One of the most powerful principles to understand about spiritual warfare is:
“We become what we behold”
That statement is a biblical paraphrase of 2 Corinthians 3:18
2 Corinthians 3:18 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 by the Spirit of the Lord.
Spiritually speaking, we are all creatures of clay, molded by what most attracts our gaze. What we behold shapes us, for better or for worse. This principle carries massive implications living in a media age, driven by entertainment that has no filter, and no accountability. Our ability to behold the most ungodly things of this world is literally right at our finger tips through our cell phones and computers.
Luke 11:34-37 The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. 35 Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. 36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.”
The eye is the lamp of the body. The light of God comes into our hearts by what we behold, and what we give our attention to. Darkness comes in the same way.
When we live a lifestyle of beholding both light and darkness, we become double minded, unstable, and filled with doubt. (James 1:6-8 )
Understand that all selfish, lustful desires come from our fallen man. Self is the only arena Satan can gain access to our lives. He entices us with the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and selfish pride. These are the worldly attributes of his nature. They are anti-Christ, and he understands them well.
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
Man was created in the image of God, (Genesis 1:27) however, after the fall of Adam we are all born with a fallen nature. The enemy attacks us through the weakness of our fallen nature, tricking us into doing his bidding. As we unwittingly behold every vile thing that he has produced and every destructive image he has created, he scoffs at us as we are shaped into his image. It is the same trick he used on Eve in the garden. It is his greatest and most successful deception.
James 1:13-15 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Satan is relentless in his attempts to draw us into temptation, enticing us to violate our conscience with sin. We cannot let our guard down for a moment. His desire is to defile us and compromise our relationship with the Father by making us feel condemned and unworthy, tricking us into unbelief.
Christ has redeemed man to restore relationship with the Father and restore God’s image in man. This wonderful salvation came at a terrible price that freed us from the power of Satan, the god of this world. (2 Corinthians 4:4)
Although our salvation was purchased and paid in full by the blood of the Lamb, we must walk it out in the wilderness of a fallen world. If we give ourselves completely over to Christ we can quickly enter the promised land of the kingdom of God. If we refuse to completely submit to God. we allow the enemy to continue in His deceit, suppressing the Spirit of God in us and keeping us wandering in the wilderness.
Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
We get entangled and yoked to the enemy by beholding the wrong things and allowing him to shape us instead of the word of God and the glory of God.
Galatians 5: 16-17 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
We all have flesh, and we all must die to it every day. It is the way of a spiritual warrior. It is the way back to the Father. It is Christ’s way.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Keeping our eyes and our attention on the Lord must be priority. Beholding Him through worship, prayer, reading scripture, and quiet meditation on Him and His word are all essential for denying self and being transformed into His image.
Psalm 16:8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
The closer our relationship with the Lord, the more capable and confident we are during trials and difficulties in our life. It enables us to see a bigger picture and empowers us spiritually to operate above of what is naturally expected. We bounce back from pain and tragedy faster. We become quicker to love and slower to anger. We are not easily shaken by the storms that life throws at us.
Why? Because we cannot behold Him and come away unchanged. It is impossible to behold the living God and remain the same. Beholding Him will cause us to step into our identity as sons and daughters of God while at the same time, dying to our old nature.
The opposite is also true. We cannot continue to behold the world and come away unchanged. It is impossible to behold evil and remain the same. We become what we behold.
1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
If we become friends with the world, we make ourselves the enemies of God. This scripture is warning us that the love of God in our heart becomes compromised if we continue to crave the ungodly things of this world.
We must stop beholding the world and all of its foolishness!
Why would we want to be entertained by the unbelieving world so much? Why are we so hooked on television, video games, and movies filled with the world and its ungodly practices? Why do we crave music filled with things we know are offensive to God? Might there not be some insight here as to why we live in weakness and failure and succumb to the temptations of our flesh?
Don’t be deceived into thinking “I’m not the least bit affected when I watch or listen, I can handle it.” We become what we behold. It is a spiritual law that we cannot escape.
Let us take an honest look at our lives. How much time do we spend seeking His face? How much time do we spend beholding the world? More importantly, do we really want to change?
How do we change? Behold the glory of God and guard our hearts from beholding the world.
I will leave you with these three scriptures to ponder:
James 1:23-25 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
John 17:16-19 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
Matthew 6:22-23 The lamp of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
“The focus of our attention shapes the object of our affection. We become what we behold.”
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