Christ As Our View

FullSizeRenderThis is the view from the patio out back of our place. The mulberry tree has lost its leaves at present so that’s it looking all yellow. 

Most mornings when I get out of bed I make my breakfast and go and sit outside. I’ve always done this. Even if it’s raining, so long as it’s not cold and windy. At the very least, I need a window by which to sit and stare outside. There’s just something about being outside and starting my day with a long, slow, gaze into the openness of the outdoors.

Some mornings I will sit there literally for hours, reading, talking with God, singing, receiving and sending encouragements in the Lord with the saints here via ‘whatsapp’ on my phone. Rocky is usually sprawled across my lap which makes supping on my cup of tea a little difficult but it’s a special time and it really sets off the tone of my day.

This past week our church group decided to focus on the theme of Beholding The Lord. So this morning a sister sent through this definition;

Behold – verb. see or observe someone or something, especially of remarkable or impressive nature. Synonyms: view, watch, survey, gaze at, gaze upon, stare at, witness, regard, contemplate, inspect, catch sight of, discern, pay heed to, lay eyes on…

As I meditated on those words – contemplate, survey….view…..I was reminded of how important it is to me to have a view to look at.  Every house I’ve ever lived in as an adult, I have sought the Lord’s provision of a view. It hasn’t had to be a magnificent ocean front or mountain ranges, though He has spoiled me with these at times. Even just a couple of trees will do and some open sky.  I just have to have somewhere to sit outside where I can look off unto something.

This got me thinking. What am I looking for? Why is having a ‘view’ so important to me?

Well, it gives me a perspective that is outside of myself. When it’s dark and dingy inside the house because of either the way it is built without natural light or because of the weather, I can look outside and see openness. I’m comforted and consoled somehow, that there is something bigger and greater than my interior world inside of the house.FullSizeRender (1)

This of-course applies to my internal world. Having a perspective of something outside of, greater and more vast than me, is an enormous soothing comfort. And of-course, that something is a Someone. It is Jesus Christ.

I feel that if I were to live in a house without a view, something in me would die. I feel I couldn’t do it. 

I see that as a picture of my growing desperation and need to behold the Lord.  I need to be able to see Him every morning. I need to look and gaze into His face, His vastness, His endlessness. I need to contemplate His bigness, His openness, His enormity.  When I do that, I am comforted, strengthened, rested – simply because I see Him!  If I cannot see Him, I feel something inside me will die. I feel I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t go on. Life would become dark and dingy, internal and introspective with no Light.

Since Derek and I are moving to the other side of the country in December, I am already praying for a house with a view. 

However, I have to realise that Christ is my view regardless of where I may live physically. He is the eternal vastness and wide open space that my soul longs for in the darkness of the winter seasons. He is the far reaching heights up into an eternal sky where I can soar on His heights. He is the greenery, the oxygen, the shade, the colour, the breeze, the Life of Creation all around me. He is the wideness, the depth, the enormity of God.

Wherever we live brothers and sisters, whether it’s in a humpy, in a 1 bedroom studio blocked in by tall apartment complexes and no natural sunlight coming in, or on a mountain top with views that go on forever, Christ is our View. He is our perspective. He is our vantage point. He is the One we gaze upon and survey. In Him we roam a vast land, flowing with milk and honey. Our boundaries have fallen in pleasant places in Christ and no man can adjust our view or take that away from us. Christ is our All.

So I pray you will enjoy the View that is Christ in your life today dear brother and sister. Behold Him all the day long. On the train, in the car, boxed in your office, running after your kids or while out on the tractor –  behold Him, gaze at Him, stare at Him, watch Him, contemplate Him, inspect Him, survey Him, lay your eyes upon Him. ūüôā

 

 

 

 

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Do You Struggle With Beholding The Lord? This Might Help…

 

Eastern Water Dragon Sitting in the Sun by bigwavephoto on flickr

Eastern Water Dragon Sitting in the Sun by bigwavephoto on flickr

Long before¬†we knew¬†the dangers of sun-baking, like thousands of other Aussies, I used to love sun-baking.¬†I¬†grew up in the 70’s living on the waterfront with a private jetty and that was one of our favourite spots as kids. The back concrete path behind the retaining wall was also a good spot because it was so private. Many Summers, mum, my sister and I would lie out there on our bamboo mats or towels, listening to the transistor radio, hardly speaking but just soaking in the sun and inhaling the smell of the coconut oil.

When I grew old enough to drive myself places, I would venture on down to the beach on my own and do the same thing. I’d lie there for hours going in and out of sleep, to the sound of the local radio station over the surf club’s loud speakers. It was bliss.

These days I enjoy sitting in the sun, fully clothed mind you, at the side of the house in the rocking chair, with my eyes closed listening to the quiet and the bird life. I find some magical kind of refreshing and life penetrating my soul all the way in to my spirit, when I sit in the sun like that. Especially first thing in the morning.

As I was relishing in¬†the utter joy of this the other morning, it took me back to those days of sun-baking. The sensation was essentially the same. I could almost smell the coconut oil. And then, as gentle as a breeze, it came to me….

Son – baking. I used to sun-bake, now I Son¬†– bake. Similarly, to how I used to behold the sun, I now behold The Son. I realised that sun-baking¬†is a shadow and type of beholding the Lord. When we sun-bake we are intentionally turning our entire being and attention to be absorbed by the sun. We shuffle around to make sure we are as exposed to the sun as much as we possibly can be. We stay there for hours at a time, and the sun is our highest priority for that time. Even though our thoughts may wander in and out, and we may even fall in and out of sleep in its warmth, we are utterly surrendered to it. We are practically drugged by it. We’re even changed by it, as our skin changes colour.

I’ve learnt that beholding the Lord is similar. It is an intentional turning to the Lord. It is abandoning everything else, for this allotted length of time devoted wholly to gazing into Him and basking in His glory and light. We seek nothing else but to be as exposed to Him as we possibly can be and we cast everything else aside to do so. Our thoughts may wander in and out but we soak Him in and His glorious rays of light penetrate our heart as He communes with us in the seat of our spirit. And we are changed by this experience, only on the inside. Although we can recall Moses’ face being so radiant with light after being in the presence of the Lord, that he had to veil his face so others wouldn’t be blinded. Wow! That’s crazy!

This word ‘behold’ was foreign to me a few years back. I’d only ever heard it in old hymns and I thought it was some old English word we didn’t really use anymore. Oh, it is so much more than that! It has become such a precious verb in the vocabulary of so many saints these days. Those gone before us really knew something of the Lord by¬†using the word ‘behold’. ¬†It’s like, when we behold Him, there’s no words necessary, we’re not praying or bringing petitions before the Lord, we are just sitting and looking into Him, not ‘out’ or ‘up’ there but inward to where He resides. We’re not even imagining what He looks like but somehow, by intentionally being present as when we sun-bake, we are able to close our eyes and fix our internal gaze on Him, fixing our eyes on Jesus.

Wisemen's Ferry by Julia on flickr

Wisemen’s Ferry by Julia on flickr

Beholding is something we can do at any time day or night as I talk about in my post titled You Can Find Rest Even When It Seems Impossible.

Imagine yourself at work, its Winter and you’re on your lunch or coffee break. You look for a spot outside the warehouse or office out of the wind, and in the sun, or maybe you grab a spot at the park. You pull up a chair or milk crate, and with your steaming hot cup of tea in your hands, you sit there in the sun with your eyes closed. You’ll often see even those who don’t know the Lord, doing this. It’s a moment of quiet, time to rest, time to draw aside from the goings on. It is a moment to behold the Lord. Take just a few minutes, 2 or 5 if you’re able, and without striving (this takes practise), just enter into His rest and fix your internal gaze upon Him. ¬†It’s as simple as sitting in the sun.

I say it is simple, but not necessarily easy since we always have an opponent setting out to distract us from our time in communing with our Lord. This is something addressed in a beautiful book on beholding the Lord written by Milt Rodriguez called The Temple Within. (Just click on the link).

If the concept of beholding the Lord is new to you, like it was to me, or if you just want further understanding and encouragement in this area of your life, I really recommend reading this book. It was an enormous help to me and I found it very easy to read.

One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)

We are that temple brothers and sisters! So enjoy your Son-baking experience today ūüôā