“And we, who with unveiled faces are beholding (Gk. gaze at and mirror) the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 3:18
The things we say, think, and do, are a direct result of our focus. If we stare all day at TV pundits and fall asleep with ‘breaking news’ as our last mental meal of the day, then our thoughts, both conscious and sub-, easily steer into a deep ravine of fear, despair, and dread. If we target our spouse, children, boss, or co-workers, zeroing in on their shortcomings or ‘failures’, we give way to dissatisfaction or discouragement. Even if we gaze intently on ‘spectacular’ Christian teaching, unless it’s clearly centerend on Jesus and Scriptures, our security may unravel, our faith may shake. Whoever or whatever we focus on becomes a frame of reference, with negative and positive images stamped alternately on our mind, like old film photography.
Lilias Trotter noted this in her meditation, and pointed to the absolute necessity of “beholding” our Lord:
“If every fraction of a second tells in the film in the camera, while ‘unveiled’ it faces the light, must not something of the same unseen work go on upon our spirits in every moment of unveiling before the Lord? When Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he took the veil off. Bare absolute contact with God’s Presence–if our times alone with Him were but that all the time, they would be mighty in their outcome.” 1
We are exhorted to “gaze upon and reflect, as a mirror” with unveiled faces, the image of Jesus.
How do we do that?
We should allow His image to be impressed on us, as an image is reflected onto film–by exposure! Place ourselves before the Lord in prayer and meditation, exposing not only our fears, sorrows, or sins before Him, but our very mind—let Him renew our minds, clothe our thoughts with praise in exchange for heaviness, and adorn us with His beauty for our ashes! When we place ourselves before the Lord and intently seek Him in His Word, HE does the work. His Spirit will begin to transform us into His image, so we will reflect to others, the very likeness of the Lord–and such will truly be mighty in outcome!
In his book, The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer refers to this focus as the“gaze of the soul upon a saving God.” He discusses the need to develop an “inward habit of beholding God. A new set of eyes (so to speak) will develop within us enabling us to be looking at God, while our outward eyes are seeing the scenes of this passing world.” 2
The Scriptures also speak of Beholding God:
“They looked at Him and were radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” Psalm 34:5
“To thee lift I up my eyes, O Thou who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maiden to the hand of her mistress; so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until He shall be gracious to us.” Psalm 123:1-2
[Jesus,] “looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves he gave them to the disciples…” Matt 14:19
We need to ‘fix our eyes on the Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith’, not only to receive hope and mercy, but to allow the Holy Spirit to transform us into His image, that others may see Jesus stamped on us. We are to be a reflection, a photograph, of Jesus to a world without Hope.
Tozer always adds a brief prayer after his writings, and today, I think his prayer can be ours:
“O Lord, I have heard a good word inviting me to look away to You and be satisfied. My heart longs to respond, but sin has clouded my vision till I see You but dimly. Be pleased to cleanse me in Your own precious blood, and make me inwardly pure, so that I may with unveiled eyes gaze upon You all the days of my earthly pilgrimage, Then shall I be prepared to behold You in full splendor in the day when You shall appear to be glorified in Your saints and admired in all them that believe. Amen.” 2
1. Miraim Huffman Rockness, A Blossom in the Desert, Reflections of Faith in the Art and Writings of LIlias Trotter, Grand Rapids: Discovery House, 2007. Page 181.
2. A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, Camp Hill: Christian Publications, 1982. Pages 83-91.