Mar
30

The Grace to See — Devotional

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There’s lots of ways to say it.

What we behold is what we become.
As a man thinks, so is he. Our focus becomes our future….and so forth.

These are true statements. So….what do we see? Look at what your looking at and get a glimpse of where you’re going.

I find this to be true in the positive and the negative. Our eye gate is an entry point that allows outward realities into our minds. Job said, "I have made a covenant with my eyes not to look upon a young woman." Job realized he needed to have an inner commitment in his mind and heart in order to overcome the temptations presented to him through his eyes.

In a sense we have an internal "eye gate" as well. This enables us to use our imagination for good or evil. We "see" internally. We are able to see something that does not exist and then bring it into existence. Songwriters, architects, musicians, artists, builders, sculptors, and five year olds with boxes of crayons all prove this is true.

Certain spiritual gifts enable us to see and to know information from the realm of the spirit. And on rare occasions, our outward eyes may even be allowed to see spiritual realities. Remember when Elijah prayed for his servants eyes to be opened to see. He saw the mountains filled with angelic warriors.

So seeing is a part of our lives in more ways than one. What do you see?

The war is often over what we see? Jesus said if our eye is filled with evil our whole body is filled with darkness. What do you see?

Remember the three disciples with Jesus at the transfiguration? This was the occasion that Jesus was lifted up and the glory of God began radiating from him. Then Moses and Elijah appeared beside him. This was a little more than your typical Sunday morning church service. The disciples were able to see this and it tripped their breakers. But what did they really see?

Obvious answers–Moses, Elijah, Jesus, God’s glory. Yes, yes yes…they did see those things, but what did they SEE. Sorry to sound confusing.

When this happened they all hit the dirt. Right response and it did not require thinking. But immediately Peter started thinking of a plan to personally capitalize on the situation. Let’s build three booths! We may think that this was good thinking. How noble to want to stay in the presence of God’s glory at the intersection where the past-present-future all converge.

Peter knew he was laying prostrate in a holy place. It was natural to want to stay. In was in his DNA. His forefathers had camped under the glory cloud for years. Yet–a word was released from heaven. This is my beloved son–listen to him. Then it happened, THEY SAW JESUS ONLY.

Not a personal opportunity to live in the glory.
Not a transcendent escape from the realities of life.
Not a place that is so smug and blessed that we forget about all the hurts and pains of those at the foot of the mountain who have not yet seen God’s glory reflected in the beauty of His Son.

THEY SAW JESUS ONLY! In the midst of the manifestation God redirected their attention to His Son.

This is the temptation. To be given opportunity to experience a deeper revelation of God through His Son Jesus and want to somehow convert it to something that will perpetually benefit us personally. What if Jesus had taken on such an attitude? Think of it…. He would not have chosen the cross for our benefit.

Such self-centered thinking can seduce us into thinking that the kingdom is about the next spiritual fix, or high, or experience. We can become blinded to the fact that we have taken what was a manifestation of God’s glory and converted into an opportunity for us to build a booth and soak on the mountain top.

The transfiguration was a huge experience.
It was a real experience.
It was a valid experience.
God chose to reveal Himself to those three guys in a remarkable way.
They were changed by what they saw. Peter was still writing about 20 years later.

It was an experience with a purpose, not a movement within itself.

What was the purpose?
What did God say? "
This is my beloved Son–Listen to Him!"
Then they saw Jesus only.

Everything else vanished. The outward manifestation of glory. The unveiling of their eyes. The presence of Moses and Elijah. The end result was that they saw God attest to the identity and purpose of His Son. He had Moses and Elijah to discuss with him his mission that lay ahead. The disciples had an awesome experience but Father God determined that they would come out of it with a deeper revelation of His Son and a greater desire to hear what Jesus said about things.

They had been taught to listen to Moses and Elijah–the law and the prophets. As much respect as they had for these men, they had to shift and put their focus on Jesus and what He said. What do you see? Or "Who: do you see?

We become what we behold. Since God’s purpose is for us to become like Jesus, we need to make sure He alone is who we are beholding.

Is there a Moses in your eye gate?
Is there an Elijah in your eye gate?
Is there some great spiritual experience that has become your focus?
Is there a movement that has shifted your vision from Jesus to your pursuit of Boothville Church?

It is hard to walk with Jesus down into the valley where the hurting are waiting, if the desire of our heart is to live in our man made booths on a mountain top where there once was a great manifestation of God.

If Peter and his buddies had followed through on their initial plan, they would have found themselves on a mountain top deserted by Jesus who had gone back to the place of the hurting. I am sure they could have lived on the memory of what was for a while. But eventually they would have had to become so desperate that they started seeking Jesus outside their booths or they would have to continue to try to recreate their previous experience. However, the transfiguration did not come about as a result of their planning or even their praying. It was something God did that startled them out of their sandals. Yes it marked them, but thank God they allowed it to change them and they took the experience and hid it in their hearts as they went back down the mountain with Jesus to join the battle of every day reality.

The first reality they discovered was that even though they had been soaking all night in the glory of God they still did not have the faith to cast out a devil in a little boy. No matter what we experience, we all still have a whole lot to learn. The key is to keep our eyes on our teacher–Jesus. God help me and God help us to see Jesus only!

If we choose the mountaintop of yesterday, we may become so confused and desperate that we invent transfiguration type experiences or so bored we use our imagination to come up with something to excite us. How sad because walking with Jesus is the most exciting adventure possible. But it does require we keep our eyes on HIM and listen to HIM and follow HIM.

Of course the adventure is not always easy. The disciples found this out later. They had a difficult time following him when he headed to the cross. It was a mountain top experience of another fashion. Yet very much in the middle of God’s plan and purpose. We all seem to resist going to this mountain. It is hard to even see it as a place of glory and worship. our natural senses are repelled by it. The goosebumps are gone and depression and fear come.

The disciples ran. Yeah they wanted booths again, not to worship in, but to hid in. When it was happening it made no sense. It did not clear up for them until they saw Jesus again. This is our lesson for today. In every thing we go through, look for the face of the resurrected Christ–our Lord Jesus. We are not seeing clearly until we see Him only.

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