“You become like what you behold.” I think it was John Piper who said that. Behold means to “see, observe, view, look at, watch, witness, gaze upon, contemplate, inspect, eye.” This ability to behold is a beautiful thing. It has been said that the eyes are the windows into the soul. I think that is why we tend to hang our heads when we are ashamed. We are afraid of what our eyes will reveal about our souls. Jesus said that “the eye is the lamp of the body.” He explained that whatever we take in through our eyes is what will fill us, either with light, or darkness. What we behold is a very serious thing. It will determine who we become. My husband and I watched a news story last night that was deeply disturbing, which is what prompted this post. There was a young man, raised in a good home, with good parents who ended up murdering a female friend of his. He had nothing against the girl he killed. He just wanted to try killing someone. He had spent so much of his time playing violent, murderous video games that he ended up becoming obsessed with murder. He began researching serial killers and viewing murder themed pornography. He became what he beheld. He is in prison for life now. His life is essentially over. His friend’s life is over. He beheld darkness and he became like the very darkness that he was beholding. We underestimate the transforming power that “beholding” has on our lives. It changes us. Therefore, the big question is, what are we beholding? Is it bringing light into us, or darkness? Psalm 119:37 says, “Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through Your Word.” It is not only the evil that we have to tear our eyes away from . It is the worthless. Does what I am beholding add value to my life? Does it add value to the lives of others? Does it grow my heart in love for God? Does it create a hunger for God and His Word? Does it make my heart dull and easily satisfied with trivial nothingness? Does it make me crave more empty, endless mind numbing pursuits that steal my time and my very life away? I read Revelation 4 this morning. I have been stuck there for a week now. I can’t get past it. It is John’s vision of heaven. It moves my heart because it feels like home. To a missionary kid, that is a very uniquely precious thing. It is where we are going. I will see this with my eyes someday. I have friends and relatives that are seeing this now. It is a sacred thing to think about. We are looking into the window of heaven. And this is what we see… The first thing we behold is a throne. It is the center. On the throne is God. He is dazzling and brilliant and there are colors that look like precious gems, and John cannot find the words to express what he is seeing. Not just that he can’t find them, but there are not human words adequate to describe what he is seeing. He is literally indescribable. John not only sees the throne and the One seated on it, but he hears and feels what he is seeing. He feels peals of thunder. He sees flashes of lightening coming from the throne. He is in the presence of the desperately beautiful, terrifying glory of God. He sees 24 elders on thrones all around the center throne. These elders are in white robes and are wearing crowns…the highest kings. He sees seven burning torches before the throne. He sees a sea of glass that looks like crystal as the flooring in front of the throne. On four sides of the throne there are creatures. Each one has a different look. They all have six wings that are covered with eyes. I used to think this would be so scary and strange looking, but I changed my mind after seeing a crazy-beautiful butterfly at the park with my girls. His wings were covered with what looked like eyes, and he was a little masterpiece of creation. These creatures hover around the throne of God day and night and never stop saying, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.” And every time they glorify the Eternal One who is on the throne, the 24 elders get off their thrones and fall down at the feet of the Holy One. They lay their golden crowns before Him. And they worship Him. Forever. These creatures, who have a perfect view of God with their many eyes, and these elders who sit on the front row of heaven cannot stop worshipping Him.
When we stop worshipping, when our hearts are pulled away by what is worthless, it is not because He has stopped being worthy or Holy. It is because we have stopped seeing Him rightly. We have stopped beholding Him. To see Him is to worship Him. It is the only fitting response. We were made for that. King David, with his burning heart after God, sums it up perfectly. “One thing have I asked of the Lord that I will seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.” Ps. 27:4 When see Him rightly, we will keep coming back for more. We will become more and more like what we behold. When we truly fix our eyes on Him, we will be conformed to His image more and more until the day that we too get to stand on that sea of crystal glass, with a multitude from every tribe tongue and nation, and forever, with our spiritual family, gaze at the glory of the King who gave everything to redeem us. It sounds like heaven to me.