February 19, 2012
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Sooner or later, our lives manifest our thoughts about God. Eventually even our faces give us away. Depending on whether our hearts are inclined toward God as God truly is, our faces will glow or they will frown.
Nothing about us is more important than our conception of God. Each day our characters are unfolding and developing, and the direction in which they develop is determined mainly by our conception of God.
In outward action, we tend to move toward whatever image of God we harbor in the depths of our hearts.
What if our basic view of God is false? Whether we’ve deliberately concocted an image of God as we prefer God to be or we’ve simply been careless, errors in thinking about God are dangerous. The essence of idolatry is to misconceive God and then act as if our misconceptions were true. Idolatry is deadly because it sets before our character a goal that is an illusion, a lie. The idolater destroys himself by growing in reality’s opposite direction.
Think, however, of the good things that must come to pass if the God of our desire is also the God of truth and real life. There is no greater wisdom than wisdom about God, and a “man's wisdom makes his face shine, and the sternness of his face is changed” (Ecclesiastes 8:1). It is not uncommon for changes in our inward character to show up outwardly, particularly in our faces. When the changes are positive in nature, produced by a more truthful conception of God, the results are often striking. As the old adage puts it, the portrait of a godly soul is a shining face.
Diligent seekers of God must seek the truth about God at all costs. “Sinning is nothing but turning from God one’s face and having turned it thus, turning it toward death” (Angelus Silesius). By the time we reach our ultimate goal, our faces will bear either the glory of our soul’s growth or the grimness of its decay.
“The gods we worship write their names on our faces, be sure of that. And a man will worship something — have no doubt about that, either. He may think that his tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of his heart — but it will out. That which dominates will determine his life and character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshiping we are becoming” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).