As you behold the beauty of Christ in his holiness, trust Jesus further as you apply the witness of John the Baptist:
“John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” – John 1:15-17
Jesus Christ is full of grace and truth, and only by Jesus Christ is there grace and truth. Have you ever wondered what grace is or what it does? Grace is what God provides for us which we could never provide for ourselves. Jesus has provided everything we need, and here is just a sample:
o The forgiveness of God – Christ’s blood alone is the basis of forgiveness from sin
o The faithfulness of God – Christ is always present to aid the children of God
o The fellowship of God – Through Christ we enter into the very presence of God
The beauty is that all of these are of grace; none are the result of the will of man (1:12-13).
Imagine a breath-taking scene of beauty from nature. One of my favorite scenes from nature is a glowing sunset over the gulf. We enjoy this view so much that we have a portrait of it in our living room. Where is your favorite spot? What does it look like? Can you put yourself there? We are blessed with beauty around us that inspires artists to paint on oil and canvas. Beauty whispers in the ears of poets who make it their muse. Beauty beckons to tourists long to visit it just one more moment.
As believers we must see the greatest beauty in the face of Jesus Christ, for in His face shines the radiant beauty of the grace of our loving and giving God.
Because Jesus is full of grace we must beautify Him! We must live in such a way that others gain a favorable opinion of our great God. Everything in life in an act of worship – “whatsoever ye eat, drink, do…to the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31). Even the boring and mundane aspects of our life that we think we could live without are all opportunities to glorify our Lord.
John the Baptist made an interesting statement: Jesus was “preferred before me.” To “prefer” Jesus means to put Him first. Jesus gets preference over yourself. The great challenge here is that we are so good at making “me-first” decisions. Imagine someone skipping you in the check-out line at the store. Most of us would be a little annoyed (some of us would be more than a little annoyed…). If the line-jumper is just in a rush, we don’t have much compassion for them, but if the person has a “worthy excuse” we tend to be more accommodating. We give preference based upon our assessment of worth. Sadly, when it comes to our relationship with Jesus we often don’t attribute much worth to Him and decide that we still should come first. We forget that Jesus Christ gave His life for us on the cross, that His blood made us clean from the stains of sin, that His grace set us free from the bondage of sin, that His resurrection assures us of entrance into God’s presence, and that His Spirit keeps us closely joined with God.
Our relationship with Christ is one based on love, and love always determines who you please. If I love myself more then I will seek to please myself. If I love Christ more then I will seek to please Him more.
When we love Jesus more, that love will show up in our life. Love never hides itself; it is always visible. When we love Jesus we do good works that glorify the Father. We will worship reverently, love unconditionally, serve humbly, and live graciously.
The story has been told of Billy Bray, a saintly minister of another generation, who sat by the bedside of a dying friend who had been timid to live for Christ. The dying man said, “If I had the power I’d shout glory to God.” Whereupon Pastor Bray replied: “It’s a pity you didn’t shout glory when you had the power.”
Do you have the same testimony as this dying man? If you are reading this then you still have the opportunity to change your life and live for Christ. If you aren’t living to beautify God, determine to put Jesus first in all things. Open your Bible back up and read it daily. Pray, confess, and cast your burdens upon the Lord. Think on the life of Christ at every moment, and seek to demonstrate His power in every situation of the day. Love others even when they are unlovely. And when you do, you’ll beautify the Lord and enable others to see Christ in you, the hope of glory.