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee" (Isaiah 26:3). This does not mean we have to be constantly thinking about God, of course, because the fulfillment of our responsibilities requires our full attention. However, there is a mind and heartset of "stayed on Thee" that keeps us ever ready to commune with our Lord in any available moment. It is this fixed expectation and determination that our spiritual enemies seek to disable by distraction.

The best counterattack to this temptation is the remembrance and affirmation that our Heavenly Father is never distracted from His perfect attentiveness to the details of our lives. "The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry" (Psalm 34:15). Our gaze Godward is always the fruit of our Lord's gaze toward us. Determination, dedication, and discipline flow from Heaven to us, and then from us back to Heaven. The order must never be reversed in our perspective, and if it is, we can be sure that we have been diverted from the spiritual dynamic that keeps us from distraction.

In this moment, our Heavenly Father perfectly sees the center and circumference of our being, and He is lovingly interested in every detail. We cannot match His attentiveness, but we can grow in the awareness that His open eyes are accompanied by open ears. Even more, His heart is devoted to us in an affection that keeps His mind stayed on us. Such remembrance will more and more direct our hearts toward home, that is, toward the heart of the God who sees us with perfect clarity, faithfulness, and love.

"His countenance doth behold the upright" (Psalm 11:7)
"As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness."
(Psalm 17:15)

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