As a kid, my grandparents would take us to downtown Columbus to peer into the Lazarus windows. The song Silver Bells still takes me back to those days.
It's been a long time since I've strolled a sidewalk, gazing into windows, being awed by what was on display. Even longer since I've been in awe over something without ultimately wanting it for myself.
That's the design of window shopping, to stir desire for the merchandise. When you go to an online store, the merchandise is displayed and coupled to make you want to buy something. More than "something."
It's said we become what we behold. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3, "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit."
As we behold the Lord, we are changed. Transformed! Into His likeness.
But how do we choose what to behold? I mean, how does a person behold Jesus long enough to be changed.
We only behold what we desire. And what we desire is what we become. As I've studied Jesus, His life, His beauty, His love, His willing obedience to the Father for mankind's redemption, I've become fascinated. As I've become fascinated, I've developed a desire to behold Him. As I've beheld Him, I've change. Emotionally. Spiritually.
What do you desire? What do you spend your days gazing upon? The news? Is it a wonder you desire drama and negativity in your life?
Do you read stories of illness, death, destruction? Are you fascinated with it? Are you desiring it more and more? Worrying more and more? Is it effecting your heart and mind? Your emotions?
I spend a lot of time on social media. I can feel myself starting to desire it. I have to check email or Twitter in the middle of the grocery store! It's crazy. But I have to change, go deeper, behold more of Jesus so my desire for the external pleasure of this world no longer have a fascinating grip on me.
Men who get caught in pornography start with a fascination.
Fascination. Desire. Beholding. And suddenly, the person is changed.
You can be changed one of two ways of gazing -- at glory or at sin. If you are fascinated with sin, you'll begin to desire it. Then you'll behold it. And your emotional and possibly mental chemistry will be altered.
Fascination doesn't have to be deep dark sin, either. Worry is a sin. Fear is a sin. Lust, gluttony, greed, lying, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, all sorts of coveting, stealing...
Gazing at the negative aspects of your life can have a strong impact, too. Do you agree with the negative emotion nothing in your life is good or ever will be? Pretty soon, you'll start to desire it. Believe it or not...
Right after I moved to central Florida after college, I was hit with this draining despair that I'd live in that shared house, sleep in that second hand bed, work at that stupid job the rest of my life. I'd wake up in the middle of the night feeling like I had no future.
I refused to agree with it and finally kicked it out of my life using Jeremiah 29:11. Man, call me a Jesus Freak, but if being a Jesus Freak means I get to tell fear, anxiety and despair where to go and to never haunt me again, buy me the t-shirt, I'll wear it! Jesus Freak. Wouldn't trade His power and authority for what the world has to offer.
So how did I overcome? I gazed on Jesus. How can you overcome? By changing your gaze.
First, become fascinated with Jesus. Just who is this God-Man who brought redemption to the human race? Go beyond salvation and look into redemption. Who is this redeemer King who calls you "beloved" and "friend?"
Second, as you become fascinated, you'll begin to desire Him. You'll want to know more about Him. You'll find yourself discovering aspects of His character in the Word and through prayer you never noticed before.
You'll begin to desire different things in life. I don't desire things I used to because I've changed my fascination.
We can't do this life alone. We need Jesus because only He saves, heals and rescues. Only HE is the righteous judge. Do you need justice in your life? Behold Jesus.
What we desire, we behold. And what we behold changes us. Hebrews 12:1-2
"... let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."