BEHOLD, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. (1 Jn 3:1)
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is an aphorism commonly heard. It’s a nice one at that; affirming the relative valuations of beauty and the way beauty is intricately coupled with something more than the mere physical.
This statement is also applicable to our spiritual lives, except with a minor change: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder who chooses to behold it.” Unlike in the physical world, that which is beautiful in the spiritual world remains constant regardless of the gaze of the beholder. The one who can behold beauty is the one who chooses to do so.
We are blessed with many things, one of which outweighs the others in value, and that is the gift of salvation. Yet too often, we do not choose to view this beautiful gift. Instead, we focus our horizons upon other things that may be falsely beautiful, or we ignore the beautiful and look instead on that which is faulty and lacking.
In 1 John 3:1, the elder John urges the believers to behold the “manner of love” that God has given to them; that is, to behold the beauty of the love of God. This love was able to change the cross—an instrument of torture—into an object of beauty. This love set out the plan of salvation so we can return to God. This love brought light and life to the darkness of hopeless suffering.
We must therefore fix our gazes upon the imperishable, the priceless, the hope that doesn’t fade, and the incorruptible inheritance (1 Pet 1:3-4). When we do so, we are beholding the very essence of God’s beauty.
And there’s more.
God’s beauty is found in the love of those around us, in the warmth of family and friends, the sudden inspiration of a Bible verse, the soft fall of a perfectly shaped maple leaf, the help and comfort that comes unasked for, the simple ability to breathe and walk on this good earth.
So as we walk through life, let us be of those who choose to behold beauty—the beauty of God.