It’s common for our brains to latch on to the most noticeable characteristics in all that we encounter each day. It’s a process where we drop off the minor details in order to attain as much of what’s essential or what seems essential. This process can be harmful if dealing with manipulated circumstances or manipulating people. Those seemingly “small” details that we push aside contain subtleties and many times they give away more than what’s intentionally being expressed. Common subtleties we can pick up on in conversation are things like tone of voice or the irrelevant verbiage. The list could go on. The irony is that most will overlook the subtleties as irrelevant details but detectives and lawyers make careers out of dealing with subtleties. How exactly would being aware of subtleties benefit you and how does that look in actual life?
This is not a call for paranoia which is the perversion of being aware of subtleties but a call not to dismiss them altogether. For starters, you’re far less likely to be blindsided by things that are harmful to you or others or people who intend to harm you or others (not necessarily physically). We live in a fallen world with an enemy who has outwitted even the wisest of men and women for centuries. The misconception that positivity should be constant just isn’t realistic but we can be prepared for any negativity with a solid faith in Jesus and the tools His word provides to us. In the gospel of Matthew, chapter ten Jesus said:
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” -Matthew 10:16
Be on your guard (emphasis mine); you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account, you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses (emphasis mine) to them and to the Gentiles…” You see, watching for subtleties not only can potentially protect us but also make us aware of the windows of opportunities the Holy Spirit presents for us to witness to a dying world.
During my short stint in the military, my sergeants constantly emphasized (by yelling in our faces) “attention to detail!” In warfare, a lack of awareness of even the smallest details can prove to be fatal for not only you but also those who depend on you. Consider the fact that every second of the day there is an enemy actively seeking to destroy you by any means. Spiritually the Christian is constantly in a war zone even from within as we fight off the carnality of our flesh. I pray we strive to constantly be aware of what’s going on around us and that we constantly scan everything we’re exposed to from the old and new to the common and uncommon. May the wisdom and discernment of the Holy Spirit flourish in the lives of every believer!
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-to the glory and praise of God.” –Philippians 1:9-11