Jan31WedThe Imperfect Disciple, Chapter 3 Reflection January 31, 2018
In the third chapter of The Imperfect Disciple, the aim of the author is discernable in the chapter’s title: “Staring at Glory until You See It.” Jared Wilson is discussing and developing the idea of beholding that the Apostle Paul raises in 2 Corinthians 3:18: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.”
Early in the chapter Wilson notes, “I think this is the big problem disciples of Jesus have with the gospel. I think this is the big problem disciples of Jesus have with Jesus. We take him for granted” (54). Wilson recognizes that one way to look at discipleship is as a call to become more like Jesus, to be transformed into his image. But if we can’t behold Jesus—perhaps because we take him for granted—than the whole beholding-becoming process is stifled. And Wilson maintains we don’t even realize our beholding-powers aren’t functioning at full capacity.
Wilson’s concern is evident as he writes, “The problem is that many Christians have stifled their ability to behold the glory of Christ without realizing it. They have stunted their capacity to see some measure of his all-encompassing excellencies, not because they are generally disinterested in him but because all of their other interests have dulled their spiritual senses. All of the other things they look at dull their vision. They struggle to behold Christ’s glory because they have a generally decreased capacity for bigness in the first place” (61).
Wilson indicates that one of the ways we can reinvigorate our capacity to see bigness, and thus behold the glory of Christ, is to stop looking at puny things like “the ceaseless parade of the detritus of our shortsighted culture on your closest screen” (64). I think we all recognize that our phones and iPads and laptops can get us focused on small things. But what else causes you to look at littleness instead of gazing a gargantuan-ness? Seriously. You should think about that.
Wilson advocates that we can also enhance our bigness-beholding skills by finding things with bigness to look at; things like God’s glorious creation. Staring at a night sky full of constellations attunes one's vision for big things. Taking in a mountain view or observing a vast meadow will help you to train yourself for looking at largeness. I remember looking out from the top of the Rockefeller Center in New York and being captivated by this huge city and responding in praise to God. I think episodes like that will help us learn to see bigness which will help us as we endeavour to behold the biggest thing in the universe: the glory of the Lord! What helps you see big things? Really, think about that as well. If going outside isn’t an option, might I suggest redeeming your screen and using it to see bigness instead of smallness. A website belonging to two friends might help you do just that: Compassion Gallery.
Wilson summarizes, “What all this boils down to is this: we have, fundamentally, a worship problem, and so long as we are occupying our minds with little, worldly things and puny, worldly messages, we will shrink our capacity to behold the eternal glory of Jesus Christ, which is the antidote to all that ails us” (64-65).