Who Are We Beholding?
I’ve felt a little out of sync with God lately, and thus out of sorts with life. Call it sin, call it the devil, call it that nasty religious spirit again, whatever; I’ve been acutely aware of every flaw, every shortcoming in and about me.
I wish I could say I’m a rooky at this. But I’ve danced this dance before, and not at the Lord’s leading. As metal detectors discover hidden treasures in the sand, introspection—okay, naval-gazing if you must—discovers junk in one’s heart.
In an attempt to fend off the noxious condemnation that accompanies said preoccupation with self, I dug through layers of refuse. I examined. I repented. I repented some more. With no sense of release, no relief, no reaching my desired goal of pureness of heart before God.
In contrast, Holy Spirit conviction is precise. It brings repentance, which in turn brings release, which in turn refreshes. I know that; you know that. But walking it out requires attentive handling . . . and an occasional mishandling. We’re to judge ourselves lest we be judged. We’re to keep our hearts with all diligence. But best intentions can lead to excessive self-examination. And that journey takes us downhill all the way. [i]
Thankfully, if our hearts end up condemning us, God is greater than our hearts. [ii]
It all boils down to there being a problem with what we are beholding. If our eyes search for junk in us, condemnation makes sure we find plenty of it. If we search for the treasure, God will make sure we find Him.
Behold what manner of love the Father has given to us—see, discern, attend, experience that incredible and marvelous quality of love God willingly and enduringly lavishes on us—that we should [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God . . . [iii]
Condemnation sees junk. Love sees beloved children of God. Beloved, we are [even here and] now God’s children. Condemnation sees today’s flaws, weaknesses, shortcomings. Love sees what we already are in Him.
But because it is not yet disclosed (made clear) what we shall be, we at times are tempted to live “in doubt about the construction”. [iv] We impatiently look for full-bloom perfection in what, at present, is a mere sprout of Himself. We expect The Flower of The Year Award now, when Christ’s glory in us is still budding. But “the bud foretells the flower . . .” and “all that is in the germ shall be fully matured” [v]
We may be seeing through a glass dimly today, but as we with open face behold the glory of God, we can’t help but be changed from glory to glory. Over time and in due time when Christ appears, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is. [vi]
Are we looking within? Or looking at Him? It’s all in who we are beholding.
[i] Lamentations 3:40; 1 Corinthians 11:28–31; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 6:4; Proverbs 4:23 [ii] 1 John 3:20 [iii] 1 John 3:1–2 BSB, MSG, AMP [iv] Pulpit Commentary [v] Author unknown [vi] 1 Corinthians 13:12; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 John 3:2