The Secret & Sacred
“Is my attention being held by something sacred or something secret?”
I was lying in bed, trying to unwind from the day with a book called Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst. The chapter entitled “The Enemy’s Plans Against You” turned out to be anything but a light read. My mind was now fixated on the question, “Is my attention being held by something sacred or something secret?”
I’ve been wrestling lately, not so much with physical obstacles but ones of the mind. I know the A, B, C’s of making good choices to avoid walking into tempting situations. If you are clued into your life at all, you are probably aware of your thorns, too. But how do I fight when the majority of the battles are between my ears?
“Is my attention being held by something sacred or something secret? What is holding my attention the most is what I’m truly worshiping.”
Redirecting our attention is one of the most difficult challenges when fighting temptations. “Minor” thoughts can be oh so impactful. It could start as seemingly innocent as wishing your spouse would be more like fill in the blank or wanting to look like and be like so and so. But these thoughts can take up residence and eventually become what you worship. And worshiping something unholy never ends well.
James says it like this, “but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (1:14-15)
Desire. Desire begins with one single thought.
This can be anything, anything that does not align with the will of God. This can be a hateful thought against someone else. Jealousy. Comparison. Pride. Arrogance. Coveting. The list goes on and on!
James continues in chapter 4, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it…You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God.” (verses 1, 2, 4)
If relating these desires to being friends with the world seems a little harsh, take another look at your desires. What battles inside for your attention? I doubt many of us would answer, “I just wish I had more time to serve others.” Or “I really want more quiet time to worship God.” Because honestly if these were the desires of our hearts we could make them a reality. Sacrificing the things of the world would be required to do so but it could be done.
We would rather stay friends. And our desires prove it.
What we think about in secret is what we are truly worshiping. And most of the time, things dwelt on in secret are unholy. Don’t believe me? Try taking it to the light.
It’s time to start giving credibility to the secret. Only what is sacred should hold our attention and therefore our worship. Is your attention being held by something sacred or something secret? Your answer to this question may just hold the key to fighting that battle that rages within.
Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your right, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:12-14)