In Revelation we have some incredible displays of God’s beauty and glory. Revelation 1:13-16:
13In the midst of the lampstands was one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
When John saw this vision of Christ, he fell flat on his face. Jesus respond with:
17“Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”
Beholding the majesty of Jesus is one of the most important aspects to our faith and relationship with Him. Without seeing Him for who He is we will not be able to live a full faith; actually, we will not even be able to truly live at all! The greater our experience of His glory, the deeper our devotion and our love for Him.
In 1 Thessalonians 1:9 we see what this revelation did for the believers: “How you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” This must permeate our thinking; God is alive and true. He is not inanimate or false – God is on the throne as the immortal King. The depths of God are unsearchable and unfathomable, and His characteristics are unending. Therefore, the more we grow in our understanding of Him, the further His reach will go in our lives. Every time God unveils a new facet of His beauty to us, it is an opportunity for us to become more holy in a certain area of our life. For instance, seeing God’s holiness will in turn place the fear of God in us, making us holy like Him. And seeing the tender heart of God will assure us of His love for us, and inspire us to love others.
When I read how the Thessalonians turned from idols it really struck me. Paul had declared the good news to them and was met with persecution from his opponents. But it tells us in 1 Thessalonians 1:5 that Paul didn’t just proclaim the gospel with words, but with demonstrations of God’s power and of the Holy Spirit, i.e. His glory. It was so powerful that they turned from what they were worshipping.
Think about what made the first disciples follow Jesus and give up everything. Peter was in a boat with Jesus and was told to put his net down, even though they had worked all night and caught nothing. There was such a vast amount of fish that the boat started sinking. What was his response? “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8). He saw a glimpse of the majesty of God.
The revelation of our sin is made clear in view of God’s glory. But He doesn’t leave us there; He gives us the grace to turn away! We cannot turn away from our idols with any measure of self-will. It is only when we see Jesus as the Greatest Treasure that all else pales in comparison. If you are in His Kingdom, you saw His glory and that brought you in. Now, however, we have the privilege to search the depths of God, to delve into His glory daily, so that our idols can be removed.
The truth is, idols appeal to the flesh; this is why we worship them. They take a hold of our attention. The Psalmist says about idols, “Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.” In the same way, as we seek God’s glory and behold Him, we will be transformed into His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18). The things that we behold are whatever we devote our time, energy, and possessions to.
When you have some time, read Revelation 4 and 5. These chapters are a foretaste of the glory of God; a foretaste of heaven. Let His beauty draw you in and turn you from everything that is not Him. When we come to Him, we will truly see that He replaces the dullness of idols with His beauty.
Questions for reflection:
- Think back on the time when you first saw the glory of Jesus. What did you see?
- What are you beholding (spending your time, energy and possessions on)?
- Ask God to reveal if you have any idols in your life.
- Meditate on the beauty of God. What element does He want you to see today?