This week the calendar tells us that we are a month into summer, transitioning from the spring rains and the beauty of trees and flowers in full bloom. Nature all around us has been transformed, reflecting the beauty of God’s creation. Whether it is taking a hike on a trail at a local state park or up a mountain, taking a walk along the beach, and stopping every so often to look at the expansive ocean and its waves; whatever the case may be, we marvel at all that is before us.
For some, it may be a trip to the Grand Canyon to take in the beauty of that majestic site that took thousands of years to become what it is today as an ice glacier gradually moved along its path. For others, it may be a lazily stroll in the local park; or maybe even a relaxing ride in a kayak down a local river, admiring the beauty around them and listening to the sounds of nature sing a sweet melody of all that the Creator has done. It could even be to lay in a field at night to take in the expanse of the sky and the bright stars that blanket it.
Whatever one’s adventure or experience has been, I would suspect that at no time did you stop and examine a tree or a flower, a rock formation that was along the trail that you hiked or viewed in the Grand Canyon, or a star pattern in the sky to determine whether it had any flaws or imperfections. Yet somehow, when we gaze upon His final creation, you and I, we so easily determine what the flaws and imperfections are and so often miss the beauty of his creation in each other. Some would even say that human nature causes us to do that. I would say to you that it goes beyond human nature; it is “sin” nature.
Jesus’ words recorded Matthew 7:3 (NIV) tell us – “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye.” The truth is whether it is a speck of sawdust or a plank, both can prevent us from seeing the beauty of His creation that he made in us, in His image. Song (Chorus) #717 of The Salvation Army songbook © 2015 states the following:
“Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All His wonderful passion and purity,
O Thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine,
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.”
– Albert Osborn
The capacity for us to see the beauty in each other and ourselves is rooted in that third line of that chorus, “O Thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine.” Just as precious metals have to be refined by fire to remove all of the dross and impurities, we need the Spirit’s fire to refine our nature of all the dross and impurities (criticism, slander, pride, judgment, malice, gossip, self-centeredness, etc.). From this, we then can begin to see the beauty in ourselves and each other. The beauty of Jesus can and will be seen in us when we yield to His Spirit to do this work in us, thus giving us a better view of the beauty in each other as the “speck of sawdust and the plank” is removed. For the believer, this work begins at salvation and continues through the holiness journey. 2 Corinthians 7:1 (NIV) states: “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
As you go through your day today, consider the view you have of your brother, sister, neighbor, friend, or fellow employee. Do you see the beauty of Jesus in them? Do they see the beauty of Jesus in you? The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 27:4 (NIV) – “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.” The Bible tells us that we are the “temple of the Holy Spirit.” May others see the beauty of Jesus in us, and may we see the beauty of Jesus in them.
written by Major Elmer & Elizabeth Deming, USA East