Paying attention can be hard work and frustrating. There are some great Scripture directives about paying attention.
To what we have heard – “For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it” (Hebrews 2:1). “What we have heard” in this context does not necessarily mean what we were taught growing up. Instead, this is about what has been revealed by the apostles. Anyone who teaches something contrary to this “is to be accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9). Therefore, this message is not going to change. So we are to “pay much closer attention” to it and grow spiritually, progressing from “the pure milk of the word” to the “solid food…for the mature” (1 Peter 2:2; Hebrews 5:13-14).
To the revelation of Christ – “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19). Peter was referring to the prophecies that pointed to Christ (cf. 2 Peter 1:16). We not only have the prophecies, we also have their fulfillment in Christ. Jesus affirmed that “all the things which are written about [Him] in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44-46), and was fulfilled. As a “lamp shining in a dark place,” these prophecies revealed the mystery that was otherwise unknowable but has been revealed by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:11-12).
To ourselves – “Pay close attention to yourself…for as you do this you will ensure salvation…for yourself…” (1 Timothy 4:16). This is about our conduct and our standing before God. Paul told the Corinthians, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!” (2 Corinthians 13:5). We need to do the same thing. We will “all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). We do not want to be surprised on that day and find out that we have not been serving the Lord as faithfully as we should (cf. Matthew 7:22-23).
To our teaching – “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16). These are the things that we teach to others. Whenever we speak on spiritual matters – those things that have been revealed in the Scriptures – we have an obligation to “speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11, KJV). Paul told Timothy, “Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13). As we noticed earlier, we must not teach anything contrary to this (Galatians 1:8-9).
I want to add paying attention to the times for they are evil. I am trying to pay attention to these massive spending bills in congress especially the ones about early childhood education and you can get bogged down in money issues and miss some really frightening emphasis about where that money should go and why certain groups are kept away. Money going to early childhood education and childcare for working parents cannot be given to faith based organizations. Beg the question – why?