At the end of February, I went to a songwriters retreat where I met amazing, talented people from across the country. Most of us had never met before, but we came together and instantly became family — that’s what can happen when the body of Christ comes together! We came with open hearts and spirits desiring for God to speak to us and through us, and He did.
During the retreat, we were divided into eight groups to brainstorm and write a song together, and at the end of each day, we did a song share with the whole group. The ones on the last night blew me away. Each song was incredible, but what was even more amazing was to see how God led each group to write one around the theme of beholding.
Since that time, the theme of beholding Jesus has continued. I have listened to sermons, podcasts, and songs that keep mentioning the idea of beholding. Then recently, I received a newsletter containing a graphic that said, We become what we behold. I had heard that quote many times before, but the Lord seems to be breathing fresh life on it during this season.
I think this is a word for the Church today. The enemy would love nothing more than to distract us with temporary things — appearance, reputation, popularity, success, comfort, having it all together, being perfect, or sin and being weighed down by it. But those things will only leave us empty and wanting to fill that emptiness with things that won’t satisfy.
As I’ve been meditating on His Word, the Lord has been sweetly reminding me that I get a better view of His nature when I behold Him.
First, in Hebrews 12:1-2, it says,
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
This passage is God’s reminder that we are not alone. With everything that we’ve had to endure this past year, there has been a lot of anger and hopelessness in the world. The weight of it all has been overwhelming, but we don’t need to carry it all by ourselves. Jesus came to set us free from it by actually exchanging our heavy burdens with His light ones (Matthew 11:28-30). When we look to Him to help us run with endurance, He delights to do so. He bore the weight of our sin and the darkness of the world on the cross to bring us lasting freedom. When we behold Him, He gives us the grace to lay aside the weight we carry and live in the fullness of His joy.
Second, Psalm 141:8 says,
But my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord;
in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless.
When we behold Him, He reminds us that He is our refuge and safe place. He protects us from the enemy, from others who wish to harm us, and He even protects us from ourselves when we need it. When our eyes are fixed on Christ, we won’t be so distracted with everything going on around us. We don’t have to build up walls or hide or come up with a clever defense. He runs to our rescue with love, grace, compassion and kindness. He is our defender and shield. He is our strong tower.
Last, in Psalm 16:8, it says,
I have set the Lord always before me;
because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
I can think of many times throughout my life when I thought people, positions, or the “right” circumstances would sustain me. I thought they would motivate me or fill me or tell me who I am. But they didn’t, and they can’t; they were never designed to. Only God holds that power. He created us in His image, and our identity lies solely in Him. When we behold Him, we’re reminded that He is our firm foundation. His truth about us and His promises for us are sure. When we look to Him and put our hope in Him, we cannot be shaken.
Setting our gaze on the One who sets His gaze on us isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it. The Lord never leaves us unsettled. He never runs away from us. He stands at the ready with arms wide open and pursues us with His freedom, protection, and faithfulness.