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Posts Tagged ‘what we behold’

19th century poet, William Blake observed that, “we become what we behold”, and while that is not a direct quote from scripture, I would argue that the biblical text certainly supports that conclusion.  Throughout the scriptures there are numerous references to our “eyes”, both what we behold (i.e. fix them on), and the lens through which we view things.  New Testament believers are exhorted to fix their eyes on Jesus (Heb.12:2), to stay focused on the eternal (i.e. unseen) things (2Cor.4:18), and to meditate on what is true, and noble, and lovely, and …(Phil.4:8). 

As Paul prays for the believers in Ephesus, he links the condition of their eyes and their hearts, praying that the Lord would open the eyes of their heart (i.e. understanding) to the riches of God’s Kingdom, calling, glory… (Eph.1:18).  The Psalmist prayed similarly, “Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!  Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways (Psa.119:36-37)”, and in Proverbs we hear the Father’s exhortation, “Give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways (Pro.23:26).”

The converse of these exhortations are warnings like, bad company corrupts good character (1Cor.15:33), and that if your eye causes you to fall, it is better that you gouge it out (Matt.18:9, Mark 9:47).  To some degree, the sin of covetous is rooted in fixing our gaze on things that God hasn’t ordained for us, and allowing them to penetrate our hearts.  In such instances, our vision becomes tainted, and our ability to discern truth becomes impaired.  The Psalmist repeatedly mentions “haughty eyes” (Ps.18, 101, 131), while Peter speaks of “eyes full of adultery (2Pet.2:14)”.

Undoubtedly, the most substantial scriptural tie to the idea that what we behold, we become, is found in 2Cor.3:18, which says, “But we all, with unveiled faces, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

In light of these truths, an honest evaluation of what we have fixed our eyes upon would seem to be a prudent step.  Jesus warned, “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matt.6:22-23)”

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