We Become What We Behold
Early in my Christian life I identified what needed to be changed inside me. I prayed that these weak areas would be changed.
And they got worse!
The more I prayed, the worse they seemed to get! For instance, as I prayed for God to take impatience from me, it seemed that my impatience increased. I also realized that as I focused on the faults of others, I began to take on their bad traits. Plus our relationship deteriorated.
Gradually God taught me that we become what we behold.
Instead of praying for what needed change, I identified and prayed for the positive trait God could grow in my life to push out the negative (often relating to the nine-fold fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23). Philippians 4:8 taught me to focus on positive traits in others.
What a change when I learned to focus on what I wanted to become!
Much later I realized the basis. When God created humanity in Genesis 1 and 2, He designed us as worshipers. God’s good design draws us toward whatever we fix the affections of our hearts on. God originally designed us to become more like Him as we beheld Him in awe and worship. As we set our hearts on Jesus, we are changed into His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).
Then the Fall in Genesis 3 fundamentally changed us (compare Genesis 1:26-28 w 5:3, in God’s image vs in Adam’s image). However, God’s built-in design that “we become what we behold” remained intact. It’s just as sure as gravity that we become more like whatever we focus our heart on.
The bottom side of a quilt is a jumble of knots, but what beauty from the top side. Which side do we behold? Add to this: when we come to Christ, the world has already squeezed our minds into its mold and our minds must be transformed (Romans 12:2). The world since the Fall is upside down, and often values what has little true value.
- Jesus taught His followers that the way up is to descend;
- the way to live is to die;
- the way to have is to give;
- we save our lives by losing them.
Jesus turned the world right side up (God’s perspective in Isaiah 55:8-9). No wonder such a crucial aspect of our growth depends on devouring God’s Word so our minds are transformed. Keep this firmly in mind and a number of confusing issues will find a resting spot…but not all.
That’s why I have a “Deuteronomy 29:29 Bucket.”
After wrestling with these paradoxes of Scripture (a paradox appears to be a contradiction, but both are true), I throw them in my “bucket,” waiting for further insight. Because God is the unlimited Creator and we are His created, it makes sense to me that God could not reveal everything to me. When I see what is beyond the ability of my pea-brain to decipher, I worship (Romans 11:33-36)! I’m thrilled.
Do you think of yourself as “broken” or angry or bitter or unkind or “just a sinner saved by grace”?
Then please stop programming these into yourself.
You become what you behold.
If you know Jesus personally, Reality is: you are the beloved child of our caring Father, the servant of the greatest King and the bride of the most amazin’ groom the world has ever known. Set your mind on these things (Colossians 3:1-4) and be changed from one level of Christ-likeness to another (2 Corinthians 3:18). This is truth, Reality, even if some of that bad stuff above is what you still do.
My God is beyond my ability to fully comprehend. If I understood it all, God would be no wiser than me, not big enough to handle my problems. So focus the eyes of your heart on Him and you will be changed into His likeness (Romans 12:1-2).
The above post comes from Reflection #21 in my book, “Foundation Stones,” published on Amazon.com. This is a good gift for a young believer to launch their new life on a healthy foundation, or for us older Christians as a spiritual tune-up.
Other resources, Books by Jim Fredericks.