So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (Romans 12:2)
How many times do we find ourselves going along with the crowd just because we have become so 'well-adjusted to our culture'? We move toward the newest trend, all because we are listening to the voice of the crowd. We take on more debt than we should, all because someone said we couldn't live without something. We might be more 'well-adjusted' to our world than we imagine. If we act upon the influences within the world instead of taking time to see how it is God would have us act, we might just be more 'adjusted' in the wrong direction!
Fixed attention really is a hard thing for some of us. I have two grandsons who have ADHD and I know exactly how this affects them. The earliest signs were of the fidgeting every mealtime, the intensity they would put into one task while completely neglecting all others, and sometimes even their unending outbursts over what seemed to be pretty silly things. The more we learned of the issues ADHD kids faced, the more we realized this intensity of focus was not always a good thing. The child could 'over-focus' on one thing, regardless of all the demands made to pull away from the object of their attention, they just couldn't do it. I wonder how many of us have some form of 'spiritual ADHD' - focusing so intently on some of the things God tells us to avoid, but finding it harder and harder to pull away from them because they have us so consumed in their hold?
Fixed attention is a good thing when the direction of our focus is in the right direction. We need this type of intensity of focus, but used in the wrong way it can harm us. Culture used to be defined as the 'betterment' of a society via education or training, but today it might be defined as that which is 'learned'. Culture - good or bad - is modeled and learned. We move toward or away from some ideas, concepts, and challenges simply because of what we have been 'taught' via example, words, and social influences. Is it any wonder today that we call the individuals who have a huge 'social following' in media as 'social influencers'? Their intent is to create a 'culture' of followers. Jesus wasn't opposed to followers - he was just opposed to us following without intent, purpose, and allegiance aligned with his example! Maybe our greatest goal in this world today should be to become those types of 'social influencers' who actually lead others to fall deeply in love with Jesus. Just sayin!