If there is one thing that sweeping landscapes do very well, it is that they express the beauty and the glory of God.
It is humanly impossible to digest the sights, sounds, and smells of a massive rocky gorge without tasting the divine in some way. In fact, even those who do not know Him walk away more at rest and refreshed by the life sweeping through the scene.
Creation and all of its glorious array of landscapes exist first and foremost to reveal its Sustainer and Maker, Jesus Christ. … Just like we do.
As it turns out, virtually all of the landscapes we see have been formed in some way by wind or water. Moving across great expanses, they slowly do their work…eroding away what is weak and leaving only the most solid and resistant rocks to form vast canyons and jagged mountain peaks. Then as more and more time passes, wind and water’s steady movements weather stubborn rocks to transform the hard ground into a fertile soil.
Moving freely through the landscape of God’s people and each of our individual hearts, He gently erodes and forms our hearts into fertile soil which brings forth the deepest kind of life.
This slow, steady process is beautiful in design….but the harsh reality of weathering is that it isn’t always easy to live through.
Rocks which are weathered into soil lose their identity to be broken down into something completely different. And Jesus told us we would do the same:
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matt 16:25)
Paul states what this feels like better than anyone: “For your sake we face death all day long.” (Rom 8:36, Psalm 44:22)
The Spirit is offering us a brand new indestructible life to live by…but in order to live in its fullness, we must allow the wind and water of the Spirit to destroy and wash away the selfish life which Christ put to death long ago.
What does this look like in the moment? Though we often try, it does not involve ignoring our feelings and trying as hard as we can not to be selfish. Our own life is powerless to love! But when we instead turn away from ourselves and in our weakness turn to Jesus in every circumstance, He leads us according to His new life in those moments, which works powerfully in us. This is a freeing opportunity, but it always our choice. And when we choose this path, we acknowledge the glorious truth that:
“I NO LONGER LIVE, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal 2:20)
It’s not easy to die. But as the Spirit blows and washes away whatever is not of our Lord Jesus in all of us, He offers us His brand new life instead. And so He moves and flows, not just individually, but across all of us together. And the landscapes He creates are downright stunning.
In fact, as we yield to His weathering, we become a people who reveal the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 4:4-6)
A tapestry of new life emerges and sprouts from these rocks which have yielded to the Spirit to be transformed into fertile soil. This divine, heavenly life brings refreshment and hope.
And so we surprisingly find as we face death to ourselves every day:
“Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly WE ARE BEING RENEWED day by day.” (2 Cor 4:16)
Somehow the seemingly impossible is true: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21)
His life is emerging from us! And the forest of new life it brings is more satisfying than our life ever could have been as a lone, unweathered rock.