As a pastor, I am aware of so many families who struggle with children who have ADD. Attention Deficit Disorder can cause many challenges at school and at home. When someone has ADD it’s hard to stay focused.
As believers, we often get what I’ve come to call SADD—Spiritual Attention Deficit Disorder. None of us start our Christian life this way, but sadly the majority seem to end up with SADD before they die. How does one diagnose this problem?
First, you look to see if you have left your first love. The complaint of Christ against the church at Ephesus was that they had left their first love. They quit paying attention. They lost their focus. They lost their purpose. Here was one of the great churches of the first century, and she was now in danger of judgment. The church to which Paul had written so many positive things was in danger of losing the blessings of God.
Ephesus had been reminded that they were a brotherhood, but now they were a bother. They were a building infected with devilish termites. They were a body, and the body was sick. They were in a battle, but the church had gone AWOL. If it can happen to them, it can happen to us.
After a screening of the rough cut of The Passion of the Christ, a woman who worked for Mel Gibson said she drove home and all she could say to the Lord was, “I’m sorry I forgot.” Have you forgotten? Are you in the first stages of SADD? It can slip up on you before you know it. It is most often brought about by not recognizing deception, not rejecting a lie or by embracing and justifying sin and compromise. Then, in a moment, first love leaves and mediocrity moves in.
Secondly, you need to check your devotional life. How’s your personal Bible study? How’s your prayer life? When something becomes bigger than God in your life, you’ll lose your focus and purpose, and you’ll find it hard to concentrate when you read the Bible or pray. Other things will battle for attention. Other thoughts will cause distractions.
This is why having a daily time with God is so important. It keeps us focused on what is important. If we aren’t careful, even as church-going Christians we can get in a rut and depend on the preacher to tell us. For you to stay focused and live a life on purpose, you must have a healthy diet of God’s Word and quality time in prayer.
The third symptom of SADD is a loss of love for the lost. We get in our holy huddles. We enjoy our Christian fellowship. We buy our Christian books. We read our Christian magazines and listen to our Christian music. Before you know it, the only people we know are Christians. There is nothing wrong with all these things, but we must remember that the Great Commission is not optional. We are called to love the lost. We are called to share our faith. We are called to go outside the walls of the church. If we fail to do that, we are no better than the self-righteous Pharisees who knew the law but didn’t know the Lord.
When we have SADD in the area of evangelism, we can walk through this lost world and never see a world dying without Christ. We can eat in a restaurant and never have our hearts broken by those who are drowning their sorrows and sins in a shot glass. We can watch the news and be numb to the fact that the people we are seeing are probably lost and headed for a Christ-less hell. We must not forget what God reminded us of just before He ascended into heaven.
A fourth symptom of SADD is in the realm of misplaced priorities. When what we own, what we want and what we have is more important to us than investing in kingdom business, we are experiencing SADD. Christians have become as materialistic as lost people. Millions of believers sit in church every week and think nothing about supporting the church financially. We tip a waitress more than we give to God. We pay the person who washes our car more than we give to God. We get room service when we are in a hotel, but we never think about serving God.
Any true revival results in three things: a return to first love; a renewed heart for the Word, prayer and the lost; and obedience in giving. If you are not on track in these areas, you didn’t have a revival, you had a feeling. A revival changes the environment. A movement of God changes the climate and the culture.