off the Christmas season, the New Year is both exciting and melancholy.
Exciting for what lies ahead. Melancholy because another year has faded
into our memories and is now tucked away in the halls of history.
One of the joys of Christmas for
me is the beauty: the lights, the tree and the music, the general
goodwill and good cheer. A week before Christmas, my husband and I
attended a surprise party for a friend in our quaint, downtown area. On
our way home, we cruised the main thoroughfare, looking at the street
decorations, lights, and festivities behind the store windows. Very
As a kid, my grandparents would
take us to downtown Columbus to peer into the Lazarus windows. “Silver
Bells” still takes me back to those days.
It’s been a long time since I’ve
strolled a sidewalk, gazing into windows, being awed by the displays.
Even longer since I’ve been in awe over something without ultimately
wanting it for myself.
That’s the design of window
shopping, to stir desire for the merchandise. When you go to an online
store, the merchandise is displayed and coupled to make you want to buy
something. More than “something.”
It’s said we become what we
behold. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled
face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being
transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the
Lord, the Spirit” (NASB).
As we behold the Lord, we are
changed. Transformed! Into His likeness.
But how do we choose what to
behold? I mean, how does a person behold Jesus long enough to be
Ah . . . by what we desire.
We behold only what we desire.
What we desire becomes a fascination. A fascination grows to beholding,
beholding to changing.
As I’ve studied Jesus, His life,
His beauty, His love, His willing obedience to the Father for mankind’s
redemption, I’ve become fascinated. As I’ve become fascinated, I’ve
developed a desire to behold Him. As I’ve beheld Him, I’ve changed.
Emotionally. Mentally. Spiritually.
What do you desire? What do you
spend your days gazing upon? Gossip? Negativity? The news? Is it a
wonder you desire drama and negativity in your life?
Do you read stories of illness,
death, destruction? Are you fascinated with it? Are you desiring it
more and more? Are you worrying more and more? Is it affecting your
heart and mind? Your emotions?
I spend a lot of time on social
media. I can feel myself starting to desire it. I have to check e-mail
or Twitter in the middle of the grocery store! It’s crazy. But I have
to change, go deeper, behold more of Jesus so my desire for the
external pleasures of this world no longer has a fascinating grip on
Men who get caught in
pornography start with a fascination.
Fascination. Desire. Beholding.
And suddenly, the person is changed.
Change happens in one of two
ways: gazing at glory, or gazing at sin. If you are fascinated with
sin, you’ll begin to desire it. Then you’ll behold it. And your
emotional and possibly mental chemistry will be altered.
Fascination doesn’t have to be
deep dark sin. Worry is a sin. Fear is a sin. Lust, gluttony, greed,
lying, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, gossip, all sorts of
coveting, stealing . . .
Wait, don’t take my word for it,
listen to what Paul wrote to the Romans:
just as they did not see fit
to acknowledge God (stopped gazing) any longer, God gave them over to a
depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled
with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy,
murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are
slanderers, haters of
God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to
without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;
and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice
such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also
give hearty approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:28–32 NASB)
Listen to what Paul tells the Corinthians. Straight up...
Or do you not know that the unrighteous
will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither
fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor
homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor
revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. (1
Gazing at ourselves, at the
world, at the creation rather than the Creator impacts us to the point
of desiring unrighteousness, the ungodly.
I moved to Florida after
college. About six months into my new corporate career, I was hit with
a draining despair that I’d live in that same shared house, sleep in
that same secondhand bed, work at that same stupid job the rest of my
life. I’d wake up in the middle of the night panicked and hopeless,
feeling like I had no future.
But I refused to agree with this
negative emotion and kicked it out of my life using Jeremiah 29:11. I
also made a commitment to gaze on Jesus and do what He needed me to do
because I knew I’d not be happy unless I was in fellowship with His
heart and His will.
me a Jesus Freak, but if being a Jesus Freak means I get to tell fear,
anxiety, and despair where to go and never to haunt me again, buy me
the T-shirt, I’ll wear it! Jesus Freak. Wouldn’t trade His power and
authority for what the world has to offer.
So how did I overcome anxiety,
dread, and fear? I gazed on Jesus. How can you overcome?
By gazing at Jesus.
Consider this: Who is this
God-Man who brought redemption to the human race? Go beyond salvation
and look into redemption. Look into Bridegroom love. Who is this
redeemer King who calls you “beloved” and “friend” ?
You’ll become fascinated. You’ll
desire Him. You’ll want to know more about Him. You’ll find yourself
discovering aspects of His character in the Word and through prayer you
never noticed before.
You’ll begin to desire different
things in life. I don’t desire things I used to because I’ve changed my
We can’t do this life alone. We
need Jesus because only He saves, heals, and rescues. Only HE is the
righteous Judge. Do you need justice in your life? Behold Jesus.
What we desire, we behold. And
what we behold changes us.
As we face a beautiful new year,
one with all kinds of possibilities and potential, gaze on Jesus,
author and perfecter! “Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the
sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the
race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the
author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him
endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right
hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1–2 NASB, emphasis mine).
HAPPY NEW YEAR!