August 6, 2020. Day 219: Beholding.

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. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

In yesterday’s reading we learned that all spiritual growth begins with the simple faith of beholding. Gazing upon, thinking about, contemplating, longing for the glory of the Lord that is seen in the cross of Christ.

OK, so we change by worshiping God through beholding his glory in the cross? Yes.

But how is this possible in the day to day of our busy lives? Isn’t beholding the cross something we can only really do in church, or maybe during our “quiet time?” How do we behold the cross at work? At school? Are we supposed to just sit around all day looking at a crucifix? Do we stop going to work or taking care of our kids and just meditate on Jesus all day?

The answer is actually quite the opposite.

Everything, yes everything, we do each day is meant to point us to the blazing center of the glory of God in the cross of Jesus.

The blazing center? What does that mean?

Think about our solar system. At the blazing center of our solar system is the sun. Everything revolves around the sun and receives its energy from the sun. Now think about your life as a solar system. And at the blazing center of the solar system of your life is the SON. Christ and the cross. Every good thing in our lives comes from and points back to the cross of Christ. Because of the cross, everything good is now eternal. Because of the cross, Jesus now sustains, redeems, and transforms all things. When we open our eyes to the all-encompassing work of Christ on the cross we are ready to behold the glory of Christ in EVERYTHING that we do.

Everything in our lives can either distract us from the glory of the cross, OR it can point us to the glory of the cross. For example, nature is glorious, but if nature was the greatest glory (the blazing center), we would worship nature. If we make sex, money, children, work, music, video games, our body, the blazing center, our greatest glory, we will worship these things. OR we can let any and all of these good gifts from God point us to the even more glorious reality – Christ and his cross.

Think about the things in your life as a giant target. At the bull’s eye of the target is the glory and goodness of God. Everything in the outer rings is meant to point us closer and closer to the bull’s eye of God’s glory. On the outer rings might be simple things like a good cup of coffee, or taking a nap. As we move closer to the bull’s eye there might be things like art, music, books. Then maybe success at work, a nice email, a great catch in football. Moving closer still are our intimate relationships and more transcendent feelings and experiences – love and joy.

Merida hits the target

You see, everything on this “target” is good. We don’t set any of these things aside and replace them with Jesus. We allow each and every good thing to point us to Jesus. If it is good it reflects the goodness of God. If it is good, then it required love and sacrifice, just like the cross. And so everything on our target, everything in our life, points us to the love and sacrifice of the cross. That is, if we resist falling short of the glory of God by worshiping the creation instead of the Creator.

Let’s keep going to the center of our target. Just outside the bull’s eye (the blazing center) is the church. This is where the glory of God dwells today – in each and every Christian. We are God’s temple. The greatest way to behold the glory of the cross is not by staring at crosses. It’s by looking at one another, loving one another, serving one another, beholding Jesus IN one another.

So now we have made it to the bull’s eye of our target – Christ and the cross. Christ is the greatest display of the glorious goodness of God. Christ’s work on the cross is the greatest reflection of the mercy, grace, holiness, and righteousness of God. And what the cross at the center of all of life tells us is that even the suffering we experience in this life is on the “target.” Pain is in the “solar system.” Even our sorrow points us to the glorious goodness of God. How? Because by the cross God makes all things good by his grace.

“To live is Christ” is to live beholding the glory of the cross. How? By letting everything in life take our hearts on a journey to the blazing center of God’s love and grace found in Jesus and his death and resurrection.

You

Do you allow God’s good gifts to distract you from the cross or point you toward it?

You in Christ

How can your union with Christ change how you see everything in your life (big and small). Is it all for his glory, or your own?

Christ in you

How can you practice letting the ordinary things of this life point you to the goodness and love of the cross of Jesus?

Playlist: The Blazing Center

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