As I’ve previously discussed, when we behold something, we begin to “take it all in” as we experience something in it’s fullness. Beholding is when we are struck with the awe and reality of something as our senses allow us to experience something, usually extraordinary.
I sat in the Church of the Nazarene‘s North Central Ohio District Assembly last week on the campus of Mount Vernon Nazarene University, with my mind all over the place; a lot of uneasiness was swirling around inside of me. This came to a head on Wednesday at the “Prayer Encounter.” As I sat praying a few feet from my wife, I was struck by 3 words that entered my mind as I prayed: BEHOLD THE CROSS.
This captivated and gripped me at my core as my mind raced to the implications of those words. I believe it was a call to focus continually on the Cross. It was a call to take in both what happened to Jesus on the cross and what was accomplished by Jesus in victory over sin.
What would my life look like if I was in a mindset of beholding the cross? What could I possibly do or give that would be too much in light of beholding the cross? What would I let distract or get in the way of my beholding the cross?
The truth is, too many times I let my mind, my heart, and my emotions behold the mess. I get caught up in what I can do, what I think I need to prepare for, what I need to worry about, what I need to protect my family from. Too much of my time is being practical, pragmatic, and what seems good with this world in mind. Too often I then get tied up in distracting myself from the stress of the mess and then spend my time on myself, relaxing, mentally unloading to be entertained.
When all along, when I behold the cross, I begin to understand that my identity can be wrapped up in God. The God who provided a way for me and everyone to be enveloped in His redemptive grace. The God who adopts Christians as His children, who gives them His name and His resources, who promises to be there with you through everything, has already won victory at the words of Jesus with “It is finished.” Oh what peace there is in what was accomplished on the Cross!
How much is too much of “my” time when I behold the cross? How much is too much of “my” money to give as I behold the cross? How much do I need to worry as I behold the cross?
The answer is nothing. Nothing I can give is too much. No time spent worrying about myself and if I’ll be able to make it tomorrow, no time spent in fear, no time spent thinking about how I will manage on my own ability, is worthwhile; it’s nothing.
Not my sense of fairness. Not my sense of right. Not my sense of taking care of myself, because of what others might do to me. No, none of it.
No time spent with my gaze captivated on anything other than the Heavenly Father that has me in His hand, giving me His presence through the Spirit, is worth beholding.
God has pursued you and me and it came to a head on the cross. What was intended for evil, God used for His Glory! Can the same be said about your life?
If you can catch a glimpse of the cross and begin to behold it for what it is, what it meant to Jesus, what it means to the world, what is possible because of it, what sorrow there is at the Crucifixion but more importantly what joy there is in the empty tomb and defeated death, you have more of what it is to be a Christ follower.
If you can take that all in, behold it in all it’s grit and glory, allow the Spirit to testify to your soul the experience of it all, you can’t help but be captivated. Just like a sunset over the Pacific Ocean has to be beheld for what it is, the same is true about the Cross.
When you view everything in life threw the lens of the Cross, God transforms your perspective, your reality, and gives you the many blessings He promises, including hope! The mess can’t touch that.
Have you beheld the cross? Has it captivated you at your core? Have you experienced the peace that He offers; that He brought forth from the Cross in victory over sin and death? What have you beheld? What is so awe-inspiring, sensory-engulfing, that it does not leave your mind for long?