by Paul Tautges | April 15, 2014 10:12 am
Followers of Jesus Christ (myself included) have the habit of taking our eyes off of Him and, specifically, our identity in Christ and the beauty that is ours by virtue of our union with Him. In his book, A Shelter in the Time of Storm, Paul Tripp encourages us to remember that all the beauty that we see in the created world is “sign beauty,” that is, it is there to direct us to worship the One who created it. He writes, “All of the beautiful things that we see, touch, taste, and hear every day were designed to be signs that would point to the ultimate beauty that can be found only in the One who created them.” Tripp then makes this application by means of illustration:
So when you are looking at the beauty that surrounds you in the physical world that is your present home, require yourself to look beyond the signs to the stunning beauty of the God to whom each sign points. Only his beauty can give you hope, strength, and peace. Only his beauty can give you life. Don’t be like the family that saved for a year to experience the glories of Disney World, packed the car in anticipation, drove hundreds of miles, and stopped at the first Disney World sign and had their vacation.
When we look to our husband or our wife for our identity, we are stopping at the Disney World sign. When we look to our job for our meaning and purpose, we are stopping at the Disney World sign. When the acceptance and respect of friends is what gets us up in the morning, we are stopping at the Disney World sign. When we look to material possessions to give our hearts peace and rest, we are stopping at the Disney World sign. When we look to theological knowledge and ministry skill to satisfy our hearts, we are stopping at the Disney World sign. When we look to our children to fulfill us, we are stopping at the Disney World sign. When in moments of pain, we turn to food, alcohol, TV, or the Web, we are stopping at the Disney World sign. When a day in nature means more to us than a half-hour in personal worship and prayer, we are stopping at the Disney World sign.
Perhaps our hearts feel empty and our souls are dissatisfied because we have tried to get from sign beauty what only ultimate beauty can give us. Look beyond the orchid, the lightning, the bird, and the leaf and see the Lord. In him you will find true beauty, the kind that really does satisfy.
[Get your own copy of A Shelter in the Time of Storm here.]
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