I sometimes stick my head in the sand. It’s comfortable down there. Especially around the 1st and 15th of the month when I have to sit down, write checks and pay daunting companies for the services they provide out of my already low bank account. Indeed. Punching numbers and paying the Piper has lost its joy these days, but not paying the Piper brings unwanted rats into my life. As I sighed one day in annoyance at the consequences of my sand-like avoidance, I wondered why I did it. I knew that such evasion would mushroom into a big ugly stink, but I burrowed my head anyway.
How many times do we stick our head in the ground when we know there’s something unpleasant to battle or face in our lives? Whether it be a bill collector or a secret sin, avoidance only amplifies issues and prevents us from dealing with the situation at hand. As singles, avoidance is easy to do. We have a choice to invite people to hold us accountable, to call us out of the sand or to be silent and stay in it. However, when we lift our eyes and face the facts, we obtain clarity, structure, healing, teaching, encouragement and whatever else, and usually more than, we need. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9 (NIV). The alternative to our heads in the sand is to keep our eyes open, our heads up and pay attention.
How many times have you made an error because you weren’t paying attention? Overpaid? Missed a deadline? Said the wrong thing? Heard the wrong thing? Undercounted? If it’s easy to miss things in our everyday visible life, how much more could our spiritual, invisible lives suffer detrimentally due to the lack of attention?
Fortunately, our Father already knows what we need and has provided it for us in the form of His Word. Hebrews 2:1 encourages us to pay close attention to the Word: “So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it” (NLT). The truth of the Word is a tidal wave washing away the sand from our lives.
Attention requires discipline, which isn’t pleasant at first. But after a while, reaps a harvest. Hebrews 12:11 says, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (NIV) Training requires focus and attention. God’s word tells us to focus and fix our gaze upon Him and when we do that, we will reap a harvest of righteousness and peace. If we discipline ourselves and accept the discipline from our Heavenly Father, we will bear more fruit “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:2 (ESV)
If you and I lift our heads, gaze on Him as we face the discomfort, the things in our lives which threaten the status quo and require obedience and sacrifice– if we just face those, I believe our lives will be made better by He Who washes away all dirt.