You become what you behold. So what are you beholding? Who are you becoming?
Having recently moved to Nashville, TN, I have been sitting a lot in what it means to behold. In the heart of Music City- a city of people chasing dreams and chasing glory- it is so easy to fall prey and divert your gaze to the shiny things of this world. Fame. Money. Fashion. Success. Affection. We often get sucked into our disordered desires and begin living just like everyone else because it’s “normal.” We stall in our formation or even begin to deform into the devil’s image through spiritual chaos that is fed by fleshly desires. All these things feel good and seem good, but it comes at a cost. With hearts created to behold our Creator, when we avert our eyes from God, we slowly DISTANCE our hearts from abiding in a place of perfect love and move towards a life of diminished purpose, peace, and satisfaction. A world of chains begging for our affections.
And for what? What good is it for man to gain the whole world, yet FORFEIT HIS SOUL?
So I will ask you again: if your soul is weary, what are you beholding?
What captivates your attention? The world, or God?
By definition, BEHOLD means: TO PERCEIVE THROUGH SIGHT OR APPREHENSION. Looking to the first part of what it means to behold for this post - to perceive through sight.
I have been camping in Psalm 119.
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word... I have
stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you...
Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and keep your word.
Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law...
Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at
worthless things; and give me life in your ways.
Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!”
What we fix our eyes on is what we become. What we think about, we become. And if it is
anything but God and who He has named us to be, we again live in a shadow of everything we were created to be. Just as Eve beheld the fruit in the garden, believing she was lacking in goodness and blessing from the Lord by choosing to walk according to His commandments and not her flesh, we face the same temptation that seeks to capture our gaze and hearts. The world beckons us to behold it with an awe that is, by design, meant only for our creator. And it will fall short every time. Beholding anything but God opens the door for the devil to implant deceptive ideas of worth and identity into our minds, and these ideas can take hold and give birth to lies that lead us down paths of destruction and distorted thinking--- paths of death, not paths of life.
Unlike the weariness our souls experience by chasing fleshly desires, life is found in the ways of the Lord. We experience the fullness of life by inclining our HEARTS to the ways of the Lord, not the world, and turning our EYES from looking at the worthless things of this earth, to behold the surpassing value of knowing God and seeing His plans come to pass. It’s funny because we often think that by giving up our fleshly desires, we won’t fully live anymore and enjoy life. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. As Paul says in Philippians, “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ...”
So how do we behold God and not the world?
We guard what we feed to our HEARTS and our EYES: we defend against ideas that give birth to deceptive desirers in our hearts by knowing the truth about who we are and whose we are, renewing our minds in scripture each morning; and we defend against images, items, and media that capture the attention of our eyes by monitoring what we feed to them.
John Mark Comer says in his book, “Live No Lies,” it is our responsibility to turn our attention to God all through our days and weeks. To think of Him. To think deeply of Him. And rightly of Him, in line with Jesus’s vision of God as the trinitarian community of self-giving, creativity, generous, calm, loving, joy, and delight. To let Jesus’s incredibly compelling vision of who God is, give shape to who we become.
Break free from the bondage of the world, for satisfaction will never be found in the flesh.
The stakes are high here. “The mind governed by the flesh is DEATH, but the mind governed by the Spirit is LIFE and PEACE.”
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now
hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
BECOME A MORE COMPLETE IMAGE OF HIM.