Gazing into the heart of Jesus
Living in a foreign country, you find some things that are still the same. Like browsing through a retail store, you’ll find the attendant with the infamous question of, “Can I help you with something?” And I have learned to say, “Csak Nézem, Köszönöm” which is a short reply that states, “Just looking, Thank You.”
I’ve actually gotten pretty styled at the head nod, if they go on to say something I don’t quite understand. It’s nothing a smile and an agreeing Hungarian head-nod can’t fix. It definitely translates.
Our family is learning to live in the big city of Budapest, from a small village in the country, so I’m trying to capture a bit more needed vocabulary in my storage banks. I love to hear Hungarian explanations of their language! Inquiring repeatedly with some questions of distinction, it has gathered me some interesting imagery. In the most recent moments, I have been learning the difference between ‘To See something', and “To Look Intently’ at something. I have learned that to say, “I see you”, I would say, “Látlak,” But if I were captured by it visually, “ I would say, “Nézlek”.
I am loving how the Lord cares to lead me to the next steps, because just the next morning, with a hot coffee in hand, I bundled up on the couch to come across this verse:
“All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.”
It’s pretty unique that we can find both expressions of the verb ‘to Look’ being used here. Discovering this distinction has divided my everyday view into two. I decipher many things lately, with the background of looking deeply… or just a quick glance.
Am I studying something God wants to show me deeply or am I just taking a quick glance?
I tend to find that when I am in a place of worry or anxiousness, I set up to camp out and keep looking at that thing. I study it, I walk around it, I look intently at it, even to hold it for a while.
When it comes to seeing the Lord in times of hardship, I can glance over at him, and gaze back at the problem. In our lives, I notice that when people share the heaviness of a trial with me, they tend to be doing the same thing. They stand there, gazing at the problem, whether falling to it, fearing it, or frustrated by it; they can’t take their eyes off of it. But it takes a few steps back to realize that their only ability to avoid it- is to stop ‘looking intently’ at it.
“Or do you not realize about yourselves
that Jesus Christ is in you?”
2 Corinthians 13:5
It’s an interesting and beautiful place to come to the realization of Jesus’ capability. The ostensible law of our hearts tend to trap us and keep us in a place of striving to beat the problem. But the prize is found in turning towards him, dropping to our knees and crying out, “ I can’t do it! “ It is an explosion of mercy and magnificent freedom. That is the power of the cross daily.
Through Christ’s death on the cross, those who turn to Him are delivered from both the penalty and the power of sin.
1 Peter 2:24&25
There’s nothing too spiritual about that. Of course, it is good news for a person’s initial conversion to Christ, but it can also be a daily thing too. It’s practical talk. When I also look at the Gospel as a practical way of living, I can walk in spiritual freedom.
When we take our eyes off of the problem and turn towards him, we see our way out right there. Just the picture of Jesus up on the cross is a game-changer. He changed our eternal destiny, but don’t you think he wants to be in the daily things too?
The Bible says to ‘Fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
Dwelling on this, I am so encouraged to be intentional with the day to day walk I have with my Savior. Yes, of course, we can get away with glancing at him, after accepting him, living a moderate devotion, and dancing in heaven someday.
But living out the Gospel, by relying on what he did for us on that cross, draws me closer to him everyday.
It changes Everything I do.
I want more than just the taking away of the penalty, I want to see his power working in and through me. And it can! Jesus told his disciples that because they believe in Him, “they will do even greater things than these.” John 14:12
Fixing our eyes on Jesus, gives us full-access to all the power in Him. Think of all that He is capable of! That is a study in itself! His power is endless! His faithfulness is sure! He never ends; he never began! He is love! He is truth! He is life! He is freedom from the chains.
I love how it says that ‘for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross.” Because he is so Rad, he fixed his heart to die, and rose for that joy of bringing us in to him. What more could we possibly do, even for a moment without Him?
In Acts 3:4, when Peter and John saw the lame man begging, you may notice the man was looking at everything but. He was ready to settle his eyes elsewhere. Not until Peter challenged the man to ‘Look at him,’ was he able to see. He believed him, stood and walked.
Just like this man, when we fix our eyes upon Him, we can notice that God is intentionally looking at us too; His gaze is fastened, ready to listen.
I recently saw a picture in my heart while hearing the singing words of "Boldly, I approach your throne..." I came to His throne in the crowd and wanted to see him. We all could see him. Somehow we were all able to, but in all of my desire, I was still in the crowd. Sensing myself as having the possibility of being the 331st to get a chance to be near him....
He saw me.
I passed through the ocean of heads, and caught eyes with him. Even as all were there, He saw me. He gently looked at me with eyes of Love. All of my hurt and hunger were in his heart.
I wanted to encourage you with this, because in all of our painful trials, He is with you.
He sees you. He doesn’t just take a quick glance. He knows you, and longs for your heart to look to him. Keep your eyes on Jesus, and he will show you what to do.