The double-take is a welcome interruption to our glassy-eyed sleep walk through the routine of life. You notice something out of the corner of your eye but it takes a few milliseconds before it registers as unusual enough to stop and focus. Sometimes you’re rewarded by something uproariously funny! Today, though, I have a different kind of seeing on my mind and in my spirit. It is spoken of (and in the context of my thoughts) in the New Testament book of James, “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it–not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it–they will be blessed in what they do.” (James 1:25 NIV). It is the intent look. Let me give you fair warning…I’m really serious today. I’ve been captivated by the Holy Spirit in a new and powerful way (for a number of months now actually)! The offerings of the world are tasteless, like eating sawdust (or rice cakes). But the ways of God are exciting, invigorating, life-giving, and life changing! Along with this heightened awareness of Holy Spirit presence, is a corresponding and ever sharpening consciousness that many Christ-followers are unduly influenced by the patterns of this temporary place (me too!). Remember what we are promised in today’s verse. If we pay attention (intently – a steady gaze, and intent-ionally – on purpose) to the principles in God’s love story (the law), and continue to change the heartbeat of our life to match His (doing it), we are given true freedom and will be blessed! If this is true (it is), then the opposite is also true, that bondage and blight accompany the unexamined, unchanging life. I would expect every professing follower of Jesus to enthusiastically agree. Yet I see consistent violation of this enriching principle in the church, including my own perspective and practices. So this is the place where I usually ask, “What about you?” and leave a blank to fill, but I feel a boldness to name a few things today. It is heartbreaking to see the spiritual formation of our kids (that means time in the life of God) sacrificed to the basketball court & soccer field, choir risers & band chairs. Husbands and wives are distracted from growing their marriages by overwork, the pursuit of stuff and the “social life”. Individuals are pulled into the gravitational fields of enslaving habits with the hollow echo of, “it’s not so bad” in their entertainment choices. Lifestyles and practices that characterized the newly formed, and insanely Spirit-powered church of the New Testament (see Acts 2:44-47) are rendered undoable by all the commitments to all the world offers. It is no wonder we are an anxious, weary, weak people. I, for one, am tired of the empty chase and disappointed in myself at how long it has taken to see what I am seeing. But rather than dwell on the revealed negatives, I’m constantly asking myself if there are any attitudes, actions, or arenas of my life that I am keeping from this James 1:25 comparative, transformational process. I invite you to enter into this continual assessment as well. It is a simple, “Show me, Lord” prayer. I am hungry for the sweeping power and presence of Almighty God in me, in my church, and spilling over to set free my community! What about you?