When was the last time you looked at something so beautiful or so excellent that it held your interest? That you felt you couldn’t turn away, but were captured by its magnetic power?
For me, it has always been the view of the sunset from my dad’s front yard. Growing up in a rural area with only a few trees gave me a front row seat to some of the most stunning sunsets I have ever seen. In those moments, there was something “other-worldly” about the whole experience. I desired not to move or talk or anything except linger there and admire the overwhelming beauty of it all. My intellect and my emotions blended together as I pondered the universe’s “bigness” and my very “smallness” on this little blue dot. It always made me feel tiny and I thought it was absolutely glorious.
In those moments I had no desire to take a “selfie”. In fact, to do something like that would be to belittle it or take something away. The very essence of the joy came from my losing sight of myself as I became lost in the grandeur and wonder that was unfolding right before me.
Little did I know back then that these were all “pointers”, directing me to soul-stirring, heart-satisfying realities which lie beyond the created cosmos.
Wonder of all wonders is when we behold, with the eyes of our hearts, the divine Son of God, spotless in every way, suffering a hideous death in order that we, vile sinners, could know and bask in the warmth of God’s mercy.
Being captivated by Jesus is what makes the difference between a transforming faith and an unbiblical counterfeit. Peter keys in on this idea in his first epistle,
“Though you have not seen Him [Christ], you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” -1 Peter 1:8-9
“Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up in to salvation- if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” -1 Peter 2:2-3
When we’re overwhelmed by something, it changes us. We are enamored with its splendor. Stunned by its brilliance.
To the parched soul, Jesus’ grace is delicious. To those who see their spiritual poverty, the riches of His mercy are unsearchable. To taste of His love is like the sweetness of honey on our tongues.
So the inverse of this is that to behold Jesus and not be changed is to cast doubt on whether one has ever really beheld Him at all.
Augustine, writing in the 4th century, beautifully captured the essence of this whole idea when he writes…
“He [Christ] humbled Himself, coming down to the lowest human level. Those who will join Him there- denying themselves, taking the low place- will be raised up with Him to the heights of heaven.
It is not easy for man to stoop so low, or to abandon his self-confidence. But when he sees the divine Son, lying as it were, at his feet, wrapped in the clothes of human poverty, then his heart may be moved and his pride cured. And when we grow weary of trying to prove ourselves, we may be ready to cast ourselves upon Him.
When we do, He who came down to where we are raises us to where He is.”
If you find in your heart a desire to have your affections stirred with the wonder of Jesus, I want to direct you to some solid resources.
First and foremost, this week spend some time with Him in His Word. Passionately seek Him, realizing His infinite value. Trust me, it will be the happiest quest your soul can take.
Also available for a free download is John Piper’s book “Seeing and Savoring Jesus”. You can find it and download it here. Until then, I would also invite you to check out this interview below between Mark Jones and J.I. Packer on cultivating a sense of awe before the supremacy of Christ.
Now that I’ve inundated you with resources, avail yourself to some of them and allow your heart to be changed by the most lovely Person in the universe… the Darling of heaven… King Jesus.