Becoming What You Behold
by Karin Sasser
I had the good fortune of attending a university that has a premiere basketball team. My husband attended the same school and is one of the biggest college sports fans that I know. So much so that when we were picking a wedding date, we actually took into account what some fondly call March Madness. Now one of the ways I know my husband loves me is that he actually agreed to be married the weekend of our school’s conference tournament. Fortunately for me, it was a very rare season in which our alma mater’s team did not perform well, and they actually lost in the first round of the tournament. Neither my husband nor his groomsmen were tempted to find a TV to watch a game during our reception.
As we head into March this year, March Madness may take on a different meaning for many of us. As a matter of fact, it may even feel like our lives reflect the madness of a nationwide tournament. Think about it – there is much excitement and anticipation that comes with the month-long tournament. There is the noise of the crowds at the games filled with both cheers and jeers. At times, the noise is deafening, and at other times, a defeated quietness sets in. There’s the jubilation of victory but also the despair of defeat. In the same way, we have times of chaos and excitement in our lives. We have people in our lives who cheer us on, but we also have people who tear us down. We find success in some areas of life and feel like we’re flying on cloud nine, but inevitably a crushing loss or failure comes our way. There is often a cacophony of noise all around us that can distract and disorient us. It can be difficult to navigate all of this. Our attention is pulled in a million different directions.
But the Creator of the universe (and of you and me) is calling to us to refocus. The author of Hebrews tells us to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2) Think of Peter when he was walking on water. As soon as he took his eyes off Jesus, he began to sink. He saw the waves and began to doubt. I think there is so much truth to the phrase, “We become what we behold.” When Peter beheld Jesus, he walked in confidence and faith. When he beheld the mighty waves of the sea, he walked (or sank rather) in fear and doubt. The best way to navigate the madness in our lives is to take time to behold Jesus. But what does it mean to “behold?” Here are a few definitions that I think may bring some clarity – to observe, gaze at or upon, regard, contemplate, discern, perceive, consider, and pay attention to. Note that with all of these words, there’s a sense of taking time to do so. You can’t rush contemplation. You can’t pay attention to something in a hurry. It takes time and attention to perceive and discern. In the midst of the madness, we need to take time to behold the wonder, the majesty, the love, the grace, and all of the other incredible attributes of God. When we do this, it puts our life in a better perspective and reminds us of who is in control – a God who loves us and wants what is best for us, and promises never to leave or forsake us.
2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV) tells us, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” As we behold God, He works in us to transform us to become more like Him. This is not only a beautiful promise for us but also for our kids!
I don’t know about you, but often times the goal of my parenting was that I would have well-behaved kids. As I have gotten older (and hopefully wiser), my goal has shifted. My goal now is for my kids to know, love, and follow Jesus. While it is my responsibility to point my kids to Jesus and teach them right from wrong, it is God’s responsibility to work in them to transform them and conform them more and more to His likeness. The more I point them to Jesus and help them behold Him, the more Jesus will work in them to help them become who He has created them to be.
Take note this month of what most captures your mind’s and eye’s attention. Take note of what does the same for your teen. These are the things that are having the most influence in your life and the life of your child. Remember, you become what you behold. Make time and space for both you and your teen to behold the glory of God.