One of my favorite words is “behold.” It’s six letters, two measly syllables—in a word, unassuming. Yet it’s captivating. It’s commanding. Behold.
When you see something beautiful, there’s wonder. There’s awe. You behold.
Like when I was in the mountains of Tanzania and I had an Abraham moment when countless stars like glitter lit up the night sky. I could not help but look.
Because when you see something so glorious, you behold it.
At the start of 2018, I made a list of truths I wanted to claim for the new year. One of them was this:
Holiness is more beautiful than I think it is.
“Beautiful” does not naturally come to mind when I consider holiness. Descriptors instead include rigid, unyielding, constraining, exhausting, demanding. Like a taskmaster and his whip. I am not naturally inclined to holiness. I am, by nature, unholy.
But if there’s one thing I learned in 2018, it’s that it is impossible to pursue holiness when you are not beholding its beauty. What is this beauty? It’s the beauty of an innocent life laid down to rest so that I might rise accepted in his holiness. It’s the beauty of a savior who did the rigid, unyielding, constraining, exhausting, demanding work of salvation so that I might grow in his likeness. It’s the beauty of the gospel. It’s the beauty of worship. It’s Christ crucified, resurrected, and exalted.
There were whole chunks of 2018 when I beheld anything but Christ. I beheld anger. I beheld unforgiveness. I beheld sin. These to me were glorious.
But today, almost a full year later, I stand because Christ, having borne his cross, made me holy—and he is yet making me holy as I bear mine.
When I look back on 2018 and see the list of truths I failed to claim, I look forward, beholding Christ’s victory on my behalf. And through this, I work out my salvation, growing day by day into the likeness of his beauty.