Jesus Christ is the essence of true beauty. When God created the earth, He created it by, in, and through His Son, the Lord Jesus (Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2–3). For this reason, the universe is brimming with beauty and elegance.
For this reason, everything beautiful in creation is both a token and a pale reflection of the beauty of Christ. Consequently, the beauty we find on earth is fleeting.
Look at a beautiful painting long enough, and you’ll eventually grow tired of it. Listen to a gorgeous piece of music enough times, and you’ll grow weary of it. Gaze at a good-looking person long enough, and their beauty will start to fade in your eyes.
When you and I are attracted to something or someone, we are exhilarated by that object or person because it emits something of the beauty of Christ. But His beauty is unique in that it is both permanent and inexhaustible, while all created beauty eventually loses its appeal.
The reason there is so much beauty in creation is because it flows from our beautiful Creator. The beauty we find in the sky, sea, and earth is God’s self-portrait, showing us what the living God is like. They all give us a glimpse of the glorious face of God.
The human soul longs for the Beauty behind the created beauty. The beauty we consume with our physical senses is both a gift and a compass leading us to the source of all beauty. The wonder we experience in created beauty is meant to lead us to worship the Creator of beauty. In this regard, physical beauty is but a shadow of the real.
Whether it be a majestic mountain, a resplendent night sky, a breathtaking ocean, a stunning flower, a lovely plant, a gorgeous sunset, a radiant sunrise, an elegant animal, a marvelous fragrance, a perfect gourmet meal, an attractive human being, an exquisite piece of music or art, we are seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting a dim reflection of the source of all beauty—Jesus Christ. Of course, the beauty of Jesus was not found in His physical appearance (Isaiah 53:2). If He were strikingly handsome, Judas would not have had to point Him out by a kiss. No, the beauty of Jesus is found in His irresistible charisma, His uncommon conduct, His unspeakable love, His quiet strength, His awe-inspiring wisdom, and His infinite compassion.
The beautiful things that surround us everywhere in the created order are tokens of God’s glory and good pleasure. They are put before our adoring eyes to remind us to worship the One who molded and shaped them.
Herein lies the source of idolatry. Idolatry occurs when we lose touch with the fact that all created beauty is a reflection of God’s beauty. When we are not aware of this revolutionary truth, we end up worshiping the created thing instead of the Creator.
The word “worship” carries the ideas of extravagant love, utter devotion, and total submission.
Why does God desire worship? Is it because He’s a narcissist? Not at all. We become like what we worship. Those who worship and trust in idols become like them (Psalm 135:18 NLT), and those who behold the Lord in worship become like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18). Conformity to God’s Son, after all, is God’s original purpose for humans (Romans 8:28–29).
The radiant beauty we find in creation is designed to lead us to wonder at and worship the source of all beauty, Christ. It’s meant to awaken our souls to the true beauty, who is God Himself. Jesus is a beautiful Savior, and the Holy Spirit wants to continually fascinate us with the beauty of the King.
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 NIV)
The antidote to spiritual boredom—which plagues many Christians, including leaders—is to receive a fresh awakening of the beauty of Christ.
Excerpted from Insurgence by Frank Viola. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Copyright 2018. Used by permission.BakerPublishingGroup.com