Regaining the beauty of life requires we discover God’s mystery and regain our sense of discovery.
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.
Have you ever felt like life has lost its beauty? Things that once elicited awe and wonder in your heart no longer affect you. Perhaps the oasis inside has dried up and left you lifeless. In your walk with God, your work and your relationships, you find it difficult to bring joy anymore.
Most of us want life to feel beautiful. But we find ourselves stuck somewhere in between survival and boredom. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
So how do we regain the beauty of life?
The Nature of Beauty
Recently, I was meditating on the Proverb above and substituted the word “beauty” for glory (which is a close idea in the original language). This small shift led me to a stunning revelation.
The beauty of God is in the mystery; and the beauty of our lives is in the discovery of that mystery.
That is why scripture says it is the glory of God to conceal a matter but the glory of kings is to search it out.
In Scripture, we are called to be kings and priests before God. Knowing this, the kind of kingly people God find’s most attractive are people who are questioners, searchers, investigators; a people of journey and discovery.
The nature of beauty is that it requires mystery. Beauty captures our hearts, but we don’t fully understand it. People often describe a beautiful woman as having an aura of mystery. The very thing that makes her beautiful is that there is something to be discovered.
When I take in a beautiful painting, I’m not analyzing the brushstrokes. I’m in awe of how it was composed. It transcends my knowledge and this is part of what makes it beautiful.
God is the same way. Part of what makes God beautiful is his mystery.
Why God sometimes hides
There is a healthy “hidden-ness” to God’s character. That hidden-ness is an invitation to discover him as more beautiful than we could possibly imagine.
Recently in a conversation about God’s existence, I was asked why God doesn’t just appear and reveal himself to the world. The question was honest and I think we all ask it at some level.
But the question reveals a lack of understanding what God values.
He is not ultimately after control or subservience. He is in pursuit of our hearts. The reason God hides is because mystery is required for him to be beautiful.
That may sound far out to some. But let me use a practical example to illustrate this idea.
Ever known two people in a relationship who got bored with each other, or worse bitter? They know each other terribly well, but despite that knowledge find the other person uninteresting or repulsive.
Why this happens is simple: when two people have been in a relationship for a long time, there is a danger that their familiarity causes them to stop discovering each other. They believe they know everything there is to know about the other person. There’s no mystery left in the other person.
What happens next is utterly predictable: over time, even the most committed become bored with the relationship. Some, end up leaving. As the old saying goes: familiarity breeds contempt.
But mystery breeds discovery.
Discovery leads us to beauty.
And Beauty awakens our hearts to love like nothing else.
If we want to regain the beauty of life, we’re going to have to recapture the belief in the mystery of God and rekindle our passion to DISCOVER him.
I don’t want to be merely familiar with God. I don’t want to think I have him all figured out. The moment I do, my relationship with him loses its beauty. And I lose my zeal to seek him out.
When we begin to find the mystery of God beautiful again, we return to a state of discovery. This state of discovery and searching also happens to be what God finds most beautiful about us. This creates an incredible love cycle that is hard to describe.
But the result is easy to see: our lives regain their beauty again. He becomes beautiful to us AND we are more beautiful to him as a result.
Becoming Beautiful to God
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Hebrews 11:6 ESV
I’ve always wondered why faith pleases God. What I never realized is that faith is innately tied to a desire to draw near to God and seek him as our greatest reward.
He is most pleased in us when our aim is to discover HIM.
Certainty is not necessarily a trait God finds attractive. Certainty is the opposite of faith.When we are certain, we close ourselves off to possibilities, to mystery, to discovery. We limit ourselves.
God is looking for pioneering people, unafraid to be uncertain and quest forward anyways. Those are the people that please God’s heart.
Throughout the ages, whenever people lose sight of the mystery of God and become certain, religion is certain to follow. beauty is extinguished by certainty and a dogmatic form of systematic theology.
God’s people change from lovers and journeyers to rule keepers and the religious. Religion becomes romance.
Sound familiar? I know I’ve been there.
But what if all that’s needed to regain the beauty of life is to do the opposite: to go from religion to romance?
From Religion to Romance
Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with several young men who all separately asked to meet with me about issues in their life. When we got to the root, we discovered that their relationship with God (and themselves) was all about obligation.
They knew the rules and what they were SUPPOSED to be doing, but there was no enthusiasm or motivation. Life had lost its beauty. God had become a religion. And even their relationships were things to be managed not enjoyed.
They believe, what God wanted was their devoted acts of service including reading scripture and praying. Although these things are to be encouraged there’s something missing at the heart.
God is not after our devoted acts but after a devoted heart. In conversation, I was able to help them rediscover the heart of God; a father who is so incredibly good that they can’t fully understand him and therefore, our hearts greatest quest is to discover him. To KNOW him.
Our lives change when our motivation goes from religion to romance.
So how do we regain our wonder for God and stir love in our hearts for him?
I believe it starts with catching a glimpse of his love for us and the beauty all around us.
Every Moment is a Miracle
Do you realize that everything God created is a love letter to us? Every moment of life is a miracle too beautiful to capture in words alone.
The fact that I am breathing right now requires thousands of chemical reactions to happen simultaneously. This is supremely beautiful.
The instant I step outside my door I’m confronted with the greatest romantic canvas of art the world has ever seen painted by the Lover of My Soul.
If I stop and realize that the Creator God is the hand behind all this, my heart will yearn to know this great God. I will be stirred with spiritual hunger to seek him like never before.
Everyday moments can be miraculous and can stir my heart to hunger just as much as an encounter that seems more radical.
We must recapture the mystery and beauty of God in the everyday. Every moment is a miracle; an opportunity to behold his beauty and love for me.
Beholding His Beauty Transforms Us
2 Corinthians 2:18 NIV
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
There’s a type of transformation that only beholding beauty makes possible. We become like whatever we behold long enough.
If the goal of our lives is to become like Jesus, then the path is beholding his beauty.
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.
David figured this out. He was known as a man after God’s own heart. The reason for this, was because David made beholding the Lord’s beauty his “one thing.” Everything else was secondary in his mind.
This wholehearted pursuit transformed him into the kind of person God could trust in intimate friendship. He lived a beautiful life walking with God that we are still talking about thousands of years later.
What if to regain the beauty of life, we had to change our perspective?
What if the focus was less on what I’m doing to who I’m becoming?
What if stopped focus on the things I’m pursuing and refocused on the person I’m pursuing?
What if the point of life was to behold the beauty of Jesus and be transformed into his image?
Make beholding his beauty your one thing and I believe life will regain its beauty.
CALL TO ACTION
If you want to know how I remind myself of my identity and how you can daily infuse truth, stir hunger for God and live more like Jesus, then check out my “Morning Manifesto.”