The Law of Looking
David Yonggi Cho, pastor of the world’s largest church in Seoul, Korea alluded to a concept he termed, “The Law of Looking.” It so intrigued me that I studied this concept and prepared this teaching on it. Cho, with his million member church, places particular emphasis upon focusing the mind and heart upon one's deepest desires. It is clear that Cho is not a proponent of “mind over matter” but he explains, from a biblical perspective, how the law of looking positively or negatively affects our life. Cho concludes that when Christians persevere with a God-given vision, it will eventually become a reality. In some mysterious way the unfeigned perception of our mind is connected to our accomplishments in life. For example:
God told Abraham in Genesis 13:14, "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. (15) All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever."
Jesus made the connection between the mouth and our accomplishments in Mark 11:22 when He said: "Have faith in God," Jesus answered. (23) "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. (24) Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."
At times, our accomplishments are diminished or prevented because we don't properly perceive and profess God's purposes for us. And God wants our eyes and words agreeing with His objectives. It’s simply imperative that we do this!
But this sermon doesn't deal with the principles of confession; it deals with the principles of perception. And when we securely situate our mental perception upon God's plan it significantly affects our achievements. We need a sustained perception upon God's will.
(Transition) Let's first discuss, The power of the law of looking.
I. The Power of the Law of Looking
Jesus said in Matthew 6:22‑23, "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. (23) But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"
The eyes often have difficulty adjusting on correct images. Man's desires and God's desires can be two diametric matters. And an undisciplined, untamed eye is terribly destructive.
That's why Jesus said: "if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell . . ." (Mark 9:47).
That's why Job bound himself with an oath. The man God called "perfect and upright" said, "I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl" (Job 31:1).
And Satan devastated humankind by refocusing Adam and Eve's vision. They were lured into sin when their eyes took a sustained look at the forbidden fruit. Turn to Genesis 3:1-7.
Adam and Eve's vision should have focused anywhere but the forbidden tree. That's why Jesus repeatedly emphasized the 'singleness of the eye'. Improperly focusing on pleasures, people, circumstances, faults, failures, or anything other than what is good, lovely, honest, or Christ-glorifying engenders danger.
That covetous look destroyed Adam and Eve.
A wanton look destroyed Lot's wife.
Israel's doubt filled look into Canaan sent them circling the wilderness for forty years.
A self-centered look nearly destroyed Solomon when he sought happiness everywhere except God's presence. He concluded: "Vanity, vanity, all is vanity."
That's the incredible power of sustained perception, and that's why Hebrews 12:2 says: "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. . . ." You see, focusing on Jesus properly empowers our mind.
(Definition) The words, "let us fix our eyes on Jesus" make a vivid photogenic phrase. The scholar W.E. Vines translates the word fix this way: "to look away from one thing so as to see another." (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.) That's what's needed for victorious living. We need to refocus our selfish, worldly, hedonistic perception upon Christ and His goodness.
Psalm 16:8-11 offers its photogenic promise to illustrate this. David said: "I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (9) Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, (10) because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. (11) You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."
When you "set the Lord always before" you, there's safety, promise, and hope. Make Christ your focus!
(Transition) We've considered the power of the law of looking, secondly, let's examine, the impact of the law of looking.
II. The Impact of the Law of Looking
In analyzing these consequences let's contrast this principle as revealed through Abraham and Lot. Return to Genesis 13.
Did you notice the two distinctly disparate looks Abram and Lot cast? Verse ten expressly states that "Lot looked." Note that proper noun, "Lot." "Lot," of his own volition "looked" and evaluated the land. The decision was singularly his. There was no consultation from God as to which direction he should survey. And his eyes immediately riveted on the seducing cities of Sodom and Gomorrah where he pitched his tent. And his polluted look infected his family. Years later when God drove them away his wife's look back turned her into a salty pillar.
(Application) Parents, don't deny for a moment that your vision, passions, and obsessions affect only you. They affect those nearest and dearest to you. As Lot's focus demonstrated, your godless gaze can be where your loved ones find their fate.
Conversely, Genesis 13:14 notes this about Abram's look: "The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west." God instructed Abram to "lift up his eyes," and he obeyed. Thank God for men and women more interested in pleasing the Lord than self.
God's leading may not point you to city lights or center stage. You may be required to spend time in the carpenter's shop or the wilderness or the valley. But when you sustain a divine vision eternal blessing follows.
And blessing indeed is what Abram's God-directed look offered. Again, verses fourteen and fifteen note: "The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. (15) All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever."
That's the reward of a disciplined, God-directed look. And it isn't restrictive to Abraham, it's promised to everyone. Keep your eyes focused on Christ and His Word. Submit to His Lordship and you'll experience the joy coming through obedience.
(Transition) We examined the impact and power of the law of looking, third, let's consider, Responding to the Law of Looking.
III. Responding to the Law of Looking
Please hear me at this juncture. God designed this law to be beneficial, but only you can squeeze its potential and employ it. If you purposely refuse to focus on God's designs you'll eliminate yourself from God's blessings.
There's no clearer example of this than the Pharisees. They constantly slandered and rejected Christ's truths. And they excluded themselves from His benefits. Matthew 13:15 says, "For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'"
Those that should have been the quickest to grasp His Words and see his ways were last. By their own choosing they hardened their hearts and closed their eyes.
But the Pharisees weren't alone in repudiating truth. Their forefathers skillfully rejected it! I briefly alluded to this episode of Hebrew history but let's take a few moments to re-examine it. Turn to Numbers 13 and let’s read.
Numbers 13:31 - 14:6
(Example) In short, Israel's problem at Kadesh-Barnea was an improper focus. They focused on what they thought were insurmountable circumstances and, thus, they failed. But Joshua and Caleb focused on the God that had split the Red Sea, rained down manna, and provided a supernatural covering in the desert. Consequently, they were the only ones over nineteen to enter Canaan 40 years later.
Unbelieving Israel focused on the magnitude of their obstacles rather than God's might. They saw unconquerable giants, a destitute wilderness, and insoluble problems. Consequently, their improper focus brought defeat. May God help us grasp the importance of proper vision in life.