CORErecovery: Out of the Valley- What are you looking at?

One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27:4

For someone who used to hate the way I looked, I certainly spent a lot of time staring in the mirror.  Not only would I stare at myself in the mornings after a shower, but several times a day I would go stand in front of the mirror and gaze, analyze, critique, and glare at every aspect of my body.  Every feature on my face, every perceived blemish and flaw—I gazed and glared…and was troubled.

In reading our focus verse recently, I noticed something new about it, or a few things rather:

  1.  The author seeks ONE thing—This focus on the ONE thing is significant.  He does not get sidetracked by many different things.  Rather, he chooses to zero in on ONE thing.
  2. This central focus is something for which he asks God to give him.  He is not trying to achieve it on his own.
  3. This ONE thing is to be so close to the Lord that he actually LIVES and ABIDES with Him.
  4. The author’s pursuit is for something that is eternal, not temporal.  His focus is on something that will last FOREVER, not just for a day, a week, a year, or even a lifetime!!
  5. The author makes this ONE request anticipating a secondary benefit- to gaze on the beauty of the LORD.

To gaze upon the beauty of the Lord

That is the goal.  The ONE goal.  Why do we SEEK to dwell with God?  Because we were made to seek beauty.  In our daily lives we pursue it…in our belongings, in our loved ones, and in ourselves.  Yet, most people feel like they are surrounded by ugliness…ugly bodies, ugly relationships, ugly circumstances, ugly lives.  Why?  Because instead of seeking beauty in the One who created it and, indeed IS Beauty, we settle for a concept of beauty that has been redefined, redesigned, and reduced to things that come and go, fade, and wither.

I want to be more like the psalms author. I don’t want to have a fleeting sense of beauty…I want to DWELL with BEAUTY.   Not the temporary beauty of this life but the everlasting beauty that belongs to God alone.

  1.  I  want to focus on ONE thing, not getting sidetracked by the many things in life that distract me and pull me away.
  2. I acknowledge that I cannot do this on my own.  I must ask God to reveal His Beauty to me.  As I seek it, I can draw closer to Him..closer to dwelling in His house!
  3. Conversely, the more I seek to abide with Christ, the more I will see beauty as He sees it…with the heart.  As I seek to abide, I realize I am surrounded by God’s beauty because I am surrounded by Him…THE Beauty.
  4. Unlike the impossible beauty of the culture around me, God’s beauty is never-changing and ever-present.  It will not fade, nor I do I have to “achieve” it for it is already around me. In dwelling with the Lord, I will never run out of beauty.
  5. The ultimate prize of gazing at the Creator, Definer, and Infinite Displayer of Beauty is that it occurs through looking without instead of merely looking within my own self.   Instead of gazing at myself and my circumstances to find and define beauty, instead of seeking beauty in MY face, I find it in HIS!!

I know I have only scratched the surface of what God is telling us here about His beauty and the benefits of seeking to dwell with Him eternally, but this ONE aspect of His truth was so profound to me, I just wanted to “gaze” upon it, to rest here, to abide in it.

Thank you, Lord, that you made us to seek beauty.  We know that true and lasting beauty is only found by dwelling in You.  Each time we look in a mirror, may we be reminded to keep our gaze on Your Beauty.  May we hold fast to the knowledge that it is the only beauty that is eternal and everlasting and that in You we are surrounded by it forever and ever.  Amen.

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