May 4, 2016
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
In the world of Christian discipleship, so much emphasis is put on developing the proper balance between “being” and “doing.” Armchair monks are ever ready to pounce with the saying, “After all, we aren’t Human Doings. We are Human Beings!” It sounds right, but I think it’s wrong. The abstraction is just not helpful. I really don’t think the two can be separated. The biggest issue for Christian discipleship is not activity or inactivity. It’s attention or distraction.
If we can learn anything about discipleship from the world of marketing and advertising it is this: The most valuable asset we possess is our attention. Whoever or whatever has my attention has me. That’s what everyone competes for– our attention.
It’s why the scriptures instruct us to do things like casting off the entanglements and encumbrances of sin and running the race marked out for us, “keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2). Paul urges us in Romans 12 “in view of God’s mercy, to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. . .” He tells the Corinthians that as we, with unveiled faces, behold the glory of the Lord we are transformed into his likeness from one degree of glory to the next.
Beholding means attention raised to the level of adoration. Wesley nails it with this word.
While you seek God in all things you shall find him in all, the fountain of all holiness, continually filling you with his own likeness, with justice, mercy, and truth. While you look unto Jesus and him alone you shall be filled with the mind that was in him. Your soul shall be renewed day by day after the image of him that created it. p.162 (THIRTEEN DISCOURSES ON THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT)
The core dynamic of Christian discipleship is not being and doing. It’s beholding and becoming. We become what we behold. Behold food–Become fat. Behold porn–Become a pervert. Behold your iPhone–Become a social idiot.
Behold holiness–Become holy. Behold beauty–Become beautiful. Behold love–Become loving. Behold mercy–Become merciful. Behold generosity–Become generous. Behold Jesus–Become like Jesus.
1. Do you find the abstract dichotomy of “being vs. doing” helpful? Doesn’t “being” require some sort of “doing” anyway?
2. How about the continuum of attention and distraction? Do you find yourself a more attentive person or a more distracted one?
3. Your eyes are a lamp for the body, Jesus says. What would it mean for you to begin stretching and strengthening your attention, like a muscle, to focus on Jesus?
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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.