What you give attention to, you grow affection for.
I remember writing these words down the moment I heard someone say it.
I thought of the two greatest commandments: To love God and to love our neighbours as ourselves. As I meditated on the nine words I’d written down on my notepad, I came to realise that one key way we love God and our neighbours is by giving them attention.
I asked myself an honest question: How much attention was I paying to God? Then I looked at my life to see how much affection there was between the both of us.
If you love God, your life should look Christlike – Jesus Christ being the God Incarnate – God in the flesh. So one empirical way by which to measure affection between God and myself, is to examine the fruits of my life (Galatians 5:22-23).
Was I seeing these fruits in all the various aspects of my living? I knew such fruits would only come about through life change. And such incredible change could only be wrought out of personal love for God.
That all depended on whether God was getting my attention — whether our relationship was growing.
When you give someone attention — it means you give them your time. To give attention is to be intentional. It takes effort to be present and fully engaged. But one beautiful paradox in our walk with God is that the more we strive for intimacy with Him — the more rest we receive.
In a similar way, we love our neighbours by giving them our time and attention. And sure, you might be wondering if certain people in your life deserve that time and effort. For that matter, exercise discernment. Weigh the friendship: Is it perpetually toxic or is it slowly producing fruits?
Ultimately, we love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). And especially within the Christian family, we must learn to shower each other with brotherly affection, striving to outdo each other in showing honour (Romans 12:10). All for the glory of God.
God is pleased when we live lives that echo Mark 12:30-31. For when we love others, we love God.
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)
Growing affection for God is reflective of an attentive walk with Him. Ask yourself today: Does the amount of attention you’re giving to God in life correlate to the affection — love — you have for Him? It’s a tough and perhaps humbling question to ask — but it’s necessary (Revelations 3:16).
One either constantly grows in knowing God, or backslides. Everything is at stake here, so don’t let your love grow cold — give God your life’s attention.