Beholding His glory

One thing I have discovered in having a blog for 3+ years now is that sometimes when something is on my mind and I think perhaps I should work through it by writing about it, as that for me is often the best way, I realize I already have. I’ve also discovered how often I need reminders of the same lessons, perhaps sometimes applied in different ways. This morning I was pondering my tendency to get angry too easily (something you might not know about me from my blog), and the thought that “The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy” (Psalm 145:8) just melted my anger away. That reminded me of my need to look to Christ not only in worship and thankfulness, not only for help and blessing, but also because the process of doing so changes me like nothing else can. And all of those thoughts reminded me of this post from January 2008 titled “The Means of Change.”


Recently, as happens so often, I came face to face with an issue involving my own selfishness.

After confessing such incidents to the Lord, I tend to have a couple of responses. One is to just acknowledge it as one of my “besetting sins” and to forget about it until the next time. Yet deep down I know that’s just an excuse.

Another response is to decide I need to make a plan of action. That’s not bad in itself, but it usually fizzles out like New Year’s resolutions.

I may even decide to look up and meditate on various Scripture verses on the subject at hand. That’s a good response as far as it goes. Romans 12:2 tells us we’re transformed by the renewing of our minds, and one way we do that is by changing our thinking, lining it up with what God’s Word says, putting specific Scriptures in our minds that the Holy Spirit can then use to remind us.

But my problem isn’t just isolated individual sins. It’s a nature that is totally and completely self-focused, self-serving, self-promoting, self-loving. Though we receive a new nature when we become Christians, that old one is still there and will be til we get to heaven. How do we resist that constant pull? How can our new nature grow and become more like Christ?

II Corinthians 3:18: But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Beholding His glory….how little we do that. How often do we approach the Scripture just to fulfill our quota of Bible reading for the day, or even just to “get something” to carry us through the day?

We need to — I need to — remember to seek Him in the Scriptures, to behold His glory. Sometimes a study of His attributes would be more helpful than just studying about my particular sin, though both are necessary.

I read a quote once in a missionary biography (I haven’t been able to find it again: I thought it was Rosalind Goforth’s, but I didn’t see it in my last reading) that this particular person was having a hard time being loving. For years she constantly looked at herself and her lack of love and told herself over and over that she needed to be more loving. Yet she didn’t grow in love, only in discouragement. She began to meditate on God’s love for her…and without even realizing it, she began to slowly change to the point where others commented to her husband on the change in her.

We know what it is to gaze on an object of love. We smile indulgently at a young couple’s doe-eyed peering at each other. We understand a mother’s loving, wondering gaze of her new baby. We love to behold and contemplate the beauty of a perfect rose or a masterful painting.

How much more should we behold the One who loves us most, who is more beautiful than anything we can imagine, who is perfect holiness and righteousness.

Exodus 33:18-23; 34: 5-6:

And [Moses] said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.

And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:

And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.

And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth…

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. Psalm 27:4.

May that be our desire as well.

13 thoughts on “Beholding His glory

  1. Amen to that! I think much to often I use my praise songs to seek His glory, rather than the Bible. I spend so much time studying the Bible, just to get to KNOW the Bible – and Him through it… but not just bask in Him. I need to spend more time doing that. On the other hand, that IS usually what my evening prayer is. I love to fall asleep wrapped in His arms…

  2. You wrote: “But my problem isn’t just isolated individual sins. It’s a nature that is totally and completely self-focused, self-serving, self-promoting, self-loving.”

    Yeah… mine too. sigh.

    • Ah, yes, but the answer is encouraging: “with open face beholding as in a glass [not ourselves but rather] the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord,” (II Cor. 3:18) “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

      “It is good for us to look at self and know how loathsome it is, but with one look at self we must take ten looks at Christ….” E. L. Langston

      Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
      Look full in His wonderful face,
      And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
      In the light of His glory and grace.

  3. I’m trying to do more “beholding” throughout the day — “practicing the presence of God.” Too often I start with a good quiet time, then go through the rest of the day on my own steam. It’s a habit, choosing to turn my thoughts to God moment by moment.

  4. Wonderful post, Barbara….no matter how long we’ve been walking with the Lord, we still need to spend time in His presence, allowing Him to renew us and help us to be more like Him. Thank you so much for these wise words.

  5. Barbara. ~

    Another insightful post. I so needed to see this perspective today. I love thinking that beholding is sometimes enough. God isn’t waiting to check off our good deeds each day so He can grant His approval. And you are so right in that we focus so much on our weaknesses, we wallow in the futility of doing instead of being.

    Jesus, help me to BE today … to dwell in your presence, your glory. Change me from the inside out so your character becomes my conduct.

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