a Devotion for 6 July 2022 Anno Domini
“Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. 17And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.”
(Psalms 90:16-17, all scripture quoted is for the King James Version)
The Christian believer, being drawn to the likeness of Christ in thought, word, and deed, bears the similitude of His Person in all that he does. He is stamped with the image of Christ just as the Roman drachma bears the image of Caesar. The image represents worth and authority.
Christ bore no physical image of beauty according to Isaiah 53:2 – “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” Yet, He is altogether lovely for He is the very essence of Love. No one can love us as our Lord Jesus Christ. We, who have worn our filthy rags of sin, are beloved by Him who came from His Father’s Paradise to die for us in redemption of our sins.
The quality of being lovely is not the physical appearance, but rather the heart that beats beneath the outward appearance. Men often judge women by that outward appearance and are married into a life of misery. Our Lord counseled: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24) The commandment of our Lord actually counsels us to judge, but with righteous judgment. What is righteous judgment? It is not judgment based upon our own biases and opinions, but rather by the Word of God. If God calls any act a sin, we must concur and call it sin. That is not our judgment, but His.
There is a family of plants that are beautiful flowers found in the forest – Nightshade. One species of this flower is deadly poison though it is among the most beautiful of flowers. So are things worldly. Even the devil himself is transformed into an ‘angel of light.’ “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15) So, men and women can appear beautiful on appearance, but often deadly poison lies beneath that beauty.
True loveliness is an expression of real love and goodness. Christ is altogether lovely. We could love in no wise apart from that love with which our Lord has imbued us. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:18-19) All fear of coming judgment falls by the wayside if we truly return that love of Christ to Him and our fellow beings. Though, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom…” (Psalm 111:10) it is not the end thereof. The fear of coming judgment is gradually more and more tempered by Love for Christ so that our fears are no longer of judgment, but of falling short of the mark He has set before us in love.
There is a beautiful hymn entitled, “Beautiful Savior” that offers this in one of its verses:
Fair are the meadows,
Fair are the woodlands,
Robed in flowers of blooming spring;
Jesus is fairer,
Jesus is purer;
He makes our sorrowing spirit sing.
How does His love demonstrate itself in us? Compassion for others give credible evidence of our Love for Christ for He always had compassion on the lame, the blind, the sinful – even the woman taken in adultery. Endure both the pains and joy of this world with patience, for He is patent toward us.
We should not be proud and boastful as those with vain souls do: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:29) He is meek. If we are in Him, we too shall be meek for all the good deeds of our hands are actually His hands working in and through us.
Christ is lovely and beautiful in every conceivable way, and even beyond our own understanding. His heart is large to receive those who love Him and believe upon His name. The elect know of their salvation measured in their love for him and all others.