Vizsla dog sitting with sock in his mouth

Where to Set Our Attention in an Attention Shifting World

Thor belongs to four of my grandchildren. He is a Vizsla with a beautiful brown coat and liquid brown eyes which clearly speak dog-beg. He knows exactly how to sit at your feet and patiently ask without saying a word. I’ve watched my grandchildren teach him to set his attention on their command, without shifting to anything else. Not an easy task in a house full of people with food on their plates.

Thor with his begging look. (photo by Cael Van Voorst)

If you want an obedient dog, you must keep him from shifting his attention to something other than his master’s command.

Attention Shift

Today’s “attention shifting” politics takes our eyes from a real issue and puts it onto a preferred agenda.It happens all the time. But it isn’t new. Throughout history, even back to the beginning of the Bible, rulers and power sought to set the stage to personal advantage, in a direction set by them and for them. In a sense it’s maddening. In another it’s laughable. Because God is King. All others rule under His Sovereign Power. 

I often feel like the Resurrection Day is my New Year’s Day. It is the reset of sadness and sorrow to hope, the glorious undoing of evil to victorious reign over sin and death. 

Easter retakes us to the foundation of faith, to forgiveness of sin and New Life in Jesus. It reminds us that while we were sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) It refocuses our attention to our Master. 

I am reminded in these days, of a radically different new birth. Of the shifting of an entire spiritual realm. Christ’s victory sealed this sinful heart in a tomb’s abyss and raised me to life eternal. 

Resurrection Day is like a real New Ever After because its reset represents New Life in Christ, everything our faith rests upon.  

The crucifixion of Jesus came about through a political “attention shifting” from a spiritual problem, to search for a solution in a political response, as we are often prone to do. As Jesus stood before Pilate, “attention shifting” politics activated. Underlying His crucifixion boiled envy, revenge, a desire to appease the masses, and a selfish alignment with bad friends. Real issues dressed themselves in fake attire, and the accusations never touched on the garbage underneath.  

What’s The Real Issue?

Scripture exemplifies how adept we are at shifting attention. Adam shifted blame to Eve and Eve to the snake. The Israelites shifted attention from their own issues to Moses’ leadership when things went south for them. King Saul shifted attention to David’s popularity for his own political problems. Herod burned Christians because they distracted from his political ambitions. Political machines have long shifted attention. 

But, shifting trends don’t consume only politics. They invade spiritual thought. Our eyes settle on the issue which isn’t really the issue. How quickly we shift from a problem residing in the heart to crucify a symptom. We rename sin. We call it by another name, one less offensive. We couch it in acceptable rhetoric or move it to fit an agenda.

Friends, we have a sin issue in this world. But in Jesus’ death and resurrection we have a glorious answer. How quickly we shift from a problem residing in the heart to crucify a symptom. Click To Tweet

He set His eyes resolutely on the cross. No matter what false rhetoric the politicians and religious powers threw at Him, He knew the course He had to take because He loved me. He loved you. And He set His face toward the cross.

After Jesus rose from the dead, He gave His followers a commission. 

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” Mark 16:15 ESV

A Mandate to Follow

Jesus set our attention to accomplish a task.  Life is shifty. Our eyes see things happen in policy, leadership, or justice, and we begin to look at the peripherals. Our attention shifts where those powers want it to shift. 

I am reminded of Thor, who sits on his haunches without a blink waiting for his master’s permission to eat the crumb sitting on his nose. Jesus set our attention to accomplish a task. Click To Tweet

Jesus implores us to fix our eyes on Him. He invites us to shift the world’s attention to the real issue. He gives a mandate to follow. And, He tells us where to set our eyes. 

“…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 ESV


*Feature Photo © Cael Van Voorst

11 Replies

  1. Sue Vogt Reply

    Thank you, fits in with our Explorers Bible Study finishing Titus this year!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Sue, thanks! Interesting how things tie in together. Never thought of Titus, but its so amazing how Scripture supports itself. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. Jeannie Waters Reply

    I appreciate your perspective, Sylvia and this observation: “Resurrection Day is like a real New Ever After because its reset represents New Life in Christ, everything our faith rests upon. “ It reminds me of the freedom we have in Christ and the responsibility to share the gospel. Thank you for reminding us to hold fast to biblical truth while the world’s voices scream for attention and a different view.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Jeannie, thanks so much for that perspective. Freedom in Christ and responsibility to share the gospel. They do go hand in hand, don’t they? May our voices be ones of Biblical truth.

  3. Nancy E. Head Reply

    We have true repentance when we own our own stuff. Thanks, Sylvia. God bless!

  4. Don Pahl Reply

    Thank you, Sylvia, for your “shifty” thoughts, a timely reminder as our culture screams for attention to some very disconcerting issues!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Shifty, huh? Thanks Don for reading, and it’s always great to hear from you!!

  5. Sharon Reply

    So true …

  6. Katherine Pasour Reply

    “Shifting out attention” has been a campaign strategy forever, it seems. I dread the negative ads which come with every election. You’ve shared a powerful message to remind us just where our attention should be. Thank you, Sylvia.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Katherine! I get distracted easily…which might have something to do with the blog…!