Beholding the Beauty of Christ in Wal-Mart: The Backstory

Christmas is a beautiful time of year, one that prompts giving, singing, family gatherings, and worship of our Savior born in Bethlehem.  Contemplating these things, I wrote an article for our church newsletter that The Gospel Coalition also ran on God’s hidden beauty revealed at Christmas.

To give a little backstory, I wrote it on a day when I had walked through the aisles of Wal-Mart and sadly had a bah-humbug spirit.  Surrounded by God’s image-bearers my sinful heart was not loving my neighbor.  It was simply wanting to get in, get out, and get done with what I had to do.  Such an attitude is sinful and selfish, and it stems from a vision problem–I was not seeing the people around the way Christ sees them.

Accordingly, I wrote the piece “Beholding the Beauty of Christ in Wal-Mart” as a means of preaching the gospel to myself.  I need the gospel everyday to remind me of my ugliness before the Lord, and how in Christ he has showered his beautiful grace on me.  If there is anything good in me, it is from the Lord (John 15:5; 1 Cor 4:7). Prayerfully, such amazing love and forgiveness will result in greater love for others.

As I walked out of Wal-Mart that day, I was confronted with the ugliness of my un-love.  I still groan over the fact that I am drawn to worldly beauty more than heavenly beauty, and that this causes me to slight people and make much of me.  Ugh! I praying that God would continue to renew my mind and change my heart, and I to do so, I keep looking to the person and work of Christ.  He alone is beautiful, and in his light we see light.  As we behold him, we become like him.  I wrote this article for that reason, and I share it with you that you might benefit too.

Here is how it begins,

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so the old saying goes. Just the same, we choose to behold (read: pursue and acquire) what we think is beautiful. Unfortunately, for so many of us, we have given little attention to what the Bible says about beauty. While Christians may have read the Bible for years, I wonder, when it comes to beauty, how many of us have been shaped by magazine covers, movies, and prom nights more than God’s inspired Word?  Christmas may be one exception.

You can read the whole thing at The Gospel Coalition website.

Repentant and Repenting, dss

3 thoughts on “Beholding the Beauty of Christ in Wal-Mart: The Backstory

  1. Great article on TGC!

    I’ve been particularly enjoying your posts on Exodus as it’s something I was studying a lot both before and following a message I preached on 2 Corinthians 3. You’re insights really helped me to appreciate Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians and the contrasts between the old and new covenants from a larger perspective.

    • Louis,

      Thanks, brother.

      Exodus is an amazing book, one that taught me so much about Christ and our salvation. As you point out, there is a lot there about covenant theology, too.

      I look forward to next year’s book by Peter Gentry and Steve Wellum on the covenants in Scripture. Keep an eye out for it. It will be a hefty but worthwhile study on that subject.

      Blessings, dss

  2. Well, the Lord works in wondrous ways. I, too, have a Walmart story. I saw this post while emailing a bible study to my healing prayer ministry. One day, suffering terribly and lonely, I wound up in Walmart to do some Christmas shopping. I filled up a cart. The more I filled up the cart, the more I became aware of my own spiritual emptiness and asked Jesus if he would spend the day with me. It was a bizarre and random request. I had hit bottom.

    While I was wandering the aisles in Walmart, pretty much senseless, I lost my cart. I later found it, only to discover that someone had used it and filled it up with their own things on top of mine. Clearly, I was not the only lost and confused person in there that day. Rather than have to start my shopping all over again, I asked a salesperson to help me sort though the merchandise, piece by piece, separating each and every item into two carts: mine and the mystery person’s. I had to look at each item. It took about 10 minutes. I thanked the salesperson for being so helpful and thorough and proceeded to check out.

    I put each of my purchases on the conveyor. As the cart emptied out I pondered the empty ride home. Can you imagine my surprise and disbelief when I discovered a Life Application Study Bible in the bottom of my shopping cart? I looked at it about three times to make sure it was real. I shook my head. I looked at the sales clerk. She looked at me like I had a problem. I very cautiously put the bible on the conveyor belt and watched it glide towards the register.

    Now think about this. I did not put that bible in there. The salesperson who helped me sort the two carts did not put it in there — there were maybe 20 items between two carts —- I would have seen it —– Who put the bible in the cart?

    That was 15 years ago this holiday season. I still have no explanation for my Walmart bible. I still have the same bible + one in paperback. I have healed, been healed, been blessed, been loved, been nurtured, and been placed where I belong doing what I am ordained to be doing by the grace of God.

    God will come to you where you at the drop of a hat and use whatever means is necessary to fulfill his vow: Be still and Know That I am God.
    Psalm 46:10.

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