The Battle for Our Attention

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. —Matthew 6:24-34

Being mentally occupied with something other than God manifests as a troubled, anxious mind. The Bible teaches us that this distraction is the only weapon the enemy can use against us as believers, so it’s important to keep our attention on God and God alone. In this message, Lead Pastor Josh Kelsey shares how understanding the two phases of spiritual life will help us understand the depths of the freedom we can experience in Jesus—freedom from worry, anxiety, and fear.

Phase 01: Salvation

  • Salvation is the first phase of the spiritual life.
  • Just believing in the Lord does not establish salvation—a believer must experience the Spirit of God coming into their spirit. (Romans 8:9)
  • Not only are we filled with the Holy Spirit, but we are sealed, meaning we are protected by the Holy Spirit. We belong to Christ.
  • This protection does not allow for penetration by any force or spirit into the spirit of the saved person.

Phase 02: Growth and Change

  • Growth needs to come first because growth brings change.
  • We grow by the inward working of God’s spirit, which abides in us. This growth takes place in the mind.
  • “And do not continually be conformed to this age but be continually transformed by means of the renewing of your mind, for you to prove what is the good, well pleasing, and perfect will of God.” —Romans 12:2
  • Since a believer’s spirit is saved and sealed, the only area in which Satan can attack is the mind. Satan is fighting for the occupation of the attention of the mind (Greek word merimna). 
  • In 1 Peter 5:6-8, Peter says that we should cast all our cares (merimna) on Jesus. 
  • The significance of the growth and change phase of a believer’s life cannot be overemphasized, which is why Satan works so diligently to distract us from this process using his only weapon, merimna.

Singular Capacity

  • We are not able to serve both God and money. It’s not just a suggestion, or saying that it’s not ideal for us to serve both. Jesus is saying that we do not have the capacity to serve both. We were made with a singular capacity—we only have one throne in our heart. (Matthew 6:24)

Worry Hijacks Our Imagination

  • God gave us the ability to sow and reap. If you don’t like the harvest, change the seeds that you’re sowing.
  • He cares for you more than anything else in creation
  • Jesus tells us to seek first the kingdom of God. The answer to worry is to change what you seek or care about first.

Dinner Party Questions

  • Why is understanding our salvation important when it comes to the battle for our attention?
  • What do you feel like the enemy uses the most to take your attention away from God?
  • How can you change the seeds that you’re sowing this week to reap a harvest of peace rather than anxiety or worry?

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