Think of a woman putting on her makeup while looking in a mirror. She is not glancing at the mirror by looking about the room. She is not looking at the mirror out of the corner of her eye. She is focusing her gaze on her reflection in the mirror. Focusing on the mirror allows her to be transformed.
The writer of Hebrews said we are to be, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)
The word “look” in this verse means to gaze. The NIV has it, “fixing our eyes.” It has the connotation of looking away from other things. That is the challenge. We must let go of to lay hold and we must look away from to look unto.
Of course, we can’t look at the physical presence of Jesus. What we can do is look at Him reflected in His Word. Here are some practices that will help us to behold Him.
- Bible reading. Start your day with your Bible on your lap. No other practice is more basic to Christian living than this. You don’t have to read for a long time. The Navigators produced a booklet years ago called Seven Minutes with God. The idea was not to limit your time with God to seven minutes; the point was to emphasize that this is doable. You can do this. You can carve out seven minutes with God. Once you get started, you may not want to stop.
- Scripture memory. Nothing will drive steel into your bones, spiritually speaking, like memorizing God’s word.
- Meditation. I love what John Ortberg says, “If you can worry, you can meditate.” To meditate is to ponder, to think about, to bombard with questions. Incredible promises are given to those who meditate on the Word: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.” Psalm 1:1–3 (NKJV) Would you like to prosper in all that you do? Meditate on God’s Word.
- Group study. I attend a Sunday School class every week to study the Word of God with a small group. The latest research confirms what I have always believed: good things happen in small group Bible studies. “Individuals who regularly attend small groups are consistently making more progress in their spiritual development than those who are not. This is especially true in building relationships within their church. They are more likely to take on responsibilities within their church (63%) including leadership functions. They read (67% at least a few times a week) and study (42% at least a few times a week) the Bible more and have a more consistent prayer life. They are more actively inviting others to church and sharing their faith.” As Andy Stanley says, “Change takes place in circles; not rows.”
- Personal Bible Study. There are basically two types of Bible study. We either start with the Bible and ask how it applies to life, or we start with life and ask what the Bible has to say about a particular aspect of life. In either case, Bible study is about connecting the Bible to life.
The Bible shows us who God is. The Bible shows us what God is like. The Bible teaches how to live our everyday lives. The Bible teaches us how to have a daily relationship with God. It is through the Bible that we behold Him.