Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Seeing With New Eyes: The Gaze of God- A Christian Worldview, Part 1

Today I'm beginning a new category of posts highlighting some passages from biblical counselor David Powlison's book, Seeing With New Eyes. I will present portions of this book dealing with a Christian worldview, with Powlison's testimony, and with the Apostle Paul's use of Scripture. The remainder of this post is a direct quote from Powlison (pages 9-10).

The Gaze of God- A Christian Worldview, Part 1

I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.[1]

“By it I see everything else.” This risen and rising sun– Light of the world, no less!– opens our eyes to see. We come to “see” a man we’ve never actually laid eyes on. In fact, we not only see him, but we love him, trust him, and delight in him (1 Peter 1:8). Along the way he teaches us to see everything else the world contains. We aren’t talking about retinal images processed in the brain. This seeing, this gaze, means to wake us from our fantasies, fictions, and nightmares to see things as they are in fact. God has the real take on things. And God teaches us his gaze.

We learn (slowly! in fits and starts!) to see how God sees. God, self, others, problems, circumstances, all now appear in the true mirror. Learning the gaze of God, we come to weigh life aright. We discern good and evil, fair and foul, lovely and degraded. Our Father enlightens the eyes of our hearts. We become able to pry apart true from false, instead of living in a murk of half-truths and flat lies.

All sorts of things start to look and to mean different when the lights come on: friendship, artistic abilities, Orion’s belt brilliant on a winter night, bone cancer, a frustrating job search, money in the bank, the waste of our wraths and sorrows, forgiveness sought and granted, old hurts and fresh affronts, kind hearts and opportunities not to be missed, anorexia-bulimia, quiet desperation and joy inexpressible full of glory, Day-Timer or Palm Pilot, the sounds of tonight’s dinner sizzling in the pan. The sins and sufferings of the human condition (the “stuff” of counseling) look different.

Consider this example. Both Caiaphas and Peter “saw” the same retinal images of Jesus. (To widen the metaphor, we might add that both “heard” the same tympanic vibrations when Jesus spoke.) But the priest saw a threat and heard a charlatan. The friend saw the maker, judge, and savior of the world, and he heard the words of eternal life. When you wake up to see the sun, and hear the waterfall, and smell the coffee, and touch the garment’s hem, and taste that the Lord is good, it must change how you see everything.

[1] C.S. Lewis, “Is Theology Poetry?” They Asked for a Paper (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1962), 165.

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