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By Beholding We Become Changed

By Beholding We Become Changed

Carla Baker, recently retired Director of the North American Division Women’s Ministries Department

(And we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 1:14

I’m not a graceful person, a discovery I made as an adult when I took a class in which we exercised to music. The first couple of classes were easy enough, but soon I began to lag noticeably behind the rest of the class. I bought a CD of the music and took it home to practice in front of a mirror. That’s when I made the shocking discovery that even when I succeeded in doing the motions correctly I looked like a total klutz. As much as I practiced in front of the mirror, I never learned to do the exercises gracefully.

Years later I bought an exercise DVD, but even then I had trouble making my hands and feet do the complicated motions together. Finally I learned not to look at myself but to concentrate instead on watching the teacher on the video. Amazingly, as I watched the teacher the subconscious part of my brain took over, and soon I was able to do the exercises properly. As long as I focusesd totally on the teacher I did well, but if I started to think about what my hands and feet were doing I became my old klutzy self.

It‘s a lot like that with God’s grace in our spiritual lives. We can know the right things to do, and we can even do the right things; but if God’s grace isn’t present in our lives, even when we try to do the right things they can come out wrong. Just knowing the truth isn’t enough. When God‘s grace is not living in us daily, even when we’re right we can hurt people and turn them off – not just to us but to religion and to the gospel.

The way to become a grace-filled Christian is to concentrate on the One who is grace – Jesus. We need to spend regular, quality time beholding Him, reflecting on the One who took time to have a life-changing conversation with a woman who had had five husbands. The One who had dinner with a dishonest tax collector. The One who was humble enough to wash the feet of the very one who would betray Him.

When we concentrate on Jesus instead of on ourselves a funny thing happens. Slowly, imperceptibly, we begin to change. His will becomes our will; His thoughts become our thouhgts; His ways become our ways. We become grace-filled, loving and lovable Christians.

Renew © 2011 by Review and Herald Publishing Association